Lost in translation
At one of the evening dinners at TED Global I ended up sitting next to a group of Americans and we started discussing the TED bags that each one of us got. I told them the best thing in the bag for me, apart from the bag itself, was the torch (each bag came with a small yet powerful LED torch (number 6) ).
When I mentioned this, there was short silence, then they asked me,
“You got a TORCH?”
“Yeah”, I reply wondering why they would be so impressed. OK it is a bloody good torch but still.
“In your TED bag?â€
â€œCan we see it?”
I pull it out of my bag wondering which company these guys work for if they have never seen a torch before. Once they saw it, however, the disappointment on their face was telling.
Perplexed I ask them, “What did you expect?”
They explained that when I had said torch they thought I meant open flame, fire, as in burning torch, you know those things you dip into petrol and light at the end, to them that is a torch. You know, like that guy in the Fantastic Four who runs around on fire that is a torch.
To them what I was holding in my hand is a flashlight. To me, a flashlight or a flash is something you stick on top of camera when you want to take pictures in the dark.
OK I can see now why they were initially impressed. Imagine having one of those open flame “torches” in your rucksack just waiting for an opportune moment to light the petrol.
I blame Micro$oft and their “English (US)”!
How the players play
I asked another bunch if this was their first time in Africa, they said yes, they had been in Morocco for a couple of days and then flew to Arusha. So I asked them if they flew through Nairobi.
No, they said they flew straight from Morocco to Arusha.
So now Iâ€™m looking at them wondering what kind of a muppet they think I am, why the hell they would lie to me so badly, I mean which airline flies direct to Arusha from Morocco?
Just before I launched into a mini argument with them another Kenyan next to me notices the look on my face and whispers to me, “You guy, they came in their own plane.”
Serena Mountain Village, Arusha
Everyone thinks they had it going on but seriously the TED Group at Serena Mountain Village was fantastic. One of the guys predicts the future, another one is a leading Nollywood director, one has built the building with the most solar panels in Africa, one had a brilliant way of keeping intellectual debate going and another had the guts to show this picture during his 3 minute talk, meanwhile this geezer gave the best 3 minute talk any roommate of mine has ever given at a TED conference, at the same time Manu and I spent time debating the merits of a good single malt.
The TED veterans ensured we mixed and to be honest they even outlasted us and still sounded coherent at 5am. A better bunch of crazier yet interesting and completely unpretentious people you would not meet. All we were missing was a neo-con! I think there is a conspiracy going on here, arenâ€™t neo-cons allowed to have passports by the US authorities? I have never met an American who says they voted for Bush. Aren’t they allowed to travel and leave America?
The lodge is very romantic and very honeymoon like. Luckily my roommate has already been on his honeymoon a couple of years back.
You may have heard that due to the generosity of the Google and AMD each of the TED Global Fellows will soon be getting a new Mac or PC laptop. What you may not have heard is that due to generosity of Noah Samara from Worldspace each fellow is also getting a satellite radio and an annual Worldspace subscription. As you can imagine we went, as a famous Kenyan blogger would put it, bananas. But I quickly realised I was going bananas for a different reason from everyone else. All the other fellows are going nuts over the Macs (is anyone seriously choosing a PC?) But me, I was going bananas over the radio.
Satellite radio, for one year. Yani I can wake up at 3am and tune into what the good people of Papua New Guinea are up to? And I’ve always wondered what the theme music for radio news in Peru sounds like. Now I’ll know. On News Year Eve I’ll start listening from Time Zone 1 and check out how each time zone celebrates the New Year! Imagine how many countdowns I will catch! Yeah ok, Macs are cool, very very cool. Lakini, you guy, a radio with a ka small satellite dish, come on now, what is cooler than that! Seriously!
Body no be wood
Umm well, yeah umm, ah ehhhh hmmm!!! If you know you know, if you donâ€™t know, you donâ€™t know, or ask a Nigerian. Donâ€™t ask Google, it will just confuse you! However BNBW in the TED Global context may be slightly different from the traditional context. We kinda switched it into an ICT cheetah thing, (cough cough), let me just put it this way, YMMV, and I do not mean THAT mileage.
Kilimanjaro International Airport
Is there any reason why Kisumu airport can not be expanded to look and feel like Kilimanjaro airport?