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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rongai


Rongai.

Depending on who you ask and when you'll get three different answers to the question of which province in Kenya its is in. It has wide open spaces and trees. Acres and acres of wide open spaces and trees, people with more sensitive noses than møi can immediately tell that the air here is cleaner, the people friendlier, the monkeys more numerous. The predominant colour is brown. The sand sweeps the landscape, sandscape actually. Urbanity has been encroaching on this out-skirt for years now. Universities have found the space it provides an excellent spot for campuses. Its proximity to Karen has drawn the kind of developments that only 1% of Kenya ever sees. Nakummat put up another diamond in its crown there in the form of galleria, a beautiful structure of (not surprisingly) brown. It has pillars, round pillars that put you in the mind of a gallery. And the ultimate symbol of middle-class outposts in Kenya can be found there, a KFC.

The clubs followed the university students. Catholic university's main campus is there, JKUAT has a campus close by, the school of law can be walked to and Multimedia University is also a stone's throw away. These factors make for a very interesting Thursday night outing. And so we made our way there one Thursday months ago. I have a cousin with a room near the main club whose name escapes me right now (the club's not the cousin's)and we had decided to go and sleep at his place after the nights activities exhausted us. The location provided the ultimate mix for a night out. A place to get sufficiently tipsy beforehand, a club with no entrance fee and a gaggle of girls.

After dropping some liquor down our throat and having the kind of conversation at the end of which you can say with confidence, “if that's all that happens tonight I had a good time.” we left for the club. It was amazing. Like the rest of Rongai it was sufficiently spaced out and there were a lot of people there who were sufficiently spaced out too. It wasn't stuffy since there was an outdoor section you could walk to when you wanted air or a smoke. There was an event going on,a smirnoff experience meaning Smirnoff had hired miniskirts to push tots of the drink on unsuspecting men who would have bought much more for much less add to this the unexpected pleasure of bumping into long lost acquaintances. The club night drew to a close and the real night began.

One of my cousins having taken a lesson from the premature Roman withdrawal when they were within Rubicon distance of seizing Britain said we couldn't be this close to Rongai and not make it to the town itself. Life needs duality. Every reckless plan should be balanced out with a quick rebuttal by someone with a square head on their shoulders. The problem with our group was that this man was not there. The idea was patently ridiculous but we approved the invention and got in a matatu for a trip to Rongai town at 2 in the morning. We felt like God was on our shoulders that night. This was informed by the fact that we had run into a truck driver that looked suspiciously like Gaddafi(this was pre-funeral showing.)

well Rongai town was crap. We walked into a club there and ordered a beer each,the maximum amount of time you should give any club to surprise you by awakening is a beer and when we were done we were convinced that we had made a mistake. But that was just the first one.

We tried to get a matatu to take us back towards the hostels where beds were waiting for us but we couldn’t find one. Not having enough for a taxi we contemplated the long walk ahead of us unless an alternative was suggested. Then our host made a suggestion. one that sounded stupid at first glance and the more you studied it the more ridiculous it sounded.

“I know some people who live in a hostel near here we could go crash at their place until morning.”
“what are these guy's names?”
“its two girls.”

Usually that phrase fills me with anticipation and excitement. Its the kind of phrase every man would love to hear at least once every night. Those three words hold opportunities and combinations of opportunities but as soon as I heard them my heart sank. I knew this wouldn't work there was no way in the world two girls would open up their door for three guys at this time of the night and offer them space no matter how persuasive any of us was. So I said OK, call them.

They didn't pick up which is when stupidity went into overdrive. Lets just show up at the door. I wish I could say that the only reason I agreed to this was to mark time until the sun came shouldering its way into the earth but the truth is I wanted to see how this would turn out. I had nothing at risk,nothing at all and we were all a little drunk and a lot tired.

The hostel in question is a building converted into a student’s digs. It has corridors lining the floors of the three storey building, corridors that would soon become my best friend. We called again and were informed that they too had gone out and weren't home and wouldn't be for a little while. Well someone suggested that we could stretch out on the corridors and wait. We were supposed to sit up and wait but my eyes drooped and carried me off to dreamland until the activity of anticipation got me up.

A conversation was going on, a painful,embarrassing conversation with no hope of victory. When it was done there was no surprise on anyone's face when we were told we couldn't get in but we came away from it with a nugget of information. Downstairs there was another room. This one peopled by men. Men our host knew and it was suggested that we go ruin their night. Well as timing happens they were just coming in. We went and witnessed another painful conversation. The problem this time was that those guys had two girls in the correct sense of the word. They hadn't surprised them with requests that only craziness could let anyone agree to.

Well, we turned away again. But now we had mattresses. And blankets. They had been given us as if we were asylum seekers, since we were. We commandeered these supplies and applied them to a floor beneath one of the corridors. We kept at bay the embarrassment with exhaustion and quickly fell asleep. Then the sun was poking our eyelids letting us know that it was time to move on.

I haven't been to that part of Rongai since.