Once upon a time, Nairobi residents saw themselves as the coolest thing since sliced bread. They were the folks who would go to another town and were quickly identified by the locals. It wasn't hard to notice them. They were the ones who would dress the part unlike the locals – the guys would wear their brand new clothes and their hip new shoes. The girls would put on skirts that raised the temperatures of the poor people being visited. They wore hairstyles that you would have spotted on Western TV, and had crop tops that left too much flesh, gasp and tattoos exposed. During their stay, you would hear them complaining bitterly about the low-class service and the lack of basic amenities such as clean toilets.
When the Nairobians went home, they would inundate their fellow Nairobians with images from “shags” or “bundus” on their social media pages. The images would be of pit latrines, oxen pulling ploughs in fields, and any other rural imagery. In the one horse town, you were likely to see images of the taxi that ferries everyone – usually a beat up Peugeot 504 that was bought in the 1980s. These images would include commentary on backward behaviour from that of the world, and how the government needed to do something about it.
It looks like the counties have struck back. This devolution thing has affected the esteem of our great city in ways that are only recently becoming evident. The images that we see from our beloved capital are usually very trauma inducing. News from this city highlights the drainage system hasn't completely failed leaving us wondering where that Noah's Ark set off without you in tow. After all, they want two of every creature on the boat – that must mean two of every family member, no?
Other reports show Nairobians having to drink with stealth – imbibing strong drinks in the bar as one keenly follows reports from social media on where to avoid the 'alcohol police' popularly known as Alcoblow. The other stories here are big on lovers in a clandestine affair being remotely 'locked' by the official husband as they performed the act of love, and having to pay large sums of money to be freed.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country is happening beyond measure. Modern hospitals, bright shiny roads and amazing new developments are the order of the day. Next door, it has quickly become evident that the place to be is Machakos county and its people's park. When you see reports from that part of the country, you see people having fun with families or even with their peers depending on the event or date. The same can be said of the Nakuru and Kisii counties, which have some of the coolest lounges in the country, and people are drinking there as if their lives depend on it. Anyone taking images from these places will return with stories of a very hip place that could possibly embarrass the capital with its plushness.
As the national budget statement – no longer an address nowadays – is read this week, there are things that I would like to see included in future. These proposals involve both the national and county governments. First, more money allocated to the capital so that we the residents of Nairobi can get our swag back, and lord it over the rest of the country like we have over a generation.
Allocations for roads and other infrastructure need to go up because when the next flood comes – which if history is to believed it will return – it will see our beloved city standing on a swamp. Thus, we should have an amazing drainage system – that means we won't have traumatised schoolchildren waiting to get home at 4am the next day. Failure to do this - which is a more likely possibility – then we should invest in state-of-the-art boating equipment so that moving around makes it as simple a task as moving around Venice in a gondola.
As for these stories of 'locked' lovers, then perhaps it's time that we hired the best doctors that money can buy who will allow us to get them when the need arises. If that isn't too hard to find, then the county should budget for a local witchdoctor –preferably from Pemba or Zanzibar – to assist in the East African integration efforts. These doctors would allow not just the stuck lover but those who might be impotent, those seeking promotion and those with desire to win the numerous sports lottery.
Venue review: Nax Vegas Lounge, CBA Centre, Kenyatta Avenue, Nakuru
Many of us from the city of Nairobi have heard about the term “Nax Vegas” for many moons. This term was born because of the time that Nakuru hosts its annual 10-a-side rugby tournament, which has quickly become a go to event in the national sports and social calendar. In that period, folks from around the country flood Nakuru, which quickly take up the Las Vegas model of enjoyment. Mad fun, sometimes in extremes, which is not to be spoken of when one returns to their normal orderly lives on Monday.
This legendary name is the one that has been adopted by a venue on the fourth floor of the CBA Centre on Kenyatta Avenue in that town called the Nax Vegas Lounge. It was a Saturday night when my friends and I took the lift up the venue to sample this favourite in the town. Our friends in wheelchairs will be happy to know they can enjoy the delights of the venue as it has disability access.
We got off the elevator and walked into this place with what looked to be two main areas: an internal and an external area which had a balcony. The place on the inside was packed – it was a popular place thus full. So, we made our way outside to the balcony and the drinks were ordered. My usual Tusker was retailing at Sh200, and it was nice and cold and served by a very friendly waitress.
The décor in here is quite good – it had the modern look that you find in very many of our lounges in our capital. If the pub was situated in some of Nairobi's more plush addresses then it would not be out of place. There were TVs overhead for those who needed to get their European football fix – although now with those leagues over, they will have to make do with watching Gor Mahia crush all comers as they land their third Kenyan Premier League trophy in a row.
The crowd drinking with us looked to be the professionals from both sexes from their mid 20s to their mid 40s. It was distinctly a hip crowd downing imported lagers, whiskey and cocktails.
A quick recap of the venue:
Good: Decent service and décor, clean washrooms, TV for the sports enthusiasts, disability friendly, hip professional crowd.
Bad: Emergency exits not convincing.
My verdict: A great lounge in central place in Nakuru for all of you on the road through the famous Rift Valley town. You won't go wrong with this one.