Once upon a time, I had a deal I needed to seal with a mchinku. It was actually the deal that made me who I am today, but that is not what I want to narrate.
So, mchinku ametoka kwao china and is in nairobi, so we arrange to meet. Venue? I suggested Stanley. I had never been into that hotel,but had always admired the way I see guys drive in hapo kwa entrance, give the car keys to those waiters (ama wanaitwa aje wakuMbwa?) and their car is driven to some parking somewhere then when they get out the same guy brings the car. I wanted to enjoy that. And also “check in” in facebook.
So, mimi huyo nikaweka Jallopy (Fiat Uno, 990cc, KYC 3xx) wangu ngata ya soo mbili, nikateremka like a mboss kutoka Ndenderu mpaka Stanley, nikapea jamaa keys (and explained to him some non-conventional operations needed for the car), nikaingia ndani ya hoteli. He gave me a small card to be stamped when am leaving the hotel. I went and met my guy and we talked business. I have read stories za watu kuachiwa bill, so I never asked for anything since my host wasn’t taking anything and he didnt look bothered by the looks I was giving him whenever a waiter approached. We just talked, and after the meeting (deal sealed), akaenda zake and I approached the waiter to stamp my card. Jamaa anaitwa Michael akaniangalia kama nimetoka Jupiter and told me they only stamp for guys who take something from the hotel, otherwise mimi wanafaa kunilipisha kutumia premises zao for a meeting yet I never asked even for a glass of water. So, I asked the guy what it would take for him to stamp the card akasema in kikuyu, “mundu wa nyumba, gura mai, no magana matano tu”- yaani, mtu wa house, buy water, it is only 500 bob.
Ok, I forgot to mention that after “filling” my Uno with ngata ya 200, I remained with 100 which was mandatory just in case a police officer stops me and notices the dark smoke from the exhaust or the tyres which were as smooth as a baby’s ass. Or even the non-functional non-existent brake lights or missing side mirror (btw, that car did not have side mirrors by design), or any of the other numerous issues. Plus there was also a possibility of the car stalling in the middle of the road without any provocation or warning, and that would set me back some 50 bob for the guys to push me to the side. So, I asked Michael in Greek what is the cheapest thing I can buy. Akacheka akasema basi try buying a soda. It costs 309 bob. I have no idea why it costs 309 and not 310 or 300 or 350. Sema kusigina njegeke. Sema heke kurundi kwa tumbo. Sema karuharo gasheke kutaka kuteremka. The guy must have noticed that am just about to faint there or even die coz he took my card, stamped it and told me to go in peace. I tried giving him the 100, but he told me I need it more than him.
Nowadays, I never even pass in front of that hotel (even when walking). I point at it like a grave.