24 November 2017

Uber Tales: The Mend-Your-Deviant-Ways One

Still in Uber adventures: When I came back from the village hooligans yesterday evening, I made a stupid mistake. It's a beginner's mistake, and I really should know better, but I keep making it because I don't like to lie.

So we're driving towards town, and chat a bit. Cabbie guy asks me how long I've been here, and where my family is: in Germany. Eventually he establishes that I have no husband. This was the mistake. I should just brazenly lie about husband, pretend he's waiting at home, invoke blood of Jesus or whatever one says (upstanding church ladies, please give advice).

That I haven't met the right guy isn't quite enough for him. I tell him that guys here are difficult. Why? Because I'm not so keen on the second wife/extra girlfriend/multiple extra girlfriends scenario. I thought we could leave it there, finally (note to self: Maybe in future avoid this discussion strand, talk about what a cranky cow I am instead and that I don't like having people in my space). I try to divert the discussion a few times, but no dice.

Thankfully we then get to Westlands. I pay him, and pretty much at 'Maybe one fine day I can cal-', I slam the door shut and walk. Not crossed a line maybe, but he was certainly quite comfortable with having both big toes firmly on it.

Or maybe he's a patriotic Kenyan and keen to redeem the image of this good country's men.

Or maybe I should say I don't cook?

(from 6 Nov 2017)

Uber Tales: The Scary One

I'm not a morning person, but this was a bit more adrenaline than I wanted or needed for 6am yoga class:

The Uber driver was a bit slow to get going, and then he took an unnecessarily long route to my place (Why are there so many Uber drivers who can't read maps? Why does the Uber map suggest such stupidly long routes?).

So I was a bit grumpy by the time I got into his cab, but at least we were on the way. Still dark, rainy, chilly morning. We had just gone past Tune Hotel when someone coughed in the back. I hadn't even thought of checking the back of the car, and suddenly discovering a person half a metre away from you when you hadn't expected to do so is, I can now tell you, terrifying. I jumped out of my skin.

The driver jumped out of his skin, and also out of his car. Turns out that he had dropped of a couple of guys at the petrol station next to the Mall (that's why it took him a while to get on the way) and apparently forgot to turf out this one!

(from 6 Nov 2017)

Dildos and Unsolicited Penis Peddling

I manage a pretty large Facebook buy-and-sell group. In it, you can find a broad variety of things, including vitenge, mitumba, kitchen items, lots of fake leather bags, cars, chicks (of the avian variety, I block the others), houses, pieces of land, bouncing castles – and dildos and vibrators.

Posts with the latter inevitably have a whole lot of comments with shrieking ‘Satan!’, ‘Jesus come!’, ‘End times!’, ‘Be ashamed of yourself!’, ‘You don’t need to do this!’ and more active hell fire and damnation curses wished upon the vendors and the buyers, too.

And then, just as inevitably, some dudes weigh in with concerns regarding what has the world come to, will women now dispense with guys completely? This is, as ever, a baffling argument to me: If you are worried that you will lose out to a piece of plastic or latex, dude, that says something about your sex and other skills. And what it says is not good. Sit your ass down and think.

Also, inevitably, such posts bring out the penis peddlers. They rock up, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, and offer their own appendage (natural! free!) to the various women who had expressed an interest in the items. Now the group has a rule that you must not spam other people’s for-sale posts with your own goods, so I have to expel and block those. Pole.

None of the man whores stop to consider that their all natural! free! appendage comes with the whole man whore attached, and maybe we don’t like his face, or his conversation, or generally don’t want to have our orgasm diluted by a stranger in the room. Or, for that matter, anyone in the room. Few to no people seem to stop and consider that these things might also be used by women in long-distance relationships and would certainly be better than cheating on their partners.

All this is as inevitable as death and taxes. Yesterday, though, one of the penis peddlers put a new spin on his move: He offered fornication (with his own free! natural! appendage) to the (possibly married) women making price inquiries, to save them from sure dildo-induced hell fire and damnation. If he fucks like he thinks, he’s definitely one worth foregoing.

Right, I need to get back to work. Don’t spam people’s posts with your penis. A good day to you.

07 July 2017

So here’s how I ended up with short hair

It was a dark and stormy night.

No, it wasn’t. It was a grey-ish day in Frankfurt. I think I was 29. Before, my hair had been various lengths, from well over my shoulders to about chin length at its shortest, and I’d very often cut it myself – it’s wavy to curly, so I didn’t need to be super accurate. At the time of that fateful hairdresser’s visit, I already had short-ish hair, about chin length. But I felt daring. So I booked an appointment with a proper hairdresser and told him, holding two fingers apart about five to six centimetres, that I’d like him to cut everything this short, equal length all over. He started cutting, and my hair got shorter and shorter. And shorter. And I sat there, in that hideous hairdresser cloak that makes nobody look good, still. In terror. Everything was short, with the sides and back slightly shorter. SHORT!

I didn’t confront him, but paid and walked out. And then walked around Frankfurt’s centre for an hour and a half or so, in a daze. A dazed, deep misery. It’s probably more a women thing how your hair can affect your whole state of being. And my state of being was thoroughly awful.

Then I went to meet my aunt to watch the "Titanic". We all know the story of the Titanic: ship sinks, loads of people die miserably and also in terror. This being a movie, and a very long one at that, there was very drawn out dying miserably in terror, with screeching violins all the way through.

I can’t tell you how emotionally exhausted I was when I finally got home that evening. I took off my coat, and went into my tiny bathroom to look at myself. And as I stood there in front of the mirror, I thought


Not bad, actually.”

A few weeks later, I bought clippers. That was that.

I had always thought that without my hair, nobody would look at me, but I was wrong about that, too.

Still, I’m not sure if I could have done the short hair much earlier. Turns out I was ready for it, even though I hadn't known it. These days, when I see images of women with freshly cropped hair, I envy them a little for that first moment of seeing themselves.

13 April 2017

Looking at big things!

I knew there were ship-shipping ships, but now I also know that there are aircraft-flying aircraft. Not whole aircraft, mind you, but rather large chunks of them: Today, at Airbus, I saw an Airbus Beluga. The company has only ever built five of them, and they fly large bits of aircraft between the company’s different locations in Europe. I had gone to investigate witchcraft with my dad, via a tour of Airbus’ Finkenwerder plant.

Finkenwerder is on the edge of Hamburg, nestled between the port and a stretch of river, in the Alte Land, one of Europe's largest fruit-growing areas, and after the industrial area. Airbus is, the guide, a former Airbus employee, said, Hamburg’s largest employer, with 12,000 people employed directly, and over 100,000 employed indirectly.

Airbus have their own shipping pier and, of course, their own airport – not just because those planes need to go to their buyers in the end, but also because they need to do six test flights before being handed over, plus one final flight with the client’s pilots. And some planes fly in just for painting and final interior work. Air traffic control is co-ordinated with Fuhlsbuettel, Hamburg’s regular airport, and also the port – turns out that having a huge-ass container ship in your flight path isn’t recommended. Hamburg has the second busiest port in Europe, and it’s right next door on the river.

I love big planes, and I have both the excitement and technological knowledge of a five-year old for them. But you don’t need much technical understanding in order to appreciate the incredible engineering and precision that goes into putting aircraft together. There was no mention of witchcraft, by the way, but that’s probably an industrial secret.

Finkenwerder assembles the A320, and we saw several of them in various stages of completion. The company produces 46 of them per month, and aims to increase this to 60. Fun fact: If they didn’t sell another aircraft ever, they’d still be busy for a decade. If you order an aircraft now, you’ll get it in seven years. But if you order 100, then you can expect your first one next month, so there’s that to consider! Each fully painted aircraft that we saw has a little sticker with the German flag on the tail: this will be peeled off once Airbus has received the full payment.

We spent quite a bit of time wandering around the assembly hall with the A320, and they are satisfyingly big and shiny. You get to see lots of parts up close, e.g. a winglet (don’t touch!) and where the wheels disappear to. I was allowed to touch one thing, and I did, of course: a tire. Lots of explanations of what happens where, which materials are used, and how all those nuts and bolts (many of them!) are managed.

And then we went over to the assembly hall for the A380. OMG OMG OMG – ladyboner! Our guide said that the full wing span of the A320 was about the length of one wing of the A380. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed before, but this was a different thing altogether! I may sound giddy, but I think my dad was just as excited. It is an amazing piece of engineering!

Fun factoid: My dad is an engineer by training, and he did his first industrial attachment at Airbus’ predecessor company. Aircraft have been built in that location since the 1930s, starting with seaplanes. It’s a huge, well organised, and modern facility, but one with history, and there are a traces left of it, e.g. some older buildings.

The tour had a strict no photographs/no phones/no touching policy, so I didn’t take any pictures, but here’s a Beluga pinched from the internet. Very satisfying morning.

See? An aircraft coming out of an aircraft.