Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • "Who stays in all of these hotels, Jo?" I ask.

    For days, it's been making me crazy, driving past small, corrugated steel buildings in vibrant colors with the word "hotel" painted on the front and side.

    From the outside, they look to be no wider than the storage shed and somewhat less cozy. Hot in the summer. Cold in the winter. A single room. We pass so many of them.

    At some point, a relationship seems clear, a tie between hotels and butcheries. None of us can imagine spending the night with a side of beef. Not one for consumption, anyway, and the connection seems even odder than the sheer number of hotels in the sparsely populated Rift Valley.

    People do seem to walk everywhere. Maybe they're going on journeys, long journeys, not unlike the Great Migration of the animals in the area and maybe they need a place to stay. Perhaps the people are more nomadic than we realize. Maybe people travel on weekends. A million possiblities spring to mind, none of them very likely, and we continue to hypothesize as we drive through the Valley and to our next destination.

    Around mile marker 53, though, I give up. Give in.

    "Who stays in all of these hotels, Jo?" I ask.

    And our driver laughs.

    "No one," he says. "In both dialects, hotels and restaurants are the same word. These are eating houses."

    Mystery solved.

    I kind of miss the hypotheses.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.