A Brief update from Juba, Sudan

For starters, I'm doing fine (Mom and Dad).

While it's not Los Angeles, Juba is a very nice town as far as the developing world is concerned. I compare it to L.A. because the greater Southern California Metropolitan Area is about 1,000 square miles of pavement and Juba just got four or five roads paved in the last couple of years. These few streets are beautifully done and traffic seems to be respectful of their importance. Traffic is rather polite actually.

I get around Juba mostly by Boda, this is, on the back of a hired motorcycle. Every part of the world has a different word for them: piki-piki, ping-ping, Taka.... I've mentioned in other posts my affinity for getting around the developing world on the back of a bike, and Juba is the perfect example of a Boda's utility. In a congested city like Kampala or Dhaka, a motorbike cab would be a death wish: if an accident didn't kill you, then you would surely die when your lungs lept out of your throat in protest of all the smog you'd been inhaling. But in a smaller city like Juba, a bike is the most elegant way to travel. It can take smaller, unpaved, roads with ease; meaning you usually beat your high budget comrades to the press conference. The cost is fractions of a car. You never get hot when you are moving and yet there's no shock to the system when you step out of the air conditioned SUV into the warm dry air of Souther Sudan.

My Boda driver's name is Abdul and he's been great so far. I find that I kind of believe in Boda Monogamy: I like to find a guy I like and stick with him until he lets me down in a big way and then I go looking for someone new. I had another driver earlier in the project, but he didn't show up at 7am on the day of the vote when I needed to be somewhere and when I walked out to the main road, there was Abdul with his cap and sunglasses. He had me at "ok." Abdule's a quite young dude (most boda drivers are talkers) but he knows the town really well–with a few exceptions–and he's fair on price, which really, is kind of priority #1 when you're freelance.

OK, that's it for tonight, I need to go to bed. Lots to do in the morning. The Documentary is looking good!