Monday, September 14, 2009

A Been-To!

"Good Afternoon sir", "Welcome"
"May I help with your luggage sir"
"thats good now"
"If you may come this way sir",
(opening the back left door of the new Mercedes S class, black leather seats, woody interior finishes et al)
"Welcome sir" (closes the door goes to the drivers seat)
"There is water under the arm rest on the left. you can take a choice of still or sparkling water according to your liking sir. On your left are todays newspapers if you would like to catch up. And right in front of you are some chocos and sweets for your indulgence sir".
"Is the temperature alright? should I adjust it upwards or down? Would you like the radio or the some cool music or should I just turn it off. Do please let me know if am going too fast or too slow ..."

Phew! Well how is that for British hospitality and customer service. But that was what greeted me on my very first trip to Europe the land of many a history (o yea now am an official been-to with unallianable rights to twang and do all that appertains to having visited a first world!)

But I soon learnt that Britain is the most economically stratified society I have been to and there is deliberate discrimination based on your financial status. When I remarked to my hosts on the treatment I was given by the taxi driver, they told me that it depended on how the taxi company was briefed before sending someone to pick me. Had they been told of higher seniority, they would have sent a bigger more luxurious car (more luxurious!!!. Mercs are a dream car in Kenya!)

I actually did see it when I insisted on using the tube once or twice and saw the difference. There was also a train which was higher in class than the tube and of course the train itself had 3 classes. first class for the likes of yours truly (the hosts were hell bent on spoiling me I guess) then standard class and finally the unnamed class for those the society doesn't even care to provide a name to but at least still get transport.

It was nice to see the rural Europe both in Germany and Britain and see how the local folk actually tough it out. But what interested me most was the old Britain with its imperial buildings so full of history. I visited the national gallery and read about those who taught us every little meanness we know today (ok those who colonized us)and kinda understood why its difficult to compare the first economies to ours. Those guys have had eons to make and correct their mistakes. So I have decided to be more lenient to the likes of Ruto who chose to play politics when our people are dying of hunger, thirst and darkness. After all we have been a nation for less than half a century! (excuses lift the soul dont they)

But one funny culture shock for me was the customer service I got from this very beautiful lady who was helping me shop a few gifts for my family. She said she understood the predicament of men when it came to getting reasonable gifts for the wife and kids. She took her time almost a hour walking with me up and down the huge store and showing me options and so on. finally she took me to the cashiers and helped me pack my luggage before seeing me out. I felt 'Kenyan' and told myself she needed to be tipped. Boy! you should have seen the disappointment on her face! she said she was only too happy to help since it was her job.

By the way how on earth do they manage to keep a country that clean!


  1. Odegle,
    They simply manage to keep the country so clean since cleanliness is everyones responsibility. Period.

  2. Od, they employ Kenyan graduates, professors and runways from Kiambu.


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