Culture, French, Kenya, Life, Love, Prose, Travel

Odysseys, junkets and business trips: woes and pleasures


I try hard not to smile but I'm happy..clap along...no? ppshhhh
I try hard not to smile but I’m happy..clap along…no? ppshhhh

Ever had an idea hit you and actually makes you wonder how dumb you must have been minutes before it occurred? No? Happens to me every 6 months as I look back on my life. And I laugh at how smart I thought I was then. This is what recently happened when I realized that I have never written of my travels despite having visited a couple of countries. I am not yet the “Up in the Air” type but still I have been to India. Yes I like mentioning that because in my planned travels as I grew up, that was never in the plans. I have passed through some really hot (and not in the beautiful kinda hot way though they are) places like Qatar and the UAE. I left my jaw at the Ethiopian airport. I wonder how the Ethiopian men maintain their sanity with that much beauty floating around them. No wonder they are always doing long distance running. One has to get a way to get rid of the dhaaaasttt you know. 😉 And I have been to countries where my French versatility really came as a great help. But never have I ever been at a loss like I am where I am now. To be surrounded by people whose only knowledge of English are the words yes and no. Not really their fault. I should have learnt Portuguese. But for now I have to contend with loads of sign language and “Portuguese-lised French”.

My woes started as soon as we landed, it was funny at first but then it became very annoying. We landed in the middle of the airport. About 2 kilometres from the actual airport. (I am not sure about the distance, I have said before on this blog how messed up I am at estimating distances). You see the thing is, we had come in the huge Boeing 777-300ER and the Luanda airport could not accommodate it till some planes moved. So we had to stay right smack in the middle of the runway and wait. But tell that to the travelling group of about 40 Chinese guys. No. They stood up and started getting their luggage and heading to the exits. This was despite the explicit instructions from the pilot to stay seated. The flight attendants had to get each one of them back to their seats but 10 minutes later they were up again and at the doors. I laughed my heart out to the chagrin of the cabin crew who were very annoyed by now. I kept wondering why they were in a hurry to get off the plane. Was Angola moving and I didn’t know? I am rarely in a hurry when I have no control of the factors influencing time.

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We finally made it into the airport and we got to queue as usual at the passport control/immigration. I have never really cared which is which. I had 10 of the Chinese clique ahead of me, fast talking in Mandarin, (I think) while carrying bags so big they looked like they were KDF in training. I try not to judge or be prejudicial based on race, tribes etc. But something happened that had me chewing on my spectacles (yes, I still say that instead of glasses) to avoid spilling the bile that built up in me. I had more venom on my tongue than a cobra that has its flute hypnotist playing the “Toklezea” tune. You see as we got in, they were checking for Yellow Fever cards before ushering you to passport control. Many of the Chinese guys did not have theirs or had put them way too deep in their big bags. (Yes, that happens to someone with so many fanny packs, they look like they have the Batman utility belt. 🙂 ) Anyway, most of them were behind the 150 t0 200 or so other passengers. Soon some of them started coming and checking with the 10 ahead of us (you know language barrier and all, yes I thought I had it bad till you see a Mandarin vs Portuguese conversation). I don’t know how it happened, neither do the other passengers as no one complained. But 15 minutes later, all the 40 Chinese guys were ahead of us. SAY WHAAAT??!! That single moment almost made me hate a whole race. But I am a pretty rational person so I simmered it down when I remembered just 4 years ago I had a really huge crush on one of their ladies. 🙂

 

That aside, for the first two days here, I had to drink juice yet I really wanted water at the hotel. You all know “Water thirst” is unquenchable any other way. Poor me. Only one receptionist speaks English and he works during the day when I’m off to work. Finally my Wi-Fi worked and I Googled the word. I felt silly. Again wondering how stupid I was 2 days ago. Aqua would easily become agua. SMH. But that was not to be the end of my woes, coming from the office very late at night one day meant, I had to take a motorbike as the actual taxis are very expensive, like a 100 dollar expensive and they offer no receipts. This would mean reconciliation wars back in Kenya so I opted for the cheaper 200 Kwanza option. A friend from work negotiated the price and told the driver/rider the hotel name then he left. So 5 minutes later, we are cruising on a highway, no helmets on and me holding the motorbike carrier so hard I almost pull off the mesh. My Kenyan man genes can’t allow me to put my hands around a man’s waist. I’d rather die (almost quite literally as that is what would have happened if we hit a pothole or bump). But I was more worried about the guy not having gotten the right hotel name and then I would have ended up disappearing in Angola and working in a diamond and oil mine to save enough money to get back to Kenya. Of course my family would want me back but I guess the more interesting search party would be Sanaa Book Club running tags like #BringBackTheMane #KeepTheBandit on Twitter. This might seem like a joke but it almost happened in Vadodara, India. Having been to more urban provinces like New Delhi and Bangalore. I ended up wandering past the “English literacy” zone. So I was stranded outside a market, jewellery, sun glasses, saris in a paper bag trying to explain to 5 tuk tuk guys where my hotel was. Never felt tears sting the eyes so much but I couldn’t cry. They finally flowed from relief later at the hotel as I hurriedly packed for a flight that was at 1 AM if I remember well. I had got back to the hotel at 11 PM having cleared at the market by 7 PM.

Is this what Anto Neo Soul is singing about?? lol.. Sari sari sari sari...
Is this what Anto Neo Soul is singing about?? lol.. Sari sari sari sari…
I got late being a celeb. They thought I was from the States. :)
I got late being a celeb. They thought I was from the States. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They tell you that certain gestures are vulgar in certain cultures. No one told me about English words (I thought they all meant the same everywhere) and so surprise…..surprise when everyone looked at me shocked and in disbelief when I asked about the clubbing scene. So apparently, a club in Luanda is a brothel or are brothel like. And not chips funga brothel-like. Like naked or 1/16th dressed people kinda brothel. House parties are the norm here for most young people. I am yet to confirm this. Nairobi men would thrive in this kind of environment. That is unless the below happens but I hear that is rare here. 🙂

Phone yake imeenda mteja... lmao
Phone yake imeenda mteja… lmao

 

One thing I have learnt from travelling is that home is not just where the heart is. No. Whenever I travel I miss my country so much and I’m nostalgic to the point that the “Bonoko” audio file I have on my phone provides solace. Home is where I’m understood.Home is where my jokes are laughed at. Home is where my family is. Home is where my best and oldest friends are. Home is where I love with a fierceness that scares even me. With the corruption, the lies, the blood, the tears, the potholes, the afandes. I love my home. Blood will flow for the moment but we shall be peaceful again. Home is in my prayers.  Home is where I love so many people even those I don’t tell, those I can’t tell, those I won’t tell. Home is Kenya. Home is 4 days away. 😀

And now for some shots of the worldly me. 🙂

 

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MVP…. 😛
Brrrrrrr.......
Brrrrrrr…….

 

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It’s like I fell in a Vaseline bucket… 😦
Awesome team...worldly..
Awesome team…worldly..
The gym does not know timezones..
The gym does not know timezones..

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Never felt like such a pimp...hehehe
Never felt like such a pimp…hehehe
Deep and overstood, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, The Teenage Years

OF SO CALLED LIFE


Shakespeare compared life to a stage,

Yet by deep thinking it’s like a page,

A blank it is before you are born,

Then comes the moment that you put on life’s gown,

Though you hold the pen and decide what to write,

The Almighty God fills your pen with ink,

The past is always full of things you did not do right,

But leave it as it is for you used indelible ink.

 

Think of the present and write the best you can,

Use the best handwriting till your life is done,

Work hard so as to brighten your book,

Let it be attractive to those who look,

There is always the entry of another person,

That person adds another handwriting,

It might seem cumbersome to have one page to write on,

But hold on for what is between you is binding.

 

The future always appears unexpected,

It’s not once that you find it dented,

It’s as if somebody decided to crumple your page,

Everywhere you turn you find a thorny hedge,

Take life slowly for every hedge has a rose,

Life sometimes stinks but you can always hold your nose,

Better a dull life on this ground,

Than fiery fire instead of a crown.

Crush, Life, Love, The Teenage Years

IN THE SINKING MOATS (This is the first poem I wrote at age 14 in 2002 A.D)


Don’t tell me I’m late

For this little plea

Much I’ve attempted

No way could I dispel it.

I didn’t compel it

But like a thunderbolt,

It struck me.

What am I supposed to do?

Cry; I do feel like but “No”.

Give it up?

Then I won’t be as they say.

A man of substance


Yes I did try.

But ‘twas locked in my heart.

None can tear it asunder.

To evict the love I have.

I set myself on a plinth.

Unmovable I am going to be.


They say love don’t cost a thing.

It may be a platitude.

But in all forms of etiquette,

Mine may cost something.

Then like a soaring lofty cloud

Fill my realm of fantasy

And still my heart won’t rest.

Deep and overstood, Life, Love

HEARTS FOR DESSERT


He paused for breath. He had been running for so long. He could only hear the slow almost non-existent wind in the barren wasteland.

“Why did he choose to run towards the wrong exit?”

Immediately the first shot was fired. He knew it had been a set up. There had been another sniper on the opposite rooftop. They had paid him all that money just to get him out in the open.  He tried to lick his lips but his tongue felt like sandpaper on tanned leather. He checked for his side pistol. At least he had managed to scramble out with that.

This day was working towards rivaling his worst days on the job before. It had been off since early morning as he left the house. He almost forgot his silencer. And then his backpack strap came off just as he boarded the cab. The cling and clatter of the black metal had to be hurriedly explained to the cabbie as plumbing tools. His blue overall sold the story. But now standing under the scorching sun, he cursed his outfit of the day. (#OOTD) A sly smile cracked his already parched mouth as he remembered how he figured out the meaning by himself the first time he saw it on the cursed Instagram. The same app they had used to point out the target.

Some hungry looking birds flew overhead becoming one with the dimming horizon. Not even as much a Tweet but just observing how exhausted his Face Looked. They were flying lower and lower.  And slowly they invaded His Space.

*****

He had been working in this profession for 7 years now. He had started at 20. The first job was to clean up after another assassin and he almost got shot in the process. Two years later he had his longest assignment yet. He had to learn all about the target before the primary assassin was sent in. He studied her faithfully, followed every movement. He had his heart and soul all in only to find out at the end of the second year that he was the chosen one to shatter her heart into bits.

He had grown fond of the target. Two years of following her as she went by her daily activities had established a connection. It was no wonder the bullet went through her arm without causing any permanent damage. He had missed his first major target.

He ran away. He feared that his employers would come for his head. In spite of this, they still managed to get a hold of him via his contacts. He was relieved to find out that the target was too important and only he had the information on how to track her.  He was safe to come out into the dark world again and continue with the job.

She had gone underground after the attempt on her life. It did not take long for him to find her though skilled as he was. Getting her out in the open was the hard feat to achieve. She was cautious and paranoid. She had learnt her lesson and no one was going to convince her otherwise. It was finally life in the shadows that gave him a helping hand. Bored of hiding and dropping her caution once, she brought her head out for some air and sun.He was ready this time. He was there with his scope aimed at her heart. As he pulled the trigger, a tear streamed down his cheek and landed on his feet just as she hit the ground.

**

He had become the man to his peers. He had brought down the most evasive target ever. He would however never be proud of this first kill. He had got too sucked into the assassin to target (ATT) relationship. He decided he would ask for information from others from now on and just be the trigger man.

One month later, he had his next assignment. He had all the information. He was ready. All his equipment was well packed. He had long suspected that the target had recognized him once at the bar. It seemed he had been sent to kill a retired fixer. So he decided to investigate. She was not so retired after all. She still had all her old files including his; and “protection” hidden in a compartment in her dresser. Now he was sure she knew who he was. With this new information update he decided he would hit her that night. He waited in the dark living room when it was time for her to come home. He could hear her keys jingling at the door. Just then, his pager beeped and he saw the luminous words: “OPERATION TERMINATED”. He felt a tinge of annoyance as he slunk back in the shadows and leaped off the fire exit. For once, a target he was ready for was the one who was cancelled.

*****

Now here he was. After years of successful work. He was now at the top of the food, hood and loot chain. He had finally accepted another job that required him to do the full reconnaissance. This would be for a shorter period of only a year so he was prepared and he had experience before not to fall for the target. However, he had barely finished up with his recon when the order to off the target came in. That is how he ended up perched atop the tower like a gargoyle doing his walk of shame. Waiting for the target. The devil was in the air though. He could smell her, feel her, taste her. And just as her car pulled up, a moth flapped his wings by his right eye and as he moved his head to the left, a bullet whizzed past his right ear…

Soon-after the night became lit up by gunfire from about three submachine guns aimed at him. Oh dear Hell! There was more than one person sent to take him out. Maybe it was because of that old target of his. The one he missed then broke both of them with a single shot. This was no time for mind journeys though. He had no choice but to drop his belongings and run. By now they would have his prints. The Law was already after him. He was spent and thirsty. His career as well as his life would be done now.

*****

He looked up, it was growing dark again. He heard the baying of dogs coming closer. He pulled out his hand gun. The night was serene and the moon was bright that night. He took in the divine scenery. He cocked his gun as he heard shouting getting closer. He looked down from the sand dune. They were too many. There was an army of about 20 men and 10 dogs looking for him.Whether it was the cops or his old mates turned foes he couldn’t tell. Was there ever really a difference though? He had had cops facilitate his data gathering on targets before.

He closed his eyes. He remembered how he had nonchalantly etched her name onto all his bullets out of boredom. She would be the last thing on his mind, he thought as he put the gun to his temple. As his finger tugged on what he already knew was a hair-trigger, he reminisced about what he had always known. He would die a bandit.

Kenya

It’s been a long time…


It’s been a long time since I played barefoot.
Kicked a ball around without a care in the world.
Now I know that I care more than a hoot.
In my elusive search for that pot of gold.
It’s been a long time since I drank government milk.
And shrieked the words of the loyalty pledge.
It’s been a long time since I hang out with my ilk.
And slowly hoisted the flag over a rolling wedge.
It’s been a long time since I shaded in an exam.
Or let someone anger me with a corporal hit.
It’s been a long time since I read “The Animal Farm”.
Or worn red, black, green and white in one outfit.
It’s been a long time since I dragged a metallic suitcase.
Or joined a club to avoid community work.
It’s been a long time since I’ve worn this face.
Or stopped to admire the wheels at the car park.
It’s been a long time since I really saved my credit.
Or had a phone book of less than a hundred.
It’s been a long time since I was fully fit.
And looked at the elevator with such dread.
It’s been a long time since I was in a play.
Or recited French verses that I didn’t understand.
It’s been a long time since I attended a party during the day.
Or got time to write a song for my old band.
It’s been a long time since I held the “javelin” while traveling.
Or got my pelvic bone re-adjusted through public means.
It’s been a long time since I started writing.
And now with this pen I bring you the scenes.

For in that long time I have been hungry.
No more milk but camps and the cold rain.
I have stood in waterlogged cells growing weary.
And all my senses numbed by the never-ending pain.
I have seen and smelled the charred remains of my father.
And watched my uncle shot in public.
The vampires have bayed for the blood of my brother.
While the Treasury hid all the garlic.
My grandfather acts like he lost his mind.
As he reminisces the scalp and braids pulled from his wife’s head.
The sands of time just keep sinking in the tide.
As the whips and batons almost leave my pastor dead.
In that long time I have gathered knowledge.
And slowly turned it into wisdom.
In that long time I have given up revenge.
And let constructive thoughts occupy my boredom.
That’s why in that long time, I have chosen between multiple parties.
And severally amended the constitution.
In that long time I’ve respected other people’s deities.
And not regarded their belief as confusion.
In that long time I’ve learnt of the word promulgate.
Yet I still wonder why they couldn’t just say legislate.
In that long time I have seen an unlikely union.
Just to bring an end to the bloodshed.
In that long time, the people have risen from the canyon.
And decided a new law to finally wed.
In that long time my eyes have been opened.
And the staircase to heaven I can finally see.
In that long time I won’t have to be told what happened.
Because in a long time it will all be me.

Deep and overstood, Life, Love

Lost…….for words


She said I’m afraid that you are not.
Afraid of the pain this life brings.
I told her I was too, just in a manly way.
And the smile on my face didn’t tell it all.
I told her of all the battles I have fought.
The pain I got from all detached strings.
Told her things I thought I’d never say.
While brushing dirt off my knees, because I did fall.
I told her I liked her a lot.
Evading the words that gave my heart wings.
Held her hand, kissed her eyebrow, a single step everyday.
Pressing the receive button to her heart’s call

She says what we’ve got is magical.
I say what we have is heavenly.
Her smile always leaves laughter lines on my face.
And she gently kisses each one of them.
Could this be eternal?
She gives the answer, “definitely.”
Is that what I heard? Because I was in a daze.
My eyes never left hers since the time she came.
I take my shoes off so our lips are on the same level.
Her eyes closed, lips pouting, her heart beating, peacefully.
Holding her face I emerge from the haze.
Our lives entwined, our breath becomes the same.

I say what we will share will be unique.
Free and devoid of any simpleness.
Each step of our lives marking a love promise.
Each kiss marking a new step in our life.
We will be two of one in our love clique.
Enjoy the bond defining our singleness.
Truthfully march through each compromise.
Spread this feeling like butter with a knife.
Raise each other when we feel weak.
Hold each other in loving kindness.
Spend time together like we are Siamese.
Finally prove my love, make you my wife.