It is seven O’clock in the morning; the air is crisp and moist in Bungoma. It had rained during the night, and having fallen into a deep slumber, I had known nothing of it. What an unholy way to sleep! It had surprised me that if someone had stolen Scorpion, I would have woken up to a grave crisis. And moreover, the unimaginable might have happened. Needless to say, I was so tired that when I hit the sack, I had simply passed out. But, the good news was that I was so refreshed and in a great spirits, which was good for riding. I had a long day ahead of me.
Ready to Go
Scorpion was laden, refuelled and ready to go. I decided as it had become my custom to find Simone who was the night duty attendant at the petrol station to bid him farewell. We exchanged email addresses. I also begged him to accept a token of appreciation from me, which he did reluctantly. He said he would keep me in prayers. With the last farewells, I departed.
This was going to be a hard ride, but I gently eased myself into it. This route towards Nairobi forms part of the great North Road; it is a very busy road. It has also another reputation, vehicle carnage. It was the more reason that I rode with all my guards on. My preference would have been to ride through to Arusha (Tanzania), but that was easier said than done. I decided to take a mile at a time.
The Virgin Bride On the Day I Collected Her
As I rode, I thought about Scorpion. She was a good bike with a solid bulletproof 650 cc motor. She had come more than 5500kms, she had tumbled over 15 times, but apart from a shattered wind screen, and a broken handguard, she was rock solid and still going strong. I couldn’t but love her. The more I rode her, the more I fell in love with her. In areas of sand and mud she was deemed heavy, but in on a paved road, she cruised effortlessly. In South Africa, if you rode a BMW, a KTM or a Ducati, you had “the” bike. If you rode the DL 650, no one gave you as much as a glance. In other words, the DL was an underrated bike. I had spent a year researching on a suitable bike to undertake this adventure. I had read and reread all kinds of reviews on the DL. The facts spoke for themselves. The DL 650 was undoubtedly the most suitable bike. Even the yellow colour was a matter that was weighed carefully. My reasoning was that it was more visible and it was chosen specifically for reasons of conspicuity. With these thoughts, I covered many miles.
Meanwhile, I stopped once to stretch and again at Nakuru for Lunch and to replenish my water stock. As I rode on toward Nairobi, I mused over the first time I had come to this city in 1981 to visit my uncle. In those days, Nairobi was the most sophisticated metropolitan city in East Africa: A city of culture: fashion and music; business, very tall modern shinning buildings, the best paved roads. The entire city exuded glamour and refinement. Coming from rural Uganda, all these things were breath taking and a source of great wonderment. For a naive youngster like me, it came as a shock when I greeted a man standing on a Nairobi street who responded aggressively by asking me: “why are you greeting me; are you a thief?” This profoundly perturbed me and offended my cultural sensibility. Where I come from, my people will greet you even if they don’t know you; more so youngsters are expected to greet those who are older. What wrong had I done! Even though I was a kid I also had my pride. I still shake my head at the thought of this event and feel the chill run down my spine. Every time I have thought of this experience in my adult life, I have attributed it to the proliferation of individualism in its most corrupt and extreme form. It is a cancer that is eroding “Ubuntu”. It is has been reduced to a shell or a mere theoretical construct. An instrument used to control the African mind.
First Stop Enroute to Nairobi