While other blended whiskies are declining, Grant’s continues to go from strength to strength, leapfrogging others to become the world’s number three Scotch whisky. Tripple woods, great taste – A perfect start hit for our roadtrip.
Dante gets irritated whenever I call him a ‘diva’ for eating Ugali with a spoon. I have nothing against people who eat Ugali with spoons, or forks but I just find it weird. Plus Dan is different. Ugali needs to be eaten with your bare hands. It is just one of those basic things. For ugali to even taste like ugali, just eat it with your hands. Dante and I met back in our freshman year at Daystar University. We became friends because of two reasons. One, we were part of the handful few ‘freshers’ living off campus. Having your own house at 17 was such a huge deal back then. Two, I was the first and only person who didn’t call him Daniel. I called him Dante, there were too many Daniels in that place. And I guess if you give someone a nickname that sticks, you have a bond. Writing ‘Dante’ down feels weird so let’s just go with Dan.
Alcohol also bonded us. Joining University gives you freedom and freedom is free and dangerous. In essence, Dan was my first drinking buddy. We drunk vodka and/or whisky, smoked weed together and hit on girls together. Dan is from Nyeri and people from Nyeri don’t play with their booze. Back then we were broke but I had my first job, a writing gig from my boss Mr. Musili and Dan had those HELB loans that no one really uses on their education, so life wasn’t that bad. We could afford the ‘good stuff’ once in a while. Grant’s Whisky being that good stuff.
Years down the line and we are still very good friends. Closer than we were back then and still broke but less broke. January has a way with money. It is just that bully in school that you might get a way to deal with and beat up but they have very mean brothers as back up.
Dan’s aunt lives close to our home in Ruai and she got to know me back then. In all my years, I have known no one to make better food than his aunt. That woman knows her food. Even her ugali tastes different. So when Dan told me he was going there for a family lunch, I invited myself. She calls me ‘kijana yangu’ which means I am family, doesn’t it? We boarded a matatu to go to Ruai for her January lunch. You don’t drive to Ruai when it has rained. The mud there is mad. There’s too much madness. See what I did there? What, I had missed this statement. It hadn’t rained but the clouds in Ruai were not joking around. We might as well blame it on global warming.
There are different types of travelers. Different passengers. The ones who fiddle with the music system in a car and never seem to settle on what to listen to. My sister is one of these irritating types. There are the talkers, who never shut up. They can be really interesting or boring to death. It entirely depends on the stories. Talkers are dangerous, trust me. You can hit someone on the road or hit them and then hit someone or something on the road. Then we have the sleepers. Sleepers can be a gem for drivers like me. People who like to listen to good music while eyes on the road. Sleepers can also be sleepy, and really boring. Well there are types of drivers, but the driver drives. That’s just that. Being used to drive, I have never have known which passenger I am. I had always guessed I am more of a well-rounded passenger. I sit and just travel.
The yellow and blue mini buses to Ruai are quite alright. Fairly comfortable with no music, none. It had been years since I had boarded these matatus to home. Apart from the one lady eating groundnuts which made salivate, everything was fairly fine. If someone had even suggested that I am a sleeping type of passenger, I would have rolled my eyes and secretly clicked my tongue to death. We hadn’t even hit Jogoo Road and there I was having the dream of my life. Now don’t confuse me for those lads who drool and snore in a matatu. I just close my eyes, period.
I was dreaming of creams, cakes and a glass of whisky in Paris when someone suddenly began shouting. I tried to stay shut my eyes and go back to Paris but the guy introduced the Gospel of Mark. These matatus provide a nice platform for sleeping but they also provide a dais for pastors. Now I have nothing against the word of God but can we please have it in church. Try not to interrupt people’s trips to Paris. He was preaching of how drunkards need to reform this New Year. I was in such a bad mood that I wanted to scream in French. Then I looked all round for earphones in my pockets only to find keys to Betsy. The man of God ‘preached’ for the whole one and a half hours to Ruai. Once in a while he glanced an eye to see if I was dosing off. Then he asked us to bless and support the work of God. I didn’t give him any money, Dan did. If you have ever slept in a matatu you understand why.
We got there and found two bottles of Grant’s Whisky; one open and being shared among Dan’s uncles. It didn’t even rain on that day.