It’s raining and the roads are inevitably trafficked. Jackson Biko finds the solution to sitting idly on the road…. Or so he thinks.
This has got nothing to do with burgers. Sorry. But there is rain, which recently started coming down when I was on Ngong Road. By the time I was getting into Ring Road, the whole of Nairobi had clogged the roads with all manner of cars, sitting there, going nowhere. I look ahead, at that dreadful junction of Argwings Kodhek and Ring Road, where Yaya Center stands? I see a gridlock and I tell myself, “ Biko, do you want to spend the rest of your life in that jam?” Side note: sometimes I speak to myself. Especially in the car when it’s raining. I say stuff like, “Biko, do you think Jesus would have bought those bananas from that man hawking by the roadside, because they look like really healthy bananas?” Or sometimes I say, “Biko, do you know all you had to do is say you are not having another whisky and save the money you just spent, now you will be short 3K and with a headache. Essentially you have bought a headache for 5K. Is this how you want to live your life going forward? A father of two?”
So yes, I speak to myself in the car. It centers me. And it’s not crazy. It can’t be crazy if nobody hears me speak, can it? But now that I have confessed it here, it might sound crazy but it’s still not because you haven’t heard me speak alone. I can easily deny it.
Anyway, where was I? Yes, I say, “ Biko, do you want to spend the rest of your life in that jam?” And I shake my head and say, “No, sir.” (Sometimes I also call myself “sir”, especially when I’m wearing the swanky leather brown shoes of mine). So what would Jesus have done? He would have driven into EastLand Hotel on Ring Road, to kill time as the jam dies. And that’s what I did. Eastland hotel is a Chinese hotel, yes, but it’s not a Chinese Hotel if you know what I mean. Why do I say this? (Gosh I sound like my dad), because they want everybody to know that they are not only for Chinese people even though they have those Chinese artworks and decorations adorning their walls. They want you to know that the Chinese people are friendly people who build hotels where other people are invited. Oh, and nobody will force you to eat anything stir fried.
There is a bar there, some sort of a terrace bar, right next to the casino. Yes, there is a casino too if you want to gamble while it rains. I ignore the food menu which is continental (surprise!) and order a single Glenlivet 12 year old which I hear is being dephased and replaced by Glenlivet Founders Reserve which is a fantastic drink. I long discovered the source of happiness is to always order in singles, that way you will always feel you are drinking too much when you order more.
It comes down hard. The rain, that is. There are people having an evening drink, mostly business people because they have suits and it is a Thursday evening. I drink my singles, make friends with a waitress whose name I can’t recall (sorry, honey) and eventually look at their menu and contemplate ordering a burger. When I get back to the car, I tell myself, “Sir, Biko, you did the right thing, I don’t think Jesus would have ordered a burger and a whisky.”
When I swing out into Ring road and look up, there is still a gridlock at the Yaya Center junction. Oh, thanks a lot, Jesus!