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Bonn, Germany.

I wake up to the smell of cows some mornings, despite this being a city the farms are pretty close still and both farmland and town have somehow managed to co-exist. There’s something about Germans, some inexplicable perfection in what they do. I won’t speak of their automobiles cause enough’s known about them already. I’ll speak of everything else.

Apart from the trains and other forms of public transport there’s the traffic lights. I’m soo not used to following the rules (no one in Kenya does-our politicians least of all) and it was very apparent. So i get to the intersection and the lights have a button which pedestrians press such as to ‘notify’ the lights that there’s someone waiting to cross. The ‘WALK’ lights then turn green after a short period of time. During the day one absolutely must follow the rules but at night, really? Can you imagine me standing there looking all forlorn and alone with not a car in sight waiting for a light to turn green??? I imagine not!

Leave the traffic lights system and we can speak of the construction.

-One must seek a permit for everything, including painting one’s house a certain colour in some neighbourhoods, or cutting the tree in your back yard. There are zoning rules and I imagine a whole encycloapeadia thick book of regulations that dictate everything.

-There are still chinese products in the market but it seems they are the high end chinese goods fashioned for this and other developed country markets. Less flashy goods than we know them to be but functional (remember the McLauren guy shirts and shiny shiny ladies tops that had flooded kenya back in the day?). I still haven’t spotted the fake Gucci and Luis Vuiton that are soo blatantly knock offs and are very popular back home.

There is also drama about South Korean based Samsung being banned from selling their Galaxy 10.1 tab in Germany (and also Australian) markets because of a copyright issue. Apple have sued them for, in a nutshell, copying the Ipad and Apple is pissed. The German market is regulated. if you think about how many Noklas and Sqny phones enter Kenyans market you realize our goverment is doing nothing to protect us from knock offs… Or, more realistically, a larger percentage of us still cannot afford the good stuff. “So its fake? So what?” they think. The consumers just want cheaper versions of phones they cant have. (I say this because my then phone was a Blackberry –esque. The Alcatel OT 800. Aki that was such a useless phone for its price, i vowed to stick Nokia afterwards. A good friend of mine called it a china phone even though it was legitimately bought over the Safaricom counter. But now I must admit it is). We must thank Nokia as they try get cheaper phones with larger functionality into the kenyan market. Pushing cheap smart phones. This shall definitely boost the number of things youth will be able to do with their phones (since we all know it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks). But the rural population will stick with their mulika mwizis and such. I am for the idea that those ‘torch’ phones should be phased out. Their limited functionality prevents their bearers from getting access to valuable information online. With talk around town being that technology shall play a vital role in getting us to the Vision 2030 milestone do we really want to flood the market with these phones??

-Somehow electronics are cheaper. Dont ask me how…i don’t get it still..

-And the piece de resistance. The other day im seated in the loo (..why does that statement already feel like TMI…) and somehow I notice that the tissue paper isn’t 2 ply ka kawaida. It’s 4 ply! (I counted just incase you were wondering… i hadn’t carried any magazines, haha). It feels soo nyc and sturdy. This is definitely not a product we lack in Kenya as I recently spotted some imported tissue rolls in Nakumatt that looked quite attractive. But you’ll fork through your nose for it and then that will just be literally flushing money down the drain!

So, im in love with the tissue paper. And everything about these guys can be explained by those 4 plys.

PS: there’s no way our Build kenya Buy Kenya guys could carry out a market study to see how these 4 ply tissues would be absorbed by the market??