Date: Sat, 08 Jan 2000 06:55:21 PST
From: Claude Marthaler
Subject: "THE HUB"

Dear Redfishes!
Happy New Year!
Nairobi, Kenya, Km 997OO

Hands on the handlebar and feet mettle to the pedals, suddenly touching the ground of the self-named "Nairobbery", I felt drunk like a sailor reaching a port. Here were hundreds of street children with plastic bottles of glue or fuel stuck to their noses, hawkers wanting to sell you a safari, a watch, an artifact. Huge billboards, cutting even bigger pieces of shade on the busy four lane highway expressing a taste of cruel and lonely beauty.

Nairobbery had already stolen my breath as I looked above the smoke and plunged my eyes into: Kenyan Airlines: "Nairobi, the hub for your international connections." I was almost to become an asphalt warrior or an asthmatic Masaai with black rims around my neck. Meaningless if not simply not readable for street children on chemical trips, for some reason, it stuck like a prophecy in my mind. Terrestrial borders towards Ethiopia, Sudan and further north towards the DRCongo were closed.

For the first time in almost six years, the "magic line" could have been simply cut like an umbilical cord. Emotional borders were suddenly opened by the venue of my friend Ute, who flew in the middle of December from Manhattan to Nairobi. Climbing Mt Kenya (4996m.) had been at best a metaphor of a flight, an escape of a cemented world of certitude, an aerial wish to see the world from a higher perspective. A hub, like the Alps had been to me in my childhood.

Tomorrow was to be year 2000, kilometer 100000. My wheels had spoke-n, - more than 36 times. Like the French say "There are not 36 ways to do something" or Buddha "There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way", my wheels had more than twice turned around the earth rim.

Ute came to Africa to see me and pedal. The continent revealed her heart before her mind (like a reverse image of a movable front wheel towards a rear traction wheel). Soon, it clearly appeared that Nairobi was going to be for her too a hub (for international connections)... In wheels she spoke. If Hindus and Buddhists know the importance of the Dharma (Wheel of life) , cyclists together need more: 4 hubs, 144 spokes, 2 freewheels, but one single free will. .. The Yakfreedom...

The YAK_


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