Respecting the rules

26 Sep

>I am now in Nairobi, a great and vibrant city, but one of it’s nicknames is Nairoberry (my backpack with a camera got stolen already). Yesterday, I had a great chat about the security situation here with one friend who has been here for 12 weeks already. She told me that it is a very safe place if you do not break the rules.

In the main header of my blog I wrote that life is game and that it has it’s rules. My stay in Nairobi is a game as well and I broke one of it’s rules. I put the backpack next to my chair instead of having it on my lap while eating out. It was not the Kenyan’s who broke a rule by stealing my backpack it was me breaking a rule that you never keep your things out of sight here.

It is a very simple and powerful idea that can be applied to anything. Always get to know the local rules and be willing to follow them. The final takeaway is that the locals never break rules. It is their game and as a visitor, you have to play it. If you break any rule, you might get punished. In which case it is not the local people being bad or treating you unfairly, it is you breaking a local rule.

Here are some other rules I have Iearned here so far:
- look confident and that you know what you are doing
- walk fast on the streets, focused on where you are going and do not look people in the eyes (unless you want to speak to them in which case do so all the time)
- always bargain and offer either a bit less than what it usually costs or one third of what they quote you. Do not be afraid to walk away from an offer
- take time to ask questions, speak slowly. Do not ask yes/no questions because answer to those will always be Yes, ok, no problem…

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