We did not get any pictures today. It was travelling day. Logistics at Eye Queue offices took half the day. The other half was spent driving down to Amboseli. We are not worried about not getting shots today because (1) Osborne is rather confident with his work so far (2) everyone needed some time off to catch their breath (3) we will be working overtime; the Capture Kenya challenge ends on Saturday, but Team Osborne will be working on Sunday.
The drive to the land of the maasai is rather uneventful. Except for that one moment when I was listening to Jessie J sing to me how Nobody’s Perfect. Karanja had lent me these headphones that sounded like home theatre. So I was in the moment, feeling the music, shaking my head, picturing Jessie J giving me a personal performance in our Kisumu house. I am imagining how I would let her take my breath away, but I would not let her go without asking why in Mahoya’s name she does that to her hair.
Then I open my eyes to tell Osborne that Jessie J is the shit, only to find Karanja, Osborne and Fortune pointing at me with their cameras and giggling. Johnny is checking me out with his sun glasses using the rear view mirror, heaving his kitambi up and down in laughter. This black jaruo goon is losing his marbles.
Osborne does the noble thing and posts it on WhatsApp for the entire Capture Kenya team to see. How thoughtful.
The drive to Amboseli is bland. Maybe someone coming in from the cold lands would be excited about very dry lands, maasai men herding cattle whose hooves make dust rise, the Kilimanjaro and the general lifelessness of the browned trees at its foot. But not me. It is just the same way it was in Garissa. I wonder what they look at with those binoculars, zooming in and out in this attempt to try and see their backyards in Houston.
The road is narrow, which is fine, because the road to heaven is also narrow. Once in a while dust eases into our van, chokes everyone and then settles on our apple. Fortune would of course hand me and apple and wet wipes.
“Just wipe the apple with the wet wipes. I mean, if the antiseptic is good for a baby’s ass, then it is good for you.”
Osborne sleeps. You should see the way he sleeps. It is not the way most people doze off. People like Karanja. When Karanja dozes off, his head suddenly becomes too heavy, swaying back and forth with the wind, left and right as if measuring a piece of land. His mouth open like the doors of Brew during Sunday evening happy hour.
Osborne is stoic when dozing off. He just sits there on his seat, a can of Lucozade in hand and the on the other his iPhone. He dozes off when chatting mostly. He must have such boring friends. Those Nigerian girls asking for friendship first, then your email address and then half of your bank account are never loyal. Also their faces can make you pass out, so I don’t blame Osborne.
He does not even sway when he dozes off. He sits there, defiant of the rough road to Kilima Safari Camp, beats of sweat glistening on his face when the sun takes a glance at them. He looks like the Jomo Kenyatta Statue that stands guard in front of the building named after him.
When he wakes up, he starts looking for something embarrassing I would do, something he would picture and send to those Nigerian girls.
The van stops in front of a wooden gate written Kilima Safaris Camp. It is one of the Mada group of hotels. Johnny had insisted that this is the place to be.
The watchman come up to him, looks into the van and then with disappointment and surprise dripping from his face, he turns to Johnny;
“Hawa ndio wageni? Are these the guests?”
“Hapana, nimeleta wapishi. Lakini huyo jamaa mweusi hapo nyuma na earphones ni wa kufurahisha wazungu. Angalia hiyo meno.”
Kwani what kinds of guests are allowed into Mada Hotels? I would later know the answer to this question during dinner when we were the only black people being served. The rest of them were watchmen standing guard, cooks serving food, waiters taking orders and maasai men launching themselves into the air for the odieros’ entertainment.
As we eat, ushamba rears its head. I ask Osborne the rooms have two beds. One that looks like the main one, and the other a small one. I tell him that the showers are a huge lie. They have this option for ‘Fine Spray’ and ‘Massage spray’. I had turned the knob for massage spray and hoped for relaxation. Nothing. There is no difference.
That massage option is a lie. Even Hotel Ndallas and its free wireless was a more believable lie. Perhaps I am the one to blame for my disappointment, because in my head when I saw ‘Massage’, I imagined it would feel like a pair of Ethiopian strippers rubbing my back. It just felt like water hitting my back.
“Also, Osborne, have you been to the washroom?”
“I am a little confused. There is the toilet which is normal, and then there is this other thing. It looks like a tiny bath tub for infants. But it is in the toilet, not the bathroom. What am I supposed to do with it? Wash my feet before I take a shit? Are the toilets holy grounds?”
“No. It is for akina Fortune”
“So it is for producers only? Who told them we are sharing rooms?”
“Hapana. It is for girls.”
“What for? They can’t piss on the toilet?”
He gets really shy. His face reddens. And there is nothing more hilarious than seeing a man the size of Osborne feeling shy about giving details. But to be fair, it is over dinner. So we should only be making polite conversation.
“It’s called bidet. Just Google it.”
There are two things I have not done that are somewhat embarrassing to say; I have never been on a plane and I have never seen an elephant. Tomorrow, one of those items is being stricken off.
Now to find out how this bidet thing works. Kwani monde gi bido ga ang’o?
[Photo Credit; Osborne Macharia]