The good government, for the past not-so-few days has managed to whip up the countrymen and women as well as bigots who have a foot on the fence; into a domestic tourism frenzy. There is nothing wrong with this and it has all good intentions plastered on the side some crawling in to the microscopic level that is vanity central. Twitter. It all sounds colourful and bound to instigate some sense of pride and patriotism to anyone who for some moment ignores the underlying issues. I don’t.
A certain friend of mine is in huge trouble for watching one too many ‘twende tujivinjari’ commercials and taking them literally. Wonderful animation while we are on the subject and a wrong choice of score if anything from the original song is to go by. Scenes of bestiality with that fat hippo aren’t cute.
He is a proud owner of this Volkswagen GT which is powerful but has a tendency of guzzling too much fuel and breaking down from time to time. He decided to swap it for a jeep to walk the talk of magical Kenya albeit for a few days. A choice which can be admired by a patriot of your calibre. Before then he had paid several uncountable visits to the only place outside of Nairobi which is like most places in Nairobi. Ole-polos, the nyama choma heaven which Nairobians usually mistake for a wildlife park. Rightfully so, that amount of Nyam chom can only be available in a wildlife park for anybody who hasn’t been to any. Many Nairobians haven’t. The KWS ad was a wake up call. His ignorance slumber of his own country had been disturbed. He was not going to take this lying down. He decided to test the waters from the deep end and promptly signed up for bungee jumping somewhere past Thika. As if driving there with the guidance of Irish whiskey isn’t a danger enough. Rumour is that if you are caught you will be stripped naked, placed in a freezer and your bank accounts raided to pay for the fine of stupidity and blatant ignorance. He soldiered on.
The bungee jumping was uneventful, as it has been for the thousands of others which happened all over the earth prior to that one. It had a feeling of anticlimax. He got dizzy and disoriented. I was disappointed that the elastic bungee rope did not give in to the forces that be, gravity and wishes. Snapped in half and let him hurtle downwards like a speeding bullet. I gave up my chance and went back to my drink. Karma isn’t trustworthy and could just decide to get back to me by having such an inspired thought. He had tasted the thrill and was not about to back down. The whole of Kenya had just opened up before him. He looked like a newborn baby who has discovered the only thing standing between him and fulfilment is a flimsy cloth.
Lets backtrack a bit, the major reason why our wrong government is calling upon the poor citizens to start saving for holidays is that Uncle Sam and the ilk withdrew en-masse from the Kenyan coast. Several spirited attacks from the thin, ugly, illiterate but surprisingly persistent militias from Somalia left us dazed. Tourists don’t want to stick in an area where different sorts of explosives go off randomly blowing up stuff to kingdom come. They left. Hotels closed. Kenyans were left broke and jobless. The government took this on stride, called U.K, U.S, France, Australia even N.A.TO bleeding cowards and told them that they had nothing on China who are set to become our premier tourism trade partners. The only slight problem is that the Chinese are not interested in watching wildlife. Which we have in plenty. They have more important uses like dietary supplements’, decorations and medicine. All their uses leave the animals dead. Still, it’s a risk our government has already taken. This worries many patriotic Kenyans, but not my friend. He decided he was just going to replace our departed tourists in a very odd way.
He took a road trip to Garissa. Why Garissa? You may ask. I don’t know either. Garissa as far as Kenyans are concerned is that frontier town holed up in part of Kenya which should be owned by Somalia. This view is also held by some high ranking government officials who are allergic to knowledge. He packed up and set off dragging his sweet Nairobi girlfriend with him. Nairobi girls are a special breed. They are averse to hardships, whether natural or artificial like this one. That is root of his troubles. She had acquired exclusive knowledge from her friends and ‘The Nation’ to some extend that the lonely road stretching from somewhere past Juja up to Garissa is full of bandits. The vomit of the society who will spill your guts while you painfully watch and if you are not dead already feed them to you. All that for some few bottles of water. Apart from these psychopaths there was Al-Hijra and Al-Shabaab who are the authority on this no-man’s land. They are more lenient in that they will set invisible landmines to blow your car to smithereens. Alternatively, they can practice marksmanship with the top of your head. You will not even notice you are about to die before you already are. Her knowledge dictated that the only safe way to drive there is to use Uhuru’s RCV Survivor. Since this was not available, they should have dropped that idea long time ago.
He chose to ignore the highly informed views and hurtled off to coast via Garissa on a Jeep. There have been a few surprises along the road more so for the girlfriend who hasn’t met any sick bandits yet. Still her heart floats close to the mouth and she has been having persistent stomach rumbles. They encountered another breed of bandits in the name of Kenyan Police, luck was on their side as they both look like they originate from the innermost part of Bwindi Impenetrable forest and en-route to kenya immersed on coal mines for a good measure. There was no doubt that they were Kenyans of non-somali/arabic origin. Not in any way fit for Kasarani Concentration Camp. Their jeep was ransacked though and they parted with a few thousand shillings. That particular standard procedure has happened several times in the course of their journey.
Garissa was extremely hot. In his own words ”I think I have been a little misled by the magical kenya P.R assault, this heat is depressing and I think I am growing an extra layer of above my epidermis to act as a heat shield. I was under the impression that the whole of Kenya is a magical narnia which improves my sex life as the bonus. This heat is killing me.” He spend several hours on this hazy, dreamy town where you get the feeling of touching the heat physically and they sped off towards Malindi with gloomy faces.
The all-weather road in between has not been kind to them as well as the heat and humidity which seems to multiply by the minute. He is stuck somewhere in Garsen dreaming of the sandy beaches in Malindi. Did I say the girlfriend took a bus back to Nairobi at Garissa?