10:01 PM, Wednesday, June 10th, 2009:
En Route back to Nairobi
I am trying desperately to take a freaking day off. Seriously. No one is EVER going to read all this, but I can't stop experiencing cool shit and thinking of fun videos. Just sooooooooooo many things. Which of course means a Randoms entry. We shall start with the video...
1) Paradise Lost
I talked up Malindi quite a bit in the last entry, and although it is all sorts of beautiful... after even 2 days there are a couple things that could never fly for more than a week. One of which would be the 5AM wake up call of some sort of Muslim prayer being scuh-REAMED through apparently 349 hidden megaphones at ear piercing decibles.
If your computer can handle it (meaning it doesn't stutter once it's loaded) click the "HD" button... incredible.
Seriously, it's "wake-you-up-out-of-the-dead-of-sleep" loud. For the video, of course I had to re-enact it because the SUN ISN'T UP at 5am so there was no light. But granted, the reaction is the same. Your initial reaction is that the end is near. The audio I captured is actually quite tame in comparison to earlier ones. Sometimes they're really distorted and screaming. It happens all throughout the day as well, but nothin' like 5am. I know there's some irrational fear of muslim chanting as an American, but you could be reciting nursery rhymes and at that decible? At that time? Not cool. Intense. And would grow very old...
2) Beggars
...as would the constant haggling. Listen, if it was just people sellin' shit? I get it. But here, the streets are filled with people constantly trying to give you some advice on where to go and then when you walk into that place, expect money for it. You're just hard pressed to move without incessant badgering. If you're in the right mood, it's no biggie - you have fun with it... but sometimes you'd like to just go buy a bottle of water and you have to mentally prepare yourself for the battles. Oh and don't ever pay them. Then you're really fucked. Then there will be dozens of guys lining your walkway to every store once word gets out that you'll pay. Because believe me, they remember the white people. Heh, speaking of that...
So I wore my Obama shirt most of the time I was here (as you see in the video) and as you can imagine, they're all extremely proud of his Kenyan heritage. So everyone in town called me "OBAMA!" when they were trying to sell me things or give me advice. Then I went out without my Obama shirt on... and they still called me Obama. That was strange. You soon realize that you might as well be a celebrity if you're white in certain parts of Africa. You are, as Alom mentioned to me in London, a target. Not necessarily for an attack, etc., but you have a pretty big: "Fuck with me" sign on your back if you're white. Bottom line is, they know you have money - 'cause your ass sure ain't on the streets with them selling advice. ;-)
4) SAdam Kontras
You know it really bugged me when the first George Bush used to call Saddam Hussein, SAdam Hussein (rhyming with Adam) during the Gulf War in '91. He was the only one I ever remember doing it honestly. But nothing more annoying than every single person in Africa thinking I'm Arab. It culminated yesterday with a dude actually calling me Saddam Hussein as a joke. 'Cause clearly I was Arab and maybe I looked up to him? Guys, do I look that Arab? Granted the "African" shirt I got has an egyptian feel - so that doesn't help... but no one ever picked me for Arab in the states. It's always Italian. I found myself looking in the mirror saying: "Arab? Arab?". In fact in the last video the dude in the water with me laughing is laughing because of my reaction to being called Arab. I mean Greek is mediterranean - so I'm not that far off in background... but it has been every single person out here. Oh well - it was never seen as a bad thing. I'm just uber-concerned with how I'm perceived because of the entertainment industry - and Arab American isn't winning a lot of good fortune in the states at the moment. The more I think of it, it's clear that people assume what they know the most of. You see more Italian people in the states than Arab... so, voila - dark? Italian. Out here, the reverse is true. I'll just keep telling myself that... and then trim my beard when I get to Paris. :-)
5) Where in the world are... Adam & The Egos (You can sing that perfectly)
I was gonna save this for later - but I'm working on a bit with The Egos where everyone is all over the world. I did Adam's bit here in Malindi...
Yes, ala Trinitrons 2, Live Adam has gone off to some remote location to "find himself"... however this time he really is out in the middle of nowhere. He gets a call from Cameron in London and... well, you have that to look forward to. :-) But seriously, like I could waste an opportunity with these backdrops. That shit is CRAZY. It actually looks more Greece than Africa. Hmmm...
6) Indian Date Rape Drugs: Cold Medicine
Not to give assholes any ideas, but cold medicine from India is stronger than anything I've ever taken with the possible exception to Dilotid I got in an emergency room. I was starting to get a cold and Linda had some tablets from India that just messed me up. Apparently we (Judy, Rumba, Linda & I) were eating dinner? 'Cause I don't remember. But it's all so hazy - and the next morning? I felt completely hungover. Like, it was "check your ass for bruising" hungover. LOL. Hahaaha. That's not really funny Adam. <still laughing> It is kinda funny. Hey, it happened to me so I can say it, right? <goes to the bathroom to check his ass for bruising>
7) Linda the Haggler
I don't know what happened to Linda in the short time she's been in India - but bitch is mean. Like a gooood mean. Won't pay the first offered price for anything out here. I don't care if it's 5 shillings (not even a dime) she will barter you until you feel pummelled. She goes straight into the:  "No, don't do that to me, I'm not stupid - 200". She loves that shit. She will publically humiliate your ass on your first offer. It's the way of the world, and I can play the game too... but she actually enjoys it. So when it comes to getting something, I drag her along. She just gets to that uncomfortable level where in my head I'm thinking: "DUDE THEY'RE GOING TO CANE US", but she just barrels through. And wins. :-) I respect that, makes her a good journalist.
8) Chasing The Story
As I mentioned before, most of the paid stories Linda and I were gonna do fell through, but I was so ecstatic about Comedy Central I could've given two shits. However for Linda, it's her livelihood so I was hopin' something worked. Today we finally chased down Andrew Mwangura who is some sort of "Negotiator of the seas". Hard to get a clear picture of exactly who he is, but Samuel L. Jackson and his production company are shadowing him for a couple of weeks in preperation for a movie of his life - so he's got one helluva story. And it fits right in with the recent upswing in pirates because those are the types of situations he's dealing with...
...however whether he's dealing with a full deck of cards remains to be seen because the man we met today was either totally putting us on or is so completely paranoid about every person he meets he's un-interviewable. When the question "Where were you born?" turns into lessons about "The Sea" and how we're "all children of the world..." it gets a little trying. I was just there to run the camera and the moment that came out - I got questioned for all sorts of credentials to prove I wasn't CIA or something (like non-informants have a card - lol). Either way - he was never intending to do the interview, and it was a loooooooooooong trip for nothing. And btw - dude totally looks like Samuel L. Jackson, however is so soft-spoken, I cannot imagine how "MUTHA-FUCKA" will be able to play him. :-) But hey -- it did allow us the time in Malindi (2 hours away) and for that, I'm eternally grateful. Thank you Mr. Mwangura.
But everyone, keep Linda in your thoughts. What I witnessed today blew my mind. She set everything up with him ahead of time, took the 8 hour bus ride to Mombasa, did days of research, had to prepare pitches to her company -- get them approved (which was the hard part so we thought), and then have him just flake. I mean, he did show up - but just totally wasted our time and wouldn't do the interview. Free-lance journalism is a hard gig. It's tons of work that is all on a hope that it'll be picked up, then even after it's approved and you do all of it - they can still turn it down... and THEN you get to bug them for payment forever. YIPEEE. Hats off to her.
9) You can never bitch about potholes. Ever.
That's a shitty title for a random, I admit, but I need to be clear: No Americans reading this have the slightest fucking idea what potholes are. At first I wondered why there were tire shops on every corner, then I remembered the Intestine Blender of a ride I was on when I saw said tire shop and made the connection. These are the worst fucking excuses for roads I've ever witnessed. So bumpy that in a busride -- you will see people airbourne. Yet there's internet and cell phones. And it's not like these people don't pay taxes, they just have corrupt governments.
10) WOAH.
Did they watch me write that last line? Just now they stopped the bus we're on and people start getting off. A guy comes back to us and is speaking in Swahili and we're clueless. Finally he says we had to get off the bus for our own safety. I think instantly they're gonna go through our shit, so I bring everything with me outside. I get off and everyone's standing in this big open warehouse type thing in the middle of nowhere getting patted down. It was a scene out of a movie. It's these times that go back to my initial "OMG I'm getting CANED" random. They could just fuck with you. They didn't, patted us down, checking for weapons (which they did, and WANDED us when we got ON ), and we got back on the bus. Jesus. I'm glad there's one day left here. For sure. I've seen enough. I'm shutting this off and praying I get the fuck back to Nairobi.