When I was in Nairobi I often rented a room from Jim (who was from Chicago) rather than stay at a hotel. He was working for a London/Nairobi based coffee company as their financial manager.

Jim needed to visit their office in Moshi, Tanzania (at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro) and wanted some company for the drive. We were driving the company car.

I had meetings in the morning so we put my bags it the car after breakfast. Jim picked me up from my office later in the morning. He negotiated the Nairobi traffic amazingly well for an American and soon we were out in the desert sailing along a rather nice highway toward the Tanzanian border.

Now it was time to let me drive. I had my international license but had never driven on the left side of the road before. It wasn’t so bad on the open highway with no other traffic. We were not alone though. My heart skipped a beat when a gazelle leapt across the road in front of us. I was going to have to be just as alert as if I was on an expressway back home. We would occasionally see baboons hanging from trees on the side of the road, a Masai trying to sell us an ostrich egg and the usual zebras and wildebeest along both sides of the highway.

The border crossing was at Namanga. We pulled up to the immigration/customs building (barely more than a shack) to get our passports stamped. Across the road was a tiny kiosk run by an Indian trader selling a bit of everything to whomever would come by.

I found myself standing in front of the building with the Kenyan border guard. I was still wearing my blue business suit, white shirt and red tie from the morning’s meeting. I was flanked on either side by Masai warriors with their bright red robes, gigantic earrings and tall spears. It was and incredible site Jim wanted desperately to take a picture but had heard too many stories about the Masai sticking spears through people foolish enough to risk a photo.

I needed a passport and visa, the Masai did not, they just wandered back and forth across the border whenever it suited them.

My final mental picture as we got into the car to leave was of the young Masai woman sitting along side the road, nursing her infant child and drinking a coke.