Some observations from a weekend of sun, beer and barbecue in Nairobi, where, despite it not being Memorial Day, a break in the autumn rains made it feel like a holiday.
* You know you've been in Kenya too long when someone at a party begins a story with, "So I flew down to Bunia [Congo] one time to buy some rough diamonds..." and no one bats an eye.
* A colleague from a very prestigious Western newspaper is planning a trip to eastern Congo. He pitched his editors and the reply came back instantly: You didn't include a cost estimate. These days it seems that even the best papers can't decide whether a story is worth doing without first knowing how much it's going to cost to do it.
* I'm all for pirate humor but this joke is just dumb. A mock website is hawking cruises between Kenya and Djibouti where passengers are encouraged to fire on pirates. "Most cruises offer a mini-bar," goes the website for "Somali Cruises." "We offer a mounted mini-gun." Ho ho ho.
* When a public official under scrutiny refuses to return a reporter's phone calls or says he or she won't answer questions, we often write that he or she "couldn't be reached for comment" or "declined to comment" and leave it at that. Kenyan newspapers, fortunately, are a lot more interesting.
From today's Standard on the latest this-would-be-shocking-if-it-weren't-Kenya scandal involving Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta's inability to explain a $140 million budget discrepancy:
Finance PS [permanent secretary] Joseph Kinyua would not be drawn to speak about it.
"Oh no, I’m not talking to you...No! No! No" Kinyua said when The Standard reached him on the telephone.