Seems like I have failed at this blogging thing. Pity, for a few days I let my flights of fancy take me to a place where I would be raking in the Shillings, my witty and clever social commentary attracting the best of Kenya’s socialites and arty types to my blog. I would be making money writing about the things I love the most: music, food, art, people.
When asked ‘what do you do in Kenya?’ I would say ‘I’m a blogger, food and travel writer’ and I would sound so incredibly cool and hip. Unfortunately I am none of those things, and my career as a blogger seems to be over before it has even started.
The problem is not the lack of stuff the write about. Quite the opposite. In the past few weeks this city has not given me the chance to ever sit back and take a rest. As much as I try to keep up, Nairobi always seems to be going faster, overtaking me and leaving me feeling bewildered, broken and wanting more.
So which have been the highlights from the past weeks/months?
• Sauti Za Busara – I somehow managed to blag myself a press pass and pay a quarter of the price for this gem of a festival. The journey started with a bit of a blip — a very typically Meg Blip– when I turned up to the airport at 6am on a Thursday morning only to be told that my name wasn’t on the list. The story of how this happened is long and boring; all you need to know is that it wasn’t my fault. So there I was, enduring hours of traffic to get back to town, crying to my mum over the phone. Fortunately I have a nice mummy, who, despite being pissed at my usual uselessness, offered to lend me the money to buy a plane ticket. Hurray! So 6 am Friday morning I returned to Kenyatta and boarded a little plane to Zanzibar, my favourite spicy and delicious sleepy little island.
Despite warnings that I would never find a place to sleep without having booked, luck was with me this time and I got the last remaining bed in Manch Guesthouse. 13 dollars a night bought a delicious breakfast and a bed. But the bed had no sheets and I no pyjamas. Using a beach towel to cover myself only really succeeded in making the bed sticky and sandy and didn’t prevent my dorm mates from getting a prime view of my bare pale ass. Not that I cared as I passed out at 6 am every day before re-emerging at 9 to explore the winding streets of Stown Town. During my brief visit I ate enough sea food to satisfy my needs for the coming months, danced till I could dance no more, fell in love with the kora and even more deeply in love with a crazy Ghanaian percussionist. One day we shall meet again and make little dreadlocked babies with an impeccable sense of rhythm.
• Waldemar Bastos- Thanks to my moaning about the hefty (but worth it) ticket price, my dear friend Pedro (charmer, man about town, thrower of big parties) let me work on the desk selling tickets so I could get in for free. Great company, two free beers and Waldemar’s seductive crooning made for a great evening.
• Nile Day Festival at Kuona Trust -Nice vibes, great music by Ricky na Marafiki , The Nile Project and Sarabi. My ass jiggling won me a Ricky na Marafiki CD.
• Chilling with Richard Bona at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival- one of the biggest events I have been too here. With the sun came out the oversized sunnies, floppy hats, trendy shorts and African Prints. I must say everyone was looking fine indeed and the atmosphere was cheerful. God must have made cold beer with days like this in mind. The Kenyan music scene was well represented by talented guitarist, composer and producer Eddie Grey , pianist Aaron Rimbui and Saxophonist Christ Bittok – amongs others. Headliner Richard Bona- the legendary jazz bassist originally form Cameroon- was great and got everyone dancing. After the gig some of his bandmates (one of them plays percussions with Shakira and Enrique Iglesias- how cool is that??) invited us to their fancy hotel Villa Rosa Kempinski for a drink. I felt rather out of place in the glitzy bar, having danced and sweated profusely all day. But I forgot all of that when Gilmar Gomes- the percussionist- brought is a plateful of fancy food to share. That’s when I decided I really liked this guy. That was until Ludwig – the drummer- brought us a plateful of mini desserts and I decided I liked him more. Richard is a cool guy with lots of entertaining stories about my fellow Mafioso countrymen. We also know someone in common—my Ghanian afore mentioned friend once played percussions for him. We spent the night jamming at Black Diamond with Rhythm Junks (Belgium)- who had played at the festival earlier in the day. Made it home after 4 and got up for work at 7… It was a great night.
• Sarabi @ Alliance. Great, as usual
• Accepting a ride from a stranger whilst walking at night on Lower Kabete towards the TEN CITIES party at The MALL, then being offered cocaine by said stranger and his friend with the warning that ‘it’s really not good stuff though’.
• TEN CITIES. Nairobi needs more parties like this. If the correlation between a good party and amount of stuff stolen tells us anything then this was one good party. DJs Afrologic (Lagos), Trust The DJ (Johannesburg), Satelite (Lunda) and Just A Band (Kenya). Turnout was so great that Goethe, the organizers, were forced to shut the doors at 11pm.
• Beating four very competitive men at foosball during an afterwork drinks thing at the Heinken Offices. I started off shyly but after beating the first one I gained confidence and by the end my head could hardly fit in the room- -I was unbeaten foosball champion. One of the men I beat was PREZZO, super famous Kenyan musician and Big Brother Africa star. To be honest I initially thought he looked a bit like an asshole. Sunglasses indoors and big gold chains. But he is actually a lovely and very bright young gentleman, having studied both aviation and business management abroad.
And what have been the not so great things from the past few weeks?