Monday, December 8, 2008
Posted by Kate at 8:22 AM
Before I came to Kenya, the only thing I knew about cars was how to fill them up with fuel; I probably couldn’t have told you the difference between diesel and petrol, or distinguished a spark plug from a spring bush. But there’s nothing like the rock-studded, creek-crossed Mara (not to mention the frightening obstacle course that is downtown Nairobi) to teach self-sufficiency in a hurry. While blundering my way through a series of minor disasters, I’ve learned few things along the way…
10. Let hyena cubs have their fun gnawing on bumpers, door handles, and license plates, but put your foot down when they start on the brake lines.
9. If you’re stuck in a hole and can’t get out, check that four-wheel drive is actually engaged. Otherwise, you’ll feel like an idiot later when you realize you wasted two hours (and your last pair of clean clothes) digging yourself out.
8. Don’t trust a guy on the streets of Nairobi who just happens to be wandering around with a full set of wrenches and “new” spark plugs.
7. Tow ropes can break. And when they do, you better duck.
6. Push-starting a LandCruiser is an excellent whole-body workout.
5. Apparently, two cheetahs sitting on your hood are heavy enough to make some serious dents.
4. With a spice jar and rubber gloves, you can fix almost anything. Seriously.
3. If there’s a cranky buffalo or a testosterone-fueled bull elephant anywhere in the vicinity, you’re about 10 times more likely to get hopelessly stuck in the mud.
2. When your mechanic says, “Well, how much do you want to pay me?” you can be sure he didn’t fix a darn thing.
1. No, that funny rattling noise probably won’t go away by itself. More than likely, it will get worse, eventually leaving you stranded overnight surrounded by a pride of hungry lions.
**Photo by Wiline Pangle