1. Took Took- (lost picture with camera) basically a motorcycle with a carriage on the back
2. Boda Boda- (lost picture with camera) bicycle taxi. Boda Boda drivers, who I lazily refer to as Bodae, are pretty funny dudes. The funniest thing about them is that they are grown men riding around on bikes with pink puffy seat cushions on the back, and outrageous wheel spoke accessories that would make Pee Wee Herman cry in jealousy.
3. Matatu- Let me try to give you a glimpse into the ridiculous world of the matatu business. Kenya doesn't have a public transportation system, so here it is all private business. Where Philly has SEPTA, Kenya has matatus, bodae, and took tooks. And since most Kenyans can't afford the automobile, transportation is a highly lucrative/fiercely competitive business.
I have lived in both urban and rural sections of this beautiful country, and no place is safe from the wrath of the matatu. In Nairobi, matatus jam pack the streets all hours of the day, causing much stress for everyone. Yet, I believe the matatus in the countryside cause much more chaos, given that there is only one paved road (I use the term "paved" lightly. By "paved", I mean "not mud").
The word matatu is swahili for "decrepid old van used as a taxi."
Matatu Driver' Job Description:
- Operating matatu at highest possible speed at all times
- Barely dodging large potholes and small children
- Running Bodae of the road
- Honking horn every couple seconds for no reason at all
- In case of a horn malfunction, rolling down the window and cursing in your native tribal speak is both accepted and highly encouraged
- (Only in rural Kenya) Ending your work day at sundown to avoid being robbed and murdered by the bandits who lay on the side of the road at night waiting to pillage
But the matatu driver is not alone. He has a henchmen in the back, collecting money from the passengers. His job title is called the matatu conductor, as in "hey let's CONDUCT an experiment to see how many Kenyans we can fit into a (expletive) van!"
Matatu Conductor's Job Description:
- Wearing a maroon vest and pants
- Hanging out the open sliding door at 90 km per hour, holding on with one hand
- Paying off the corrput Kenyan police when they see his matatu is carrying triple the amount of people allowed in a vehicle by law
- Being unnecessarily loud and obnoxious
- Finding muzungus at matatu stops any getting them into the matatu by using any means possible (pleading, begging, grabbing/pulling)
- Once muzungus are in the matatu, rippping them off as much as humanly possible
If you consider yourself a fan of personal space, then you will absolutely rue the day you ever step foot on a matatu. The most people I have shared a matatu is 23. This ride included 3 people hanging out the sliding glass door, grown men lying across people's laps, and the child and the chicken of the lady sitting next to me placed securely on each one of my legs. Other favorite rides include one matatu driver being so drunk that he fell asleep at one of the stops, the drunk passenger who was simultaneously hanging out the sliding door and asking me why Americans think Kenyans are so stupid, and the time some lady's chicken was going so insane that the lady decided it would be best for everyone in the matatu if she ripped its head off. So that's what she did.
For the lucky few in this country who are able to afford an autombile in this country, the brand of choices are limited. But if you want a car with the best combination of class, style, and power, there is only one choice my friend: the Peugeot. I am not positive, but the I studied French at the prestigious Penn State-Delaware County campus, and I believe the word Peugeot is French for "the greatest car of all time, ever."