April 30, 2011

10 days later

I was thinking of how long its been since I blogged. It felt like a lifetime. See, since coming back to Kenya, I have been having 15 hour days and none of those hours have been free enough to slot in a post. Apparently, its only been 10 days since  I last posted.

It's Saturday, the first free day I've had. Okay, maybe 2nd. Last Saturday, I went to Lake Naivasha for fishing. After 3 hours,  I did catch some fish...



...from another boat that happened to be passing ours. I threw my line to the other boat, instead of bait, I had soemthing better attached to the hook.

 in Kenya Shillings though.

Half of the loot is still sitting in a freezer. Already marinated. One of these fine weekends, a fish barbecue is in the works.

Yesterday night I hang out with Random Carole. She is in town for work. Our date started in Casablanca. All there seems to be is lonely looking old white men smoking their sheeshas. I wonder where all the high class commercial sex workers are tonight. The population of Casablanca on a given weekend is the reverse. Not that I needed to, but I just checked Wikipedia's definition of a CSW. A sex worker is a person who works in the sex industry. Sex Industry. I wonder, whenI am filling in forms, and I have to select industry, I go for Media or Arts or Film if they have that. What industry do they select? I don't recall seeing sex industry listed.

They have no tapas. We are not hungry for entrees. So we leave.

Caribana is our next destination, where after wrestling down drunk motorist, we finally find parking. Only to walk in and discover that the whole of Nairobi had the same grand idea. Go there! I say something like how easy it would be to bomb Nairobians on a Friday night, predictable lot there are. Carole adds that there is an Al Shabab bomb scare tonight. Hint? It's going to be a crowded place. I say lets go hang out in her room. They wouldn't bother coming there. She says the pub is not crowded in Al Shabab standards. Note to self: Ask her how she knows their preferred numbers. The 'not crowded for terrorists' Caribana has no empty seats. 2 walk throughs confirm confirm that. We drive out of there.

Alfajiri is our next stop. As we drive in, we notice the may empty parking spots. And how quiet it is. We reason that unless Citizen TV across the road is using Alfajiri's parking lot, we should check it out before we turn around. We get out of the car and voila, there is music. Music means life. Life means food. Again, comfortable seats (even remove our shoes and put them up). We want a meat platter. Waiter disappears for 15 mins. Comes back with this sheepish look. There is no platter because the only meat they have is chicken. So lets have the charbroiled chicken, we say. They can only stew the chicken, without the stew, he says. It's definitely not our night to eat, Carole and I think. How can they have run out of food on Friday night? Waiter doesn't know. We have a round  of drinks and drive back to her hotel. Sit in the parking lot gossiping  (do you call it that when you are taking about yourselves?) for hours. We are now very hungry. Last resort. Kenchic. We know they have food. We find food, our lips love it, our hips shake in disgust. Deep fried food at 1 am. We never learn!

I drop her back and  go home. A few hours later, head over to Westlands to rescue a friend who his date has disappeared. He had very high hopes of getting laid. Now he is in a pub all alone. They had a drink, it looked promising- despite the fact that she kept hm waiting for almost 1 hour. He says she was hot, hence worth waiting. Except she starts flirting with every man. They move to another pub, there she leaves him and goes back to the other pub. So I go out there and dance. I have always been the sober one in pubs. Today though, I look at the people and actually see how out of this world they are. Some drunk stranger girl is falling over my pal. He holds her up, she coils herself around him. Her friends tell him ' Can you take her home because we are leaving?'  I ask him which home they mean. His? He has no idea either  I suggest she can replace the one that got away. He laughs, says he is not that high. The girl can hardly stand up. You can hardly stand up. perfect match, I say.

We leave that pub and go to another one. There he meets a girl he knows. Lets call her D. Perfect, he might just get laid tonight. We talk about the girl who left him. Lets call her Bee (she does hop around, but Bee suits as her real name is a something that insect produces.) Reminds me, be careful what you name your child. Everyone on the table knows her. Every man has her number. Every man has wanted to take her home. She just left with another one. They compare notes. Men are weird creatures. They still think she is hot, and so want her. Really??

My pal looks like he is sorted. I meet some girls who we discuss business with. At 4 am, outside a pub in Westlands. Small world, one of the girls went to Chapman University in OC. I have some developing business with their film school. So we talk about that. When my pal gets his face locked up in D's face, I leave.

It's 5 am.

Hello bed.



April 20, 2011

Karibu Kenya

...and have been since Saturday night. I have a rant about Dubai ( where I spent 4 hours), but that is for another post.

So I land at JKIA, go through customs very quickly because I am not  'carrying any gifts, or did not buy anything new in the USA' ( yeah right!)...and I am hoping to see my friend and her husband waiting. They are not... I see a tall white guy who looks like my friends' hubby's brother, I walk towards him and he looks at me funny. Thankfully, I had not been wearing that, 'so glad to see you smile..'

I crisscross the meeting area, accosted by taxi drivers who surreptitiously try to get me to use their cabs. Finally, I am convinced they forgot to pick me, or they looked at my itinerary wrong. They moved house immediately I left the country, and have no idea what part of the new estate they live in.

I figure that I have a phone  that I can out a SIM card in and call them. So I walk to the nearest Safaricom shop and ask for a SIM card. It's KES 200. Now, I know that inflation is high in Kenya, but not high to an extent that a SIM card that used to go for KES 20-50 is now KES 200. Apparently that is how much they cost if you buy at the airport. Poor foreigners!

I have no option but to buy this SIM Card. So i get my phone out and alas, it died somewhere between the last time I used it in Canada and 7 months later here in Kenya. So I have to buy a phone. I ask for cheapest phone they have. They show me.  It's a cheap Nokia that I know I have bought for  clients who are in Kenya for a short while. They go for about KES 1,500. The suckers at the airport  wanted KES. 3,500. I only had KES2,000 in shillings and was not about to exchange money at the airport. The upside to getting back to Kenya right now is I get more shillings for my dollars...and I planned to get the best rate possible.

I walk to the nearest ATM - Barclays. I put in my Barclays ATM card, it tells me I have negative. Since i rarely put money in that account, they have been using the little balance I had to pay for ledger fees. Then when the bank went to zero, they started charging me for having a -ve balance. I try out my KCB card. On the screen it says ' Select One Option Below.' There is only one option available - Return Card. Not good.

As I prepare to walk back to the Safaricom shop and tell them I cannot afford the phone and can she lend me hers to make the call ( Then I can refund her airtime, no?), my pal's hubby shows up.

Long story why he is late... but we get home. I cannot sleep.. my body thinks its midday but its midnight here. The following morning, I off to Kibera to check up on our film school kids (okay, most of them are 5 years or less younger than me, but they do feel like our kids). I am there till midnight!

I decide to buy them dinner. Ati fries are KES 100.  Nothing says welcome home than having to decide whether to feed your 'kids' or to fuel your car.

April 15, 2011

Close Your Eyes

I am packing for Kenya. 

It's my last night in Los Angeles, last night in my bed, last night with Nate

You'd think I would not be typing this...but I have so much to do, thought the best break would be this post.
I pride myself in having advanced my music taste over the ears, but what I cannot get rid of is the lyric to all these boybands songs I learnt at 13. I think I have posted this song somewhere on one of my blogs, the night before I traveled.

It's my sweet taboo boyband, Westlife. ( There, I said it I still love Westlife)


Tomorrow morning I have to leave
But wherever I may be
Best believe I'm thinking of you
I can't believe how much I love

All we have is here tonight
We don't want to waste this time
Give me something to remember
Baby put your lips on mine

And I'll love you forever
Anytime that we find ourselves apart

Just close your eyes
And you'll be here with me
Just look to your heart
And that's where I'll be
If you just close your eyes
Till your drifting away
You'll never be too far from me
If you close your eyes

I know I'm gonna see you again
But promise me that you won't forget
Cause as long as you remember
A part of us will be together
So even when you're fast asleep
Look for me inside your dreams
Keep believing in what we're sharing
And even when I'm not there to tell you

I'll, I'll love you forever
Anytime that I can't be where you are

[Chorus]

Is there anywhere that far?
Anytime you're feeling low
Is there anywhere that love cannot reach?
Oh no
It could be anywhere on earth
It could be anywhere I'll be
Oh baby if you want to see

Just close your eyes
And you'll be here with me
Look to your heart
That's where I'll be
Just close your eyes
Till your drifting away
You'll never be too far from me

April 09, 2011

Really?

Was shopping around the Net. Either I am damn cheap and do not understand fashion, or there is something wrong with these listings!


How much do you think this dress is worth?

 Real cost: $795.00 USD. About Ksh. 63,000. I can get this from a tailor in Kenyatta Market in Nairobi for less than $10! It's just tie n' dye material!

Real cost: $895.00 USD. About Ksh. 71,000. Even I, who could not even complete an apron sewing class in high school can make this ugly thing!

This one?

 Real price? $815. About 65,000. Even I can cut half of my sweater and combine it with half of my dress!

Another one...


Real price $1,000. About 80,000. Ino ni Ndwui? (what the heck is that?). Hata kama niyakufua nguo, sitaki!

This?

 Real price? $1,000. About Kshs. 80,000. Bet you I can buy black bedsheet  and make it look like that!


More?

Real price $1,200. About Kshs. 96,000. That is how Nate's shirts look on me when I sleep in them.

And this one?

Real price? $2,327. About Kshs. 187,000.  What exactly I'm i paying that much for? Definitely not for the time it took to make it!

What about this one?


Real Price $4,900. About Ksh.392,000. For a dress that looks like my grandmothers curtains! It better last forever and massage me as I move. Heck, it better be able to take instructions!

April 05, 2011

I love that song. It's a sad song, but very true. At one point in life, you will find yourself alone. A loved one will leave (not necessarily for good, but they will be away) or they will die.

I am at the airport again, naturally. This time from Indianapolis to Charlotte to Los Angeles. I am sitting at the boarding area waiting as the flight is delayed. They have free WIFI, on a condition that you fill in a survey and sign up for their offers. They think they now have my email address...so they gave me access. What they don't know is I created a yahoo email address just for junk. Whenever I have to sign up for some useless shit, I give that address. Never checked it in about 3 years now. Clever, huh?

So, anyway, I set my bags down and get ready for my favourite airport activity- watching people. I don't have to look far. Next to me is a woman in her late twenties. Or not. I can never tell Caucasians age but I can tell she is not over 35. She is on phone, talking softly. Not too softly though. Airport seats are designed to make you be in contact with the person next to you. Maybe some sort of bonding idea, which never works as no one talks to anyone. She is sobbing too.  She says something like ' You know I never meant to hurt you.' Now I am paying attention. She then says something like ' I realized I wasn't ready and I know I said I loved you, and I still do, but I don't know why I feel I am not ready' She is apologizing for embarrassing the person on the other side of the phone. I am now fiddling with my email on Entourage, pretending to be typing furiously. I am actually typing what she is saying...the bits I can catch.

I get from her conversation that her wedding was on Saturday. (She says 'the past 2 days have been hell for me'). It's Tuesday. She did not show up, left her man standing on the altar. She says 'I have known all those years that I wanted to marry you...' and I can tell they have been dating a long time. Her voice is cracking, she is distraught. She says she 'has been thinking about all this' and she has decided to get out of town. She says she cannot tell him where she is going as she wants to be alone and think. I can tell the question from the other side is ' why are you telling me' as her answer is 'I did not want you to worry, I just listened to all your voicemails. This must be the first time they are talking since then, I guess.

This makes me thinking about that Gilbert O'Sullivan song, Alone Again, naturally. That is what the jilted man is. And I hope that he is taking it better than the man in that song.

The rest of the conversation is her apologizing over and over again, telling him he has all the right to be angry at her, etc. You can tell the conversation has moved from him listening to her excuses to  calling her selfish from her defensive talk.

It's time to board and she has told him so. She has said goodbye and I have to get up too and board. Will leave you with the lyrics to the song :

In a little while from now,
If I'm not feeling any less sour
I promised myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower,
And climbing to the top,
Will throw myself off
In an effort to make it clear to who
Ever what it's like when your shattered
Left standing in the lurch, at a church
Where people 're saying,
"My God that's tough, she stood him up!
No point in us remaining.
May as well go home."
As I did on my own,
Alone again, naturally

To think that only yesterday,
I was cheerful, bright and gay,
Looking forward to, but who wouldn't do,
The role I was about to play
But as if to knock me down,
Reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch,
Cut me into little pieces
Leaving me to doubt,
All about God and His mercy
For if He really does exist
Why did He desert me
In my hour of need?
I truly am indeed,
Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that
There are more hearts
Broken in the world
That can't be mended
Left unattended
What do we do? What do we do?

(instrumental break)

Now looking back over the years,
And what ever else that appears
I remember I cried when my father died
Never wishing to have cried the tears
And at sixty-five years old,
My mother, God rest her soul,
Couldn't understand, why the only man
She had ever loved had been taken
Leaving her to start with a heart
So badly broken
Despite encouragement from me
No words were ever spoken
And when she passed away
I cried and cried all day
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally




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