Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Motorbike to Mombasa

Ok so this blog really needs some action: we’ll see if this helps. For now I’m going to skip all the other updates I could give and settle for this one story. One Saturday afternoon at the end of May, Anson and I were sitting in my room trying to figure out what we should do. We both were kind of sick of school and wanted to get away (and I didn’t have any major deadlines for like 3 or 4 days, so it seemed like such freedom), so we ran through possible options: Westlands, Junction, something like that. He really wanted to go swimming, which I said was ridiculous, like it was way too cold. I said I would go to the pool but refused point blank to go swimming. We talked for awhile, and then he was like man let’s go to Mombasa. Now for those of you who don’t know, Mombasa is like across the country, 500 kilometers away, like 6 or 7 hours by car. I was like that is crazy, and paced up and down the house ranting for like 20 minutes going through all that could go wrong, how small 125 cc are, and what a crazy idea this was, until after I had worked it all out in my mind, and canceled my lunch appointment for the next day, I was like, ok yeah let’s do this.

We packed up and heading out on the motorbike. We stopped for dinner, and by the time we left it was dark, 8 pm. Now I didn’t even know the way for sure, but I assumed Mombasa road was a pretty straight shot there, and lo and behold it worked. At each gas station when we filled up, we would ask how many kilometers to Mombasa, but everyone was like, um you know that you can’t make it on that size motorbike. We were like, yeah we will, and we’ll stop by on our way back to tell you how it was. We had estimated our arrival time at like 4 am, but as we pressed through the night that looked increasingly less likely. We both became quite tired, and had to rest the engine a lot to prevent overheating. It had never been driven for longer than one hour before, poor thing. We were also getting tired, so fairly close to Tsavo national park we pulled off the side of the road to rest. Now I have seen The Ghost and the Darkness, and was aware of the location, so I’ll use standard Kenyan terminology and chalk it up to strong faith… We had a tarp and blanket with us, parked the motorbike right by us, and used our backpacks as pillows. It was awesome, and I slept so well…until I woke up to 4 police officers surrounding us yelling at the top of their lungs to wake us up. It was somewhat disorienting…but they were going on about danger, animals around, but I was really tired, so I persuaded them we would be fine and they finally left. We went back to sleep, and slept for another hour, until we were woken up again by another female police officer and her partner, and then I was like ok, lets go.

We finally arrived in Mombasa around 11 am, at which point I sent some text messages informing people where we were. After eating some Indian food at a restaurant I had gone to with Vincent, we went up to the public beach on the north shore to go swimming. It was pretty sweet, but after swimming for a bit I decided that I should sleep, so I slept on the beach for a few hours. Anson swam the whole time.

When it got dark, we left for Nairobi, stopping a few times for dinner and to rest. Now Mombasa is at sea-level, yeah, and Nairobi is really high up…so I was concerned about the journey back. Anson was really tired, so I did most of the driving at this point. About 1 am, we were probably 200 kilometers from Mombasa, with another 300 to go, and were in the middle of nowhere. Nothing around. I pulled off the road to rest the engine, and what do you know, the front tire is flat. I didn’t see anything I had hit or gone over, and we didn’t find any nail or anything in the tire. I think it just overheated. Now I had been going 90 kilometers an hour seconds before I stopped, and if the tire had gone at that instant…let’s just say it would not have been good. But here we are without a tire, so now what to do. This is pretty incredible to me…but I stopped right by a police check-point, and the policeman came over and kept asking me, so what are you going to do? I had no idea. Fortunately, he didn’t rely on my resourcefulness, but started asking all the buses he was pulling over if they had room to take us to Nairobi. My opinion of police-checks underwent a radical transformation…and I looked at all the buses flying through without stopping with a rather different perspective. However, after about 15 stopped, one agreed, so we threw the motorbike in an empty compartment on the bottom and we bought two tickets. At 5:30 am, we arrived in Nairobi, and it took 4 hours and lots of emotional negotiation before we finally found someone to fix the tire (which costs like $5, I can’t get over how cheap motorcycle repairs are here). So I missed the first two hours of systematic theology…but we rolled into campus only 10 minutes late for field ministry. And I’m pretty sure this story will be remembered at NEGST for some time…

*NOTE* Think of this as belonging to the genre of narrative, true not fiction, but is not intended to offer any propositional truths providing moral lessons leading one to infer the activities related herein are recommended or encouraged.


Søren Dalsgaard said...

Me, I'll remember this story :D Say hi to Anson and tell him this is "too much crazy".

m.peter.chang said...

Imitate at your own risk

Andrew said...

hahaha dave i can 100% see you doing exactly what you wrote.. including not just the trip but esp the 20 minutes of pacing around your apartment ranting about everything that could go wrong and what a ridiculous idea that was, and then being like ok this is gonna be awesome let's totally do this.