So, this put me on a mad hunt for more of this stuff, and fast. This meant going to the nearest city. I got the name and number of a hardware store from someone in Nyota, and it sounded like the guy had something suitable. I asked around to try and get a lift to town, but I had to go the very next day since there was no flexibility in my schedule and this was now urgent. I didn't find a lift, which meant getting up well before dawn to catch the !#@$*^%$ Nyota bus. I hate the Nyota bus.
It took me 3 hours just to get to the nearest sealed road on the Nyota bus (that's about double what it should take). Once there, I had to get another bus to the city. Before that though, Jon and I talked on the phone for a while and he was having a terrible day and I was trying to be supportive but I hadn't eaten breakfast yet and he was crying and I was crying in this narrow corridor between two buildings at the bus stand. I was feeling so overwhelmed. But I sucked it up, put on my best don't-mess-with-me face and then caught the next bus to the city.
I haven't really been to this city before, in spite of its proximity to Nyota as the nearest place for things like fast internet and western food. Cam drew me a map, and I navigated my way to the shop that said they had the supplies I needed. The shop owner was extremely kind and helpful, but it turned out they didn't have exactly what I needed or have enough of an alternative. By the time I left that shop, it was after 11 am and in order to catch the Nyota bus I had to leave the city by 12 or 12:30. There was no way I'd make it.
I spent the next 2 or 3 hours going from shop to shop asking where I could get the supplies I needed. I rode on the back of bicycles all over town, going in circles and criss-crossing my path. At each shop they helped direct the next bicycle driver to the next one. I was determined not to leave until I had found something I could use. Finally, I ended up at a little shop that Cam goes to frequently for his supplies, and they had something suitable.
At that point I had missed my chance for catching the Nyota bus, so I decided to make the most of my time in the city. I got my lost phone number replaced, drank some cold, fresh juice, withdrew money, and shopped at the used clothing market. Only then did I start heading back towards Nyota.
There's just one bus to and from Nyota every day. It leaves Nyota before dawn and drives to the nearest town, then leaves mid-afternoon to come back. If you miss that bus, then your options are 1) hire a taxi or 4wd- very expensive. 2) catch a lift with a car or lorry headed to Nyota, 3) hire a motorcycle to take you, or 4) wait until the next day. I was really hoping to catch a lift, but it was too late in the day for many vehicles to be headed that way. I called people I knew in Nyota to ask if they knew anyone coming back on a motorcycle who I could ride with but no luck there. In the end, I hired a motorcycle to drive me for about 5 times as much as the bus ($10). The 70-minute trip on the crappy, narrow, curvy road (without my helmet) is probably the most dangerous thing I've done in Ukenzagapia.
I arrived back in Nyota 12 hours after I left. It took an entire day. All because of stupid meters and feet... and the Nyota bus.