Word of advice friends, if a restaurant plays jazz music or instrumentals, avoid it. At all cost! If the menu is printed on a book, and not posted on the wall, stay away, for your own sake!
27th September, 2018 early morning, after I had snoozed my alarm severally, my phone rang. This time, it was Jane, asking if I was ready for the International Day of Peace event, happening at All saints. Goodness me, I was bewildered, not just because I was running late to the event but because I had forgotten about it altogether. So I quickly washed up, put on any clean clothes I could lay my eyes on without regard to matching colors ( I am an economist not a model) and did everything that men do in the morning, when they are running late. It took me about 10 minutes to be ready(actually it was far much less than that, I am just trying to save face here). I started running towards the KU parking lot, my feet kissing the ground so fast in a romantic gesture Eliud Kipchoge would be proud of. I was not about to let the bus leave me. In high school that was an abomination and it is safe to say the ghosts of high school accompanied me here.
It was not a long ride, but my stomach growled in gnawing hunger. There was no time to make breakfast. I was half-starved, feeling shaky and although I may be as thin as a skeleton I was hungry like a hippo. As soon as we arrived, the first order of business was looking for a gas station; for food. Just adjacent to the All saints Cathedral was a café, Jumia Café, and that sounded like a nice place to refill.
“Hi, how much is tea”, I confidently inquired from the waitress, with some sophistication blended with some fake British accent. These are the times I always try to prove my intellectual sufficiency and mastery of the language. I put on a twisted smile and maintained an eye contact with the waiter you would think I was Jeff Bezos in chicken inn. I was flanked by Jane and Kinoti, who both entrusted me with this task.
“Tea goes for 150 shillings”, she said, smiling like someone who knows me or someone who has my financial records.
“Ati ngapi?” you should have seen my face. This time it was the real me, no refined English, no swag, no masks.
At this moment, my brain summoned the committee in charge of catering and finance and sat them down at the Cerebrum or celleberum or medulla oblongata, or whichever place thinking happens. The committee was so loud, I could literally hear what they were discussing.
At the same time, my brain took a quick scan of KM( a suburb estate near Kenyatta university), how many Chapatis this will buy at Bahamas. I could even hear the loud music from Winners and the loud silence of a congregation of faithfuls feasting on Mutura. I could remember my roommates and I enjoying a big mug( the mabati one) of tea at La Joam in first year for only sh 20 ( with mandazi’s we bought on our way to the café, I miss that courage)
“Hiyo ni plus Escort, kama chapo hivi?”, I tried softening the blow of the price, though with no intention of spending a dime
“No its just for the tea, If you add snacks, its 250 shillings”, at this point I had lost interest with this café and the kindness of the sweet waitress. Economics is all about scarcity, choice and opportunity cost. Surely tea is not that scarce and there were so many alternatives to choose from. I glanced at both Jane and Kinoti, and without uttering a word, we were in an agreement. This place is not for us. Their faces said it all, I could see self-pity in Jane’s eyes. Kinoti had already turned around. We were united for a collective effort.
We proceeded to a kiosk outside the all saints cathedral compound and I felt at home. A soda and two KDFs did the trick for me( N/B: Never try taking yoghurt with KDF, research has concluded it is never a good collabo). I could see a sigh of relief in Jane’s face, while Kinoti just sat quietly, fully focused on his drink deeply reflecting on his new version of a ‘narrow escape’. It was not because we were stingy or broke, we were just protecting our conscience. Chai ya Sh 150 kikombe ndogo, kwani inachemshwa na maziwa ya Dinosaur?
Later in the day, free lunch was served. French fries (or chipo for my KM family), fried chicken and a bottle of soda, with freedom to pursue a retake. This justified our decision and washed away our guilt.