Here's an excerpt from my journal:
If only I could justly describe the experience I am having right now. I've been riding the North Rift Shuttle for 4 hours as I make the journey to Nairobi to fetch Ben from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. We've now stopped at what I could consider a rest stop, but an African style rest stop of course. It's no Buckees nor is it one of those rest stops you pass as your cross from Texas into Oklahoma. It's more along the lines of a rundown, podunk town. A line of shacks laid side by side and old enough to look like they are about to collapse straight to the ground. In the background I can gear artist from the early 1990's entertaining peoople of all ages.
I wish I could somehow describe the sent put off by this place. A few of you might understand what I mean when I talk about the "hole in the ground" toilets. I saw my first "hole in the ground" toilet while traveling through Italy in 2008 and my second while in Morocco a few weeks later. Both of these toilets were bizarre and difficult to use, but looking back on it a million times cleaner than what I would later experience in Kenya. It never fails- every time I've used this type of toilet the area around the toilet is wet where I stand is wet and each time I try to pretend that it's not urine. (But let's be honest, there really is no other option!) The smell of stagnate bodily waste is strong enough to knock you over as you try to balance yourself and aim into the toilet. I always laugh at the awkwardness of the situation and still avoid these toilets at all costs! One small side note: when a hole in the ground gets full they cover the hole and dig a new one. It's impossible not to notice a 'hole in the ground' toilet that's over a 100 yards away simply because you can't miss the smell.
You have the option to purchase chips (french fries), kuku (chicken) and chapati- the traditional Kenyan foods - as well as a few of what I would call highly unappealing, dried out snacks. I chose the safest and most familiar option- strawberry yogurt. I've had yogurt in Kenya before so I know not to expect anything spectacular or even closely familiar to my idea of yogurt back at home. This being the case, I wasn't too surprised when I opened my yogurt to find a solid layer of goo about two inches thick lying on top. Gross. Did I mention that you drink your yogurt with a straw here? Sadly I did not grow up in the go-gurt generation so slurping my yogurt is a concept I find unattractive. I did manage to puncture the inch of goo on my straw and settled down on the red dirt ground to drink my snack and wait for the shuttle to reload. Suddenly, it was time to go. Within 15 seconds everyone, including the driver, piled back into the van and off we went!