Just Booze It – Nairobis Madness

Nairobi city. The city where everyone is in a hurry and almost everyone is ever late. It beats purpose to drive a Bugatti on a potholed road or one with traffic right? That’s the case of Betsy in Nairobi traffic madness as TED narrates his encounter.

I was almost dying. I was even thinking of what my will would be like – the hardest part being deciding who I would leave my beloved Betsy with. Betsy for those who are here for the first time is my blue Subaru. She is my baby. My sister Phoebe was definitely not an option. That girl is once told me ‘your car makes too much noise’ – Hah! My brother Manu still had some work to do but he was winning this one.

If you want to try to kill me, there is one efficient way – traffic. Put me in traffic for a couple of hours and I will be toast before you even know it. I am not talking of small-small traffic like that one of Jogoo Road but something like the hell on those tu roundabouts around Nyayo Stadium.

I was driving on Kangundo Road on a Saturday night heading to see my old man’. My guy Billie was with me. Billie Salano and I met back in the day in high school where we were desk mates. He was a mean ass rugby player- best scrum half I have ever seen play- and I was the rugby team ‘doctor’ so we basically became brothers. No one, and I mean absolutely no one cooks better pork than this guy. I have tried his recipe a thousand times, and tasted pork in many places but none is like his. It is as if this guy himself is an ingredient. Even my parents know it.

It usually takes about an hour and a half from my place to theirs’ so I was sure that having left at 7pm, we would be there before the dreaded 9pm. There was to be no traffic – everyone knows there is no traffic on Saturdays. In fact, there is never traffic on this road – It just does not happen. So, when we got there, we could not believe what we were seeing.

This was total chaos. The two-way road was now a seven-way. Everyone was hooting and rowdy trying to create their own way through. I have never seen so many personal cars on the road in Kenya – I am not kidding. The car selling industry must be really nice. I wondered where so many people were coming from on a weekend night seeing that bars were closed. It was so bad that even the police could do nothing. Matatus drivers were behaving like matatu drivers, you know how they are. To make it worse, it was raining.

I felt misery creep into me like a tsunami wave. It was 10pm and we had gained only a couple of meters. Every radio station I switched to made me more miserable. I wished I had a helicopter or a horse. I kept on regretting why I did not go home on Sunday as I usually do. I looked at Billie and the guy was deep asleep, his snoring like a soft purr. How could someone sleep amidst all this?

On the backseat was some house shopping, our backpacks of clothes and two bottles of Jameson – one a gift for my old man and the other to keep us busy. I could not do this anymore – if I did, I was surely going to die. I woke the guy up to get him to take the wheel – Billie and my old man are the two guys who I would completely trust to drive Betsy. I could see that he wanted to complain but didn’t – and that directly put him in contention for Betsy too.

I went to the back seat, opened one Jameson bottle and chugged five huge sips straight. I told Billie to put some reggae on or turn the damn radio off. If I was going to die, I must as well have gone while drunk.

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