Isak Dinesen I'm not, but ...

MAZURI (Peace in Swahili)! Thanks for stopping by. I won't be on the fire escape for a while because I'm off to Kenya. To first-time visitors: I usually blog every other day or so, so check back regularly after 8/21. In the meantime, feel free to browse the archives. When I return, I'll blog like mad about life between THREE cultures, a strange phenomenon immigrants encounter in foreign destinations.

In rural China, for example, people didn't want to accept that I was an American. Instead, they asked me repeatedly to dance and sing in Hindi. You guessed it — Bollywood flicks are popular all across the mainland. Our guide taught me to say: "Yi-chien Wuh Shr Indo-ren; Dioh-Nee, Wuh Shr Megwo-ren," which means "Before, I was Indian. Now, I am American." I hated that phrase as it implied I had left behind my Indian-ness forever, but it was the best she could offer to clarify my identity.

Indians form an interesting margin of the cultural fabric in East Africa. Will Kenyans assume I'm an African Indian? Will they treat me differently than they do my white traveling companions? At the very least, I'm bound to get better bargains in the markets, right? I'll report in when I return. In the meantime, hang out, enjoy the view, and save me a good spot.