Sunday, May 31, 2009

Maddening Thicker Road

it's official, Thika Road has now been designated Thicker Road. And only because it's the only road in Nairobi that can miraculously transform itself from a two lane highway into an 8 lane highway in the same speed it takes a porsche to attain maximum speed 0-100mph in 4 seconds...or something along those lines. I was driving upcountry to Nanyuki to spend a lovely madaraka day weekend. In extremely typical fashion, a guy in a peugot 504 (which have become extremely rare contraptions in this Toyota country) has car problems on the right lane and makes the utterly wise decision to deal with said problems on the spot. To his right, is the road shoulder, not even 3 feet away where he and the other male occupant of the car could have pushed the problematic car. To his left is a long snake of at least 3 semi-trailers heavily laden with goods en route to the North Eastern frontier that have reduced traffic to a snail pace.

In the time it takes to say, what the bloody hell, sixty four matatus have taken the very space that 504 man should have parked his vehicle to form another 4 lanes of traffic to maintain the Soul II Soul mantra of "keep on moving". Needless to say, we came to a complete standstill at the bewitching hour of 1 p.m. A few kilometres ahead, another road block, this time a pedestrian who probably should have been looking right instead of left, lay prostrate on the ground, blood oozing from his mouth and his limbs unnaturally twisted in ignominous death. He had been hit by a Canter whose windscreen was smashed with little else damaged. I said a silent prayer for his family who would be waiting for him to come home that night wondering why he was late.....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Snot filled Handshakes

Went to see a new client today. He walks into the room holding a scrunched up handkerchief, wet with nasal productivity but still full of utility judging by the way he kept wiping his nose as he strode masterfully into the room. I silently cringed, praying feverishly that he would not proffer his hand for the ubiquitous handshake that is so part of civility in this Nairobi. Frankly speaking, if we had to do without this unhygienic social norm I don't think any one of us would be the worse for social wear. Needless to say, my prayer hit the highway to heaven and was answered in remarkable time (memo to self, send thank you note to God) and he bustled into his seat and started off the meeting with nary a physical acknowledgement. At any other time I would have thought it rude, but now i was simply relieved. A loose piece of snot hung precariously out of his left nostril, accidentally stretched into visibility by the mischevious handkerchief. It took every ounce of my positive Chi to look beyond the client's face to the blank wall behind him, avoiding any sliver of his face within my peripheral vision as my eyes were uncontrollably drawn back to the abomination that plagued his otherwise commanding face. This was definitely going to be a loooong meeting.....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Traffic in the City

if you drive a Toyota Vitz, stop reading this right now and put this blog on your blacklist. I hate Vitz drivers. why? every first time driver who's got a pay rise and can therefore afford to take a car loan from a bank defaults to buying a Vitz. so what happens, the person driving at 40 kms per hour on the bloody RIGHT lane of a two lane highway such as Thika Road or Jogoo Road or Mbagathi way is always A VITZ driver.....arghhhh! the person making a U Turn, yes U turn on bloody Ngong road at 5:45 p.m peak driving time is always a VITZ driver, the person who decides to overtake the slow moving lorry and then forgets mid-overtaking that the rest of the cars behind him are also trying to overtake is always a VITZ driver.....need i say more? And let's not forget trying to get into a parking at Nakumatt Prestige and the undecided driver trying to choose which lane to get into therefore blocking 15 cars of traffic behind him or her is always a VITZ driver. To anyone reading this who hasn't bought a first car yet, please do not default to the VITZ contrary to whatever temptations besiege you, fight the urge, purge the amorous desire, press ctrl+alt+del and flush the impure thoughts from your mind.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Peculiarly Kenyan

Michael Joseph didn't realize the quintessential statement he made when he said that Kenyans have peculiar calling habits. He was pretty much massacred by the press, but the statement was immortalized in the Kenyan Quotes Hall of Fame. This blog will be a testimony to the curiously Kenyan habits, smells, tastes and flavours that make this country of ours hilarious at best and annoying at worst.
To begin with, let's look at entering a lift in any building. You stand on the ground floor, waiting for the lift doors to open. Civilization prevails as those around you blankly stare up at the numbers depicting the painstakingly slow descent of the lift. 5, 4, 3....3.....3....3-who the hell is keeping the lift on the 3rd floor for so bloody long??-2, 1...1....1.....arghhhhhh why couldn't that lazy oaf take the stairs one floor down? ahhh finally, ground floor. Lift doors open, all sense of civility vaporizes as the crowd around you pushes and shoves itself into the lift, without waiting for the occupants to empty out. And since you were in the middle of the crowd, you find yourself physically lifted up and into the vestibule, dodging the filthly looks of the visibly irritated occupants trying to extricate themselves out. Oh goodness, somebody left something in the lift, it's a strong distinctly palpable body odour that is almost a living being, an invisible stalker in the corner of the lift that very nearly engulfs you and assaults your nasal passages! Why don't some people use roll on if they know they throw body odour?