Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Middle Finger Moments in Africa

Sorry peeps. Suffering blog apathy and major mental blocks. Mowing and weeding are looking more palatable than sitting down to write.

As I was leafing through the photo albums, trying to jog some suppressed memories to the surface, I noted that I have a lot of pics with my middle finger in the air or a get-away-you-dumb-MF-and-let-me-wallow-in-my-misery type face. Why do you think people loved traveling with me so much? You'd think it was my sparkling personality, but really it was my willingness to slam my hand against the side of a pick-up truck and yell at shifty drivers that I'd just overpaid to haul my ass from point A to point B while sitting under a faded UN tarp in the rain.

(*Disclaimer: These pics are OLD. Alice has since borne a few kids and eaten her weight in Hershey Bars. Alice is roughly double the size you see in the pictures now.*)

(* Just read a comment and thought I'd catch my new readers up - I taught math in Kenya for two years with the Peace Corps. Got around a bit while I was there and afterwards.*)

Case 1: Alice riding bike in Kakamega, Kenya

My dear friend Chris lived in western Kenya near the very lush Kakamega rainforest and took me on an outing with another volunteer (pictured below). Riding bikes through a rainforest sounds exciting and lovely, doesn't it?


In fact, not so much. Look closely at the road in the picture above. That is mud. When you ride a bike through mud, your tires sink, you slide off the road if there is ANY sort of inclination and instead of a ride-through-the-rainforest, you end up pushing-a-bike-through-the-rainforest. It was middle-finger worthy.

Case 2: Alice waiting for matatu in I-have-no-idea-where-I-am, Kenya

(*clicking the matatu link above will fill you in on what they are*)

I'd love to be able to give you a more exact location, but Chris, Rena and I had gotten dropped at this particular location with the assurance that another matatu would come along, headed in the direction we need to get to. I know that you think the picture below doesn't look so bad. It's green with trees and it could be worse. It was.

(*side note - how could any man not want me when I wore the purple sack with sneakers?*)


Here is Chris in the middle of the road watching the incoming grey clouds.



No vehicle had passed us in over three hours.

The mystery matatu came as night and rain began to fall. It gave new meaning to the term "seething, stinking mass of humanity". But you know... the seething, stinking mass of humanity was preferable to dark, wet and outside alone.

Case 3: Alice waiting for lift in Sinai, Egypt

Mt. Sinai to the coast anyone? Hello? Bueller? Sitting in the middle of the desert was more boring than it may appear. I'm sure this picture was taken at a distance because I was gnashing teeth at folks who got too close.


I mastered this position as you'll see in the next photo too.

Case 4: Alice on train in Egypt

This is the look of a gal who had a ticket with a seat assignment until her two friends decided to jump the earlier train from Alexandria to Cairo.


By jumping the earlier train, you can see for yourself where Alice's seat assignment ended up. I still can't imagine how I didn't get my middle finger up in time for that shot.

Case 5: Rena at Bwindi Inpenetrable Forest, Uganda

OK - this isn't me, but Rena was one of my bestest travel companions and since I love her so much and managed to cheese her off more often than not, I thought I'd include my favorite picture of her. I can almost hear Rena now - "Get the hell away from me you immature dopes and let me soak my feet in peace." I'm pretty sure she was giving me the mental finger.

*BONUS PIC - JUST ADDED*

Sorry - last minute addition. I'm guessing that Joey's finger is saying - "Why Alice... I'm busy washing my clothes in your scary, black bathing room where I've been hunched over scrubbing out my underwear and socks for many minutes."




She was a fool. Life was easier if you never wore socks or underwear.

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40 Comments :

Bobbi said...

Hey Alice, I'm 46 with 3 kids, but my finger still flies at the drop of a hat! Not to mention the potty words that jump out of my mouth involuntarily!

Cocotte said...

I've only ever let the finger fly during moments of road rage. Then again, I've never suffered in some godforsaken jungle. I've not been following your blog long enough - WHY were you there?

for a different kind of girl said...

Most photos of me involve me sticking my hand in front of the lens, like I'm some celebrity trying to shoo away the pesky fly that is the paparrazi. My kids will apparently think I was a scientific miracle - The Amazing Hand Face Lady! - or that I didn't actually exist for there is no photographic evidence of me to prove otherwise!

(I got some monkey butt in the mail the other day! Woo HOO! Thanks!)

Janet said...

ROFLMAO!!! I have many of these shots too, altho not in Africa ;-)

The Hypocritical One said...

Is that a 1972 Toyota Corolla? Nice ride.

Actually those look like very interesting places...probably very good times.

Meg said...

I think you just created the bestest meme: What are the stories behind your middle-finger fotos.

I thought about giving the finger a lot while taking the subway to work in Tokyo, but I knew it would be lost on the Japanese.

Plus they didn't take their eyes off of their porno comic books.

Caroline said...

Great post! Needed the laugh today. Africa looks pretty damn awesome!

Jenn Thorson said...

I love the travel stories, Alice. Anyone who travels knows, with travel comes pain. Physical, emotional, middle-finger-oriented pain.

Am always glad to read your adventures-- and thank you for this in preference of your mowing the lawn. :)

Anonymous said...

Alice is being far too modest. She flipped the bird all over Africa and was somehow only loved all the more for it. That guy in the first photo? He's a professional biker who undoubtedly dragged Alice over slippery slopes that neither Kenyans nor their goats would attempt. That second guy? He tried his best to be nice, and the little children of his village still thre rocks at him. Me? I was admonished and sent home from school for not wearing a skirt. But there was jean-wearin', finger-flippin' Alice, loved by all. She made the bird seem like a friendly mini-greeting, and her legacy is probably legions of Kenyan children who now run after tourists and Peace Corps volunteers yelling, "Howayou? Howayou?" and waving their middle digits merrily in the air.

Alice said...

Bobbi - You and me in a car should give the kids a whole new vocabulary.

Cocotte - I just added a note to the top. I forget people don't already know my life story. I taught math for two years in Kenya with the Peace Corps.

FADKOG - You are SOOO welcome. And yeah, I imagine all video of me has a hand in front of the lens. I'm too fat now to appear on film.

Janet - You should put your own montage together. ; )

The Hyp One - VERY good times. Carefree and no worries.

Meg - You are totally holding out on us. I need to hear some Tokyo stories! So cool. I've never been to Asia.

Caroline - It is pretty awesome. Go before you die!

Jenn - Thanks and I'd love to hear more of your own travel pain. Hah! Now I really must finish the yard. It's starting to look like Bwindi Inpenetrable Forest.

N - First off - I love you. Secondly, you are hearby commissioned to write a post to stick up here and I really mean that. You are too funny to go unblogged.

gadragonfly said...

Thanks for the laugh. This week has sucked, I needed it. Love you & your middle finger. I'm a big fan of the finger & I LOVE MY HORN. Nick hates when I lay on it. He says I am too quick to hit it & hit it way too much. I know when it's necessary darnit. I'm a woman!!

Kelly said...

lol I needed a luagh after the hell that was my day yesterday with the daughter..

MereCat said...

heh heh HEEEEE!!!!! Those were fun. What a cool experience.

Rickey Henderson said...

damn, if Rickey may say, Africa does look pretty awesome. Rickey totally digs vacations that are off the beaten path and yours definitely seems to have fit the bill.

MsCatalysta said...

Middle fingers round the world!! I love it!

Ellie said...

Underwear's for chumps.

LceeL said...

Now THAT'S my kind of woman. Goes commando in the rainforest. Or, just goes commando. Anywhere. Anytime. With a nice RACK.

Mekhismom said...

Thanks for posting your photos of your adventures in Africa. Middle finger ahhh I personally don't use but can understand why people do. I had my fair share of middle finger moments when I lived in Africa too.

Bee said...

These pictures are awesome! I'd be flipping off the camera all the time if they caught me without my hair done and make up. I wouldn't be able to handle it. :o)

Hey It's Di said...

Sometimes the finger is the only answer. It says so much without moving the lips.

Between my parent's mission stories from Africa and your adventures, I am chomping the bit to get myself over there. NOT! They had plenty of driving experiences that caused my Mom to shutter and my Dad to swear like a missionary sailor:)

Kirsten said...

LOL! You are so well travelled! I'm jealous! You can't see it, but my middle finger is up right now!

Trooper Thorn said...

So it's middle finger in Africa. Would we see tongue-sticking-out in Asia? How about spitting in South America? Probably not a lot of sitting outside in Antarctica.

Robyn said...

Now if only I could do that to my children...

Alice said...

D - I'd be more a fan of my horn, but it's so wimpy sounding. Can't wait to see you!

Kelly - You did have a sucky day. I hope it's not the start of things to come from your gal. Uh oh..PMS?!?!

Merecat - It was fun, despite my finger.

Rickey - I think Rickey's upcoming honeymoon should be somewhere off the beaten path. And then you could put the pics on wedshare.com. Hahahhaha

Catalysta - Thanks!

Ellie - You said it girl.

Lou - Commando...mostly. Nice rack... eh..not much of one. Sorry big guy. ; )

Mekhismom - Welcome! I'm coming to check out your site (eventually) and hope you have some Africa adventures up there. I love to read about others experiences.

Alice said...

Bee - LOL. That would be almost all the time for me. I was only religious about my eyeliner.

Di - I'll go with you. I haven't seen any of western Africa yet!

Kirsten - Oh, I see it. ; )

Trooper Thorn - I could go for the spitting and tongue sticking too. Anything to feel a little surge of satisfaction.

Robyn - Hey..nothing's stopping you. And I'm sure they deserve it.

Savvy Mode SG said...

i don't think i ever had a middle finger moment in my life.

damon said...

I love the middle finger. Next to my thumb, it's my fave.

JD at I Do Things said...

Hey! Great idea. The next time I have blogger apathy, I'll just whip out my awesome photos from my adventures in Africa.

Oh, wait. I don't HAVE any such photos.

OK, I'll just whip out a video of my cats.

These are all great. Despite all the finger waving, it looks like you had an amazing time.

JD at I Do Things

coffespaz said...

Looks like those fingers were well deserved. What a great life experience you've had though! Would love to read more stories from that time (if your so inclined).

Sully Sullivan said...

Agreed, you do look angry in most of those pictures.

Although I'm assuming life in kenya would wear anyone down. It's understandable.

Queen Goob said...

And don't forget - there are different fingers for different situations. I noticed two different flips in the three finger shots. That first one was a hard-core-up-you-a$$ finger.

WOW!

Camille said...

OKAY, I've been reading your blog for a while and never could figured out why all the Africa talk. Thanks for the recap. It looks like you've really seen the world!

Chat Blanc (aka Sandy) said...

I thought the middle finger was the international sign for hello. no? ummm, maybe that's why I wasn't so popular in France.

VE said...

Boy, after seeing that purple sack and sneakers...I want you too!!!

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I'll cross over for a girl in a purple sack with the finger flying.

P.S. Love your blog. Love your Olympic Dear Diary segment...laughed really hard over that one.

Mary Witzl said...

You've given me a much-needed smile. I'm right in the middle of packing books, and sorely tried. And after reading this, I feel like giving my finger to anyone who comes in wanting ANYthing. They can just go and do their own washing and cooking for a change...

Manager Mom said...

Awesome post... made awesomer by the offhand Ferris Bueller reference.

I think I am a teenage girl. "Awesomer?" WTF?

Kylie in Warsaw said...

Oh my gosh! That train thing? They do that here. I've never done it, 'cause I always pay for a seat, but I know people who have. Here if you pay for a "standing room" ticket and the train is not full you can sit in a seat. But what really happens is that people who pay for the standing ticket, run everyone down to get on the train first and then sit anywhere they damn well please and make you prove to them that you actually paid for that seat their fat ass is sitting in and will they please get it out?!?

Sorry, issues...

Love the pictures though:).

That girl from Shallotte said...

I LOVE your adventure pics, and now that I know your mom's a Brit, it just adds more proof to my theory that the British have no fear of conquering the unknown territories.

Alice Wills Gold said...

O.k. I don't know what I a more jealous of...your travels or your comments?

he he

Love the attitude. And, thanks for making me realize that I am lucky to have a washing machine and I am not the only one who gets sick and tired of blogging from time to time.

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