Crisis is currently the true Nairobi experience. Those who read newspapers, watch TV news or listen to radio in this part of the world are schooled in the art of being at a perpetual panic mode.
If it isn’t their leaders shooting at or slapping one another or getting themselves kidnapped, it is SMSes going around warning them wherever of impending attacks, should they be in cars, malls or other public places. In days gone by, the options to deal with a stressful life were twofold; religion and alcohol.
Sadly nowadays, religion isn’t that much of a refuge as churches are not as safe as before as prosperity gospel has taken hold of most churches.
Then there is alcohol which is another story. Those with money and can drink out at their favourite joint have to watch out for alcoblow. There is also the threat of “locals” being shut down.
Then those in the lower income bracket have to be on the look out that their drinks haven’t been branded with amazing names like “Yokozuna” and “Countryman” , as that might just be the last drink they either drink or see. So where is the relief? Kenya’s latest crisis may just have the solution.
With the country suffering from cancellations by our traditional tourist markets in Western Europe and North America, we have been forced to rethink our strategy for getting tourists.
There has been a groundswell of emotion from Kenyans, led by the government, with an encouragement to go see the country and tell everyone about it.
This campaign goes by the imaginative name, “Tembea Kenya” or #TembeaKenya on social media networks.
There is one fatal flaw with the #TembeaKenya campaign though. The tourism industry is designed with the sensibilities and needs of the European and American tourists in mind.
Thus the communication emphasis is on the amazing flora and fauna available here that you can’t find anywhere else. While this may be a valid point, for many of us, once you have seen one elephant or lion you have seen them all. A typical Nairobi resident would be going around parks and on seeing the animals, begins to wonder what they would taste like when “nyamachomwad”. Not ideal really. The authorities can design a tourist circuit that we the residents of Nairobi would be very happy to visit. Here are my suggestions;
a) Site of the first roadside declaration
In Kenya, every new leader comes into office promising the end to roadside declarations and then they proceed to break this vow within weeks in office. The most famous of Kenya’s roadside declarations has to have been by former President Moi when he appointed late Prof George Saitoti as Vice President while buying roasted maize on his way to Nairobi from Nakuru in the 1990s.
This decision was what framed the “Roadside Declaration” as we know it and you can be sure that many will want to go to this spot in future.
b) The site that world famous doctor shot a matatu man
World famous doctor Arthur Obel hit the limelight when he worked on treatments for the HIV virus in the late 1990s. In the new millennium, he burst back into the limelight when a matatu driver who had been blocking him urged him to drive his car over the matatu. Obel lost his temper and shot the driver.You had better believe that a shrine to this incident will see many, matatu driver and personal car drivers, pay good money to see this madness enacted in film or theatre.
c) The legislator battle tour
Kenya’s true celebrities are their politicians and their shortcomings. What better ways for Kenyans celebs to see them at their best and worst than a tour showing them in their true light. This would include the Caribea where shots were fired recently, Parliament where late Embakasi MP David Mwenje bit the ear of former MP and current Senator Otieno Kajwang, the plot where former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu threw stones and assaulted a perceived enemy and many more.
Club Hypnotica, Krishna Plaza, Westlands
The plan was to watch the big UEFA champions league final on Saturday in Westlands. I opted for this club that was recommended to me by a colleague called Club Hypnotica on the fourth floor of Krishna Plaza, before watching the match.
I got off the lift and saw a table at the front for those who felt the need to smoke shisha. I had to walk through some friendly black suited security men with the metal detector; you can never be too sure in Nairobi these days.
On entering the venue, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a little sound-proof room with black as its main colour. I quickly sat by the counter where a professional and pleasant waitress offered me my favourite poison; a cold Tusker lager at Sh250.
As you can imagine, the cold beer was my favourite but the price not so much. To cushion the blow, she also offered me a bowl of crisps to chew on as I drunk my beer, which I really appreciated.
Across from the entrance there were some patrons sitting in a raised area that had really comfortable seating, which they considered the VIP.
There was also a DJ booth with a DJ spinning some music for those who might want to party. The DJ played some of the best songs I have heard in a while; this is one of those places where one will not wake up with a headache
Between the counter where I was seated and the raised VIP across the room, were the seats I have come to resent in bars in this town. Both the tables and seats are raised and I suspect is to ensure that they cash in the little space accorded by the management.
Around the tables are long bar stools popularly known as “Sinatabu” which don’t allow for leaning back for comfortable seating. When paying a premium for drinks it’s not too much ask for a comfortable seat with a back I can lean on surely?
It was still early before the big match, but passing by the club later that night, I noted that the crowd here was pretty much the older one; late twenties and above with a distinct leaning for the female population.
A quick recap of the venue
Good: World class décor, good service, clean washrooms, disability friendly, shisha fans are sorted.
Bad: Very small, emergency exits not clearly marked.