13 March 2007

More Shots Along the Way

The trip was arduous! It was hot and the road was atrocious! We jostled to and fro constantly! This bus is what we traveled in. Finally, after 4-5 hours, we stopped at a halfway point, at a place called Koinuk for a 30-minute break.

Insight Guides has this to say about the journey -

"Kenya's northernmost regions by road is a grueling trek across rugged but fascinating terrain... spellbinding beauty... thousands of kilometers of dusty plains relieved by daunting volcanic formations. Armed hold-ups along the route are not unknown... bone-shaking stretches... endurance test... In the dry season, it's like driving on an old-fashioned washboard. The roads - beyond the realm of comparison with standard thoroughfares - pose a challenge to both man and machine."

This man was so interesting to me! Notice his sandals made from recycled tires. You can't really see it, but he has a round piece of wood or metal pierced below his lower lip. Notice, also, his walking stick. He's sitting on his stool (or head rest).

We chatted for a bit. He asked me (with gestures) for a handout so he could get something to eat. At first I refused, but we continued to interact with one another (through glances and smiles mostly).

Finally, with Kim's help, I asked him if I could take his picture. He agreed and
proudly struck a pose. Just as I snapped the shot, a young man sitting near by jumped up and started hollering at me. "You can't take his picture!" A number of people gathered around.

I discreetly stayed in the background and let Kim do the arguing. He calmed the man down, assuring him that I hadn't taken a photo. As we headed back to our bus, he asked me if I'd gotten the picture. I grinned and said, "Yes."

At long last, we reached Lodwar. This is what my travel book has to say about this frontier town -

"The town is wild, to put it mildly. Morning newspapers arrive in the afternoon. Lasting impression: sad, desolate, hot, dusty town but for a day or two you may find the rough frontier atmosphere exhilerating."

I think that both Kim and I would concur on those sentiments.

The above photo is the "watchman" at the hotel where we stayed. Notice the holes in his shoes and his runga (stick used as a weapon) and "torch" (flashlight). Such poses of watchmen in Kenya are not at all unusual! By the way, he was so soundly sleeping that he was absolutely oblivious to the fact that I'd taken his photo.

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