Wednesday, August 29, 2007

road trips

It was two weeks ago that i had to take the dreaded road trip to the west of the country. that part of the country which is both the grain basket and thorn in the flesh for kenya. well to be political the grain comes from the northern west and the thorn has always come from the southern west. the trip was necessary even though the roads are presently lunar landscape. i had to deliver a van to a client in k-city. I was clever so i took the narok detour,going all the way to narok, then kisii, oyugis, ahero and finaly kisumu.

The journey was smooth until mai mahiu, then branching to the ODM infested areas of narok all the way was as rough as can be. i met very many tourist vans coming from the mara. they were being driven at very high speed in spite of the rough terrain. i wonder why we cant sort out even a road to a seven wonder of the world. anyway from narok all the way to kisii is smooth sailing. the road is so good you can go to sleep. and its closed to heavy trucks and buses are very few and far between, secondly you can see more than a kilometer ahead given the open fields.

I stoped at bomet for a quick bite. i quickly located a hotel called Western Comfort. a 24 hour travelers cafe according to the sign. went in and ordered the days special. the days special wasn't ready. ok then, roasted chicken and chips, not ready, ok rice and vegie stew, not ready! what then is ready? tea. ok bring tea and mandazi. mandazi was displayed on the counter boss utangonja tu dakika kama kumi ndio chai iive! so much for the 24 hour economy of bomet.

Kisii was a cool town, rather sleepy but green and comfy.

on reaching oyugis i was rudely awaken by the change of populace. on the road side i could see the real life models! beautiful people with the coveted figure eight that i see my oblong colleagues struggling to achieve in the gymn back in Nai. only difference was the packaging. i couldn't help but imagine my office neighbor's new hairstyle on the lady on the left or our managers new skirt suite on the one ahead of me. but even oyugis beauty did not deter me and soon i was riding high speed to kisumu once more. no major incidence till the city of the lake. the van was in a state so i decided i would wash it first then deliver it next day. i went ahead to the hotel to rest. the following day i was at lwangni beach at about 11am. This beach is a one stop shop and you can get mostly anything. to wash the whole van in the great lake, i was charged only 100 bob (thats in and out!) the van is driven right into the water, i thought for a moment it would drown. and boy there were plenty of activities for those waiting for their vehicles to be washed. among them was swimming in the murky water, or taking a camel ride. or even a boat ride. the boat were actually the old wood canoes that had been fitted with a juakali engine. the boat was obviously leaking since there was a small boy constantly scooping the water with a tin and pouring it back to the lake. a 200 metre circle in the lake cost just about 10 bob. even though people were being fitted with life jackets and there were many enthusiastic families waiting their turn,(langni beach is a great spot for family rendez vous over the weekend) i decided, i was not that kind of swimmer and simply watched the excited faces. but its not only humans who frequent the beach, even harders brought their cattle to browse and drink water.

well then you can also enjoy what this beach is best known for. the makeshift kiosks where fish is sold the same way goat meat is sold at olepolos. when you walk in, you are taken to the 'karai' where all the fish are. you then point at the one which whets your appetite most after that you sit and wait for it to be deep fried. when it comes, it actually ambushes you. a large helping of fish, steaming and covered in your favorite local vegetable, and kachumbari is thrust right in front of you with an equal generous potion of ugali. the aroma itself is enough to drown you in your own saliva. ok lwangni hotel is not where you bring your everyday chips-and-sausage-eating sweetheart. here you bring someone who wants to eat and eat hard! but i saw many expensive looking people all over. even big SUVs with red plates and white occupants kept on driving in and out. its simply an experience

by the time the fish disappears from your tray (they actually serve you on a tray. its a very big fish) the van is ready for your collection it has been wiped so well you feel like coming here everyday. only that you work in Nairobi.

well then i delivered the vehicle with neither ceremony nor funfair and headed to the airport to take a flight (i promised myself that i would not use that road on the way back. in any case there were no vacancies in the buses) the Kisumu airport was packed like a normal bus stop and even though there were security checks, it was only being done on those who were traveling. otherwise to buy a ticket you just pass the security without much questioning. but there were no tickets for flight that evening. not in any of the airlines, KQ, jet link, east African or even 540. i only managed to get one for the following day.

as long as the west remains in opposition, the country's leadership remains myopic and paranoid, the roads will remain the same and the airlines will laugh all the way to the bank! buy KQ shares pronto.

but one thing you get in Kisumu that i have never been able to get anywhere else is the warmth, the respect for guests and the richness of culture!


  1. Odegle you mean you can not bring some fish with you? even a photographic one? Aii...yawa!

    anyway, i like the way you bring in KQ shares at the end. moral of the story, ehh?

  2. Great to see you back... now I see why you had not posted in a while..

    You were on safari!!!

    So about those girls in Oyugis...

  3. Talking of Kisumu airport, there used to be this old newspaper Vendor who always played games on customers. If you give him a big note, he almost always never had change and when your flight was due, he automatically kept change! Is the guy still there?

  4. Yes, that fish, mboga and ugali at the kiosks at Langni beach is like no other! One can just sit at their ease, eating fish and watching the lake with its denizens. The ambience is great, especially in the evening when the setting sun colors the lake so beautifully. My cousin took us there and it took 3 of us to finish one big ngege! and the kids who came by asking for the bones!


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