The Third Wheel

Dated: 17 APR 18

It’s the morning I leave Nairobi, it’s chucking it down and I should be camping in the foothills of Mt Kenya tonight. It’s been about a week since I’ve last been on the road. Though Emily, my gracious host, might tell you differently; “you turned up for one or two days,” she says with a smile, “and eight days, later you are still here.” There maybe a few of you reading this thinking that it’s a familiar scenario; I’m in my thirties and it does make me wonder, at what age am I too old to be sleeping on people’s sofas at the weekends and if I’m lucky, in the spare room?

Emily is the sibling of a friend back home and the daughter of Laura and Russell with whom I stayed in Lusaka a while back. Their family is proving fruitful in terms of beds to kip in for one night or eight. When I get to Addis Ababa in ten days or so a friend of theirs has kindly offered the sofa and when I finally make it to Ulaanbaatar, Emily’s boss has offered to open his doors – his wife is Mongolian.

So, seven or eight days ago when I arrived we had a day of board games on a rainy afternoon during which I became a slum lord, Daniel (the boyfriend) went into arears and bankruptcy and Emily was declared the mayor of Monopoly. I’m the youngest of three boys and as with all youngest siblings I have never won a game of monopoly, risk or any other family inclusive game.

Like her parents, Em enjoys a good glass of red so four bottles later we have dolled ourselves up and hit the town. I have to borrow an item or two from Daniel. Daniel is Mexican and that Latin blood makes him quite the romantic; they would be sat hand in hand perhaps gazing into one another’s eyes at the table of their first date which overlooks the Nairobi skyline if it wasn’t for the vagabond sat opposite clutching a pint. I make a great third wheel if I say so myself but despite this, we go in search of the fourth and some “dancing.”

Now you would think that a man in my condition – extremely hairy and stick thin – wouldn’t be picky. But the girl that takes an interest although pretty, isn’t to my taste or perhaps all that time spent sat on a hard saddle across rough roads is an antaphrodisiac. Well anyway, back to the tall blonde; at the end of each sentence, start of the next dated song or the arrival of a drink, our ears were met with a loud “whooooo!” as she whirls her cardigan about her head. A Whooo girl……not my cup of 20 bob tea.

I have been wondering as to the whereabouts of my libido, long distance cycling – it would seem – is a sex drive suppressant and just like my bikes my under carriage, mine is feeling the long time spent on bumpy roads. I’m sure my sperm count has seen better days. I’m a long way off from being a pubescent teenager pumped up on hormones and prone to uncomfortable dreams.

Emily, although claiming misanthropy is a people person (if they have verified credentials). With a breakfast smoothie and a cup of tea waiting for me in the mornings and a glass of vino in the evenings, I have been well looked after. And with Daniel’s home entertainment system, I’m amazed they managed to get me off the sofa and to wear more than just my underwear. I’m like some sort of sasquatch; extremely hairy and prone to moulting in the heat. Unlike a sasquatch, I would be easy to track for everywhere I go in the flat I seem to leave behind a dusting of body hair; I’m not design for life in a flat with white tiled floors. In addition to my moulting, it would seem that I brought with me an infestation of mosquitos; the normally mozzie free zone is swarming – perhaps they were hiding in my hair. Lying in bed, they are like the Luftwaffe dive bombing and instilling despair in their victims who know they are in for a fitful night’s sleep (this maybe a tad melodramatic).

Siblings are hilarious and flashes of her sister, Charlie, are truly evident in her mannerisms as Emily tells stories or puns. And as with all siblings, she denies the likeness but it’s definitely there. The biggest give away is the laugh and the both of them are similar to their mother.

Between a break at the beach, trekking up to Longonot crater and drinking red wine by the fire on the shores of the hippo filled Lake Naivasha, I have had a great time with my hosts. Big thanks go out to Emily and Daniel.

Post Script:

To keep tack of my travels my grandmother has taken internet lessons at her local library in Shaftsbury and is now the proud owner of an iPad so that she can keep up with my blog; she’s an avid traveller herself. To that end, I would like to apologise to my grandma as to the occasional adult content and the occasional profanity of this post and any future posts to come. I’m an innocent well-to-do young man, I swear.

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