Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, July 27, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “TAKE THE BUS IN NAIROBI”

1920 Nairobi had its problems: The city’s population was growing rapidly, more traffic prowled the streets, the streets weren’t in the best condition and were dusty in the dry season and quagmires in the wet, and there was a fuel shortage. What could be done to temper this situation?

The answer: An omnibus. Yes, 1920 Nairobi dabbled in mass transit to solve its problems much as we try to do today.

The city with the assistance of the Messrs. Englebrecht Brothers, started up the inter-urban bus service in July, 1920 with “two good vehicles.” This Omnibus ran between Nairobi and Nyeri, about 130 km as the bus crawled. A car left the New Stanley Hotel each Wednesday at 9 am “calling at Mr. Barnes’s Hotel, ‘Ye Olde Gables,’ Ruiru, The Blue Posts Hotel near Thika, Thika, Fort Hall, and finally at Nyeri. Intermediate stops could be made assuming they were not “unreasonably distant from the main road.” A similar conveyance left Nyeri each Monday at 9 am.

The Leader of July 17, 1920 ran a small article stating that the “new Nairobi bus service” was doing well “for a start off” and that Councillor Hamilton “was noticed jumping jauntily of(f) the tram service.” The buses, the article went on to say were “not above carrying and not beneath the dignity of all sorts and conditions of local residents,” which was as it should be “in a colony which should be democratic.” Whether the various sorts and conditions actually went beyond poorer settlers and into the Indian and Goan population and the African natives is not clear.

Whatever the case, it only cost a rupee to ride.

The images were taken from The Leader of British East Africa July 3, 1920.

NEXT WEEK: Nairobi Buses.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, is available in hardcover. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH will be released Sept. 1, 2009. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, July 20, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “MOTOR NOTES IN NAIROBI”

As we’ve seen in the last two blogs, there were a variety of automobiles running around the Nairobi streets. Besides the aforementioned Ford, Chalmers, and Hupmobile; Buick, Chevrolet, and Austin brands were also well represented. Consequently, motor clubs popped up in the colony, and to feed the need for motoring information, The East African Standard ran a regular column titled “Motor Notes” by “Carburetter.”

The column’s first concern was to keep members of the East African Auto Assocation up to date on pertinent news. For example, on Febr, 14, 1920, Carburetter describes a project for making the first “motoring map” for British East Africa, a “strenuous task” since most of the existing maps were at least ten years old and “by no means accurate.” Information regarding roads passable only in dry season was particularly useful.

Other important business was to establish the EAAA’s 1920 program starting with a “motor gymkhana sometime before the March rains.”

Carburetter claimed that sixty percent of the motorcars purchased (presumably in the colony) were purchased for business purposes. “The average owner’s mind does not run in pleasure channels now.” He considered the initial sale to be the beginning of a partnership and the “after attention” was just as important as the purchase.

From time to time in this blog, we’ll revisit Mr. Carburetter and see some of the other columns of interest to the growing motor vehicle group in the new Kenya Colony.

The images were taken from The East African Standard, 1920 issues.

NEXT WEEK: Nairobi Buses.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, is available in hardcover. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH will be released Sept. 1, 2009. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “CARS IN NAIROBI – PART 2”

Last week, we took a look at two of the more popular models of cars available in Nairobi. Surprisingly, American products like the sold very well in the British colony, possibly because so many of the colonists had encountered models such as Ford and Dodge during the Great War and came to trust them. And several stores in Nairobi sold automobiles. But one wasn't limited to what was in stock. More “exotic” makes could be ordered from overseas and shipped to the customer. One of those was the Chalmers car.

The Chalmers was another American automobile, made in Detroit Michigan and very popular in the 1910's. It was an expensive car, costing 1500 American dollars for the Touring or Roadster models. Of course, the colonist that wanted something different and had the means to import an automobile might not have any difficulty affording it. But the Chalmers company wouldn't last much longer. It ceased production in late 1923.

The Chalmers ad was taken from The South and East African Year Book and Guide for 1922. The Hupmobile ad was taken from the East African Standard newspaper 1920

NEXT WEEK: More Nairobi Cars – Newspaper columns on car care.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, is available in hardcover. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH will be released Sept. 1, 2009. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “CARS IN NAIROBI – part 1

In Jade del Cameron’s first adventure, MARK OF THE LION, most of the colonists took a native-pulled rickshaw to get around in town. Those that had cars, were put together jobs often made up of several cars left over from the Great War. With sides built up of wooden frameworks, these “box-bodied” cars were utilitarian rather than pretty. By the 1920’s that changed.

More people came to the Kenya Colony to make their home and a great many of them lived in Nairobi. The once swamp-ridden railroad stop had grown into a capital city, still swamp-ridden in parts, but growing none-the-less. And a lot of those citizens wanted an automobile.

Advertisements in both the newspapers and in The South and East African Year Book and Guide showed that Ford and Hupmobile were popular makes.
The ads were taken from The East African Standard, June 12 and September 4, 1920

NEXT WEEK: More Nairobi Cars – IMPORTING A CAR.

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, is available in hardcover. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH will be released Sept. 1, 2009. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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