I know I haven’t written about cooking recently, but tonight I re-discovered something delicious and comforting from my past: rice milk. I used to eat it all the time when I was a kid. Take a bowl of white rice, pour some warm milk over it, add a pinch of sugar and cinnamon, and voila! I guess it’s a popular dish worldwide. It’s eaten everywhere from Norway to Malaysia, so there are plenty of variations. I guess the name is a bit misleading and only refers to one variety of this sweet dish. My version isn’t a pudding or purée, just rice sitting in a bowl of warm milk!
I remember eating this on family camping trips when I was a kid. More recently, I remember requesting warm milk for my rice when eating at the dining hall during my first year at Chico State University (2002–2003). It’s great when you have some left over rice and you want a sweet snack in the morning, especially if it’s cold outside (or if you’re just feeling lazy).
On a side note: I had some German friends over recently and they mentioned that it’s a popular dish in Germany. I know the people in Tala think I’m a Jew/Israelite, but maybe I’m German after all?
One of my buddies works in a photo studio in Tala’s market. I hang out there after work sometimes and all sorts of people come by for various reasons, mostly to get pictures taken. Crazy people, drunk people, desperate people, etc. A few weeks ago someone asked if they could take a picture with me. It’s not the first time someone’s asked me, so I said yes.
Being white in Nairobi is mostly harmless and can be pretty funny, but being white in Tala is annoying. There are a few things that really annoy me about being non-black in Tala. It’s not that Tala is particularly a bad place; I assume you’d have the same experience if you traveled to a rural area in any country. If you stand out like a sore thumb you’re bound to attract attention (good and bad).
First, people feel so sweet when they’re with their buddies (see: Herd Behavior). They’ll say things when they’re in a group that they’d never say if they were alone. I’m used to that by now, so my heart always starts racing when I see a group of teenagers approaching. It seems like they always have to say as they pass, and it’s usually something provocative (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this). Go live somewhere where you are different and see how it feels to walk the streets day in and day out by yourself.
Second, some people just never get used to me. For example: the girls at Tala Girls high school. The college’s compound is fenced, and I usually enter through a gate near the high school’s perimeter. The girls usually see me leaving my house through that gate and I’m used to the silly things they say (you know high school girls). I am surprised every once in a while, like last weekend some girls shouted, “Mzungu! Mzungu!” Uhh… these girls are in high school. Have they never seen a white person before? I’m not even sure that’s an excuse, because I’ve lived here for close to TWO YEARS.
Depending on my mood, these range from really pissing me off to being just slightly annoying.