You know that feeling that you get when something that you knew would happen but somehow had not absorbed finally happens?
That’s where I’m right now. Its goodbye old life and hello continental Europe.
But I have this thing where I’m a coward when it comes to saying goodbye. I’ve sneaked away from people on several occasions. I hate the finality. And the tears and ill advised confessions of shit that you should just have kept to yourself.
I had to woman up and tell my friends.
We decided to go to Naivasha as a farewell trip. The idea was to go to Mombasa, but since I had been burning through cash like Hilton’s blind daughter, that was out of the question. Consider the 16hour round bus trip and suddenly the Rift Valley was looking alot more enticing.
I love Naivasha. The drive down is beautiful. Kijabe’s tree plantation, (the right sequence of hand signals can get you some highgrade bursting with freshness…) the Rift’s dramatic landscape, it all makes me glad to be away from the city. And best of all, it is only an hour away from Nairobi.
Naivasha is many things to many people. Exclusive golf at the Great Rift Valley Lodge. The Lake Naivasha Yatch Club with its dinosaur KC crowd and uppity Nairobians. Naivasha Sopo’s overbearing gilt, embroidered toilet paper and cuisine that’s trying too hard. Hell’s gate and Crater Lake. Binge drinking disguised as camping at Fisherman’s and Crayfish camps.
…Not on our budget.
For us, Naivasha is the home of Nyama Tayari, hookers and hustlers, cheap beer in underground clubs with ‘animal feed’ rubber stamps, and crashing in dingy bar & lodging outfits with outside bathrooms. It’s breakfasting in one chef cafes that make surprisingly good omelets. It’s a place you can light a cigarette while walking on the main street, because you really don’t care.
In Naivasha, you must ignore the mountains of rubbish to enjoy an ‘expensive’ beer at the Happy Valley Bar. Where, when you climb a minibus, you ignore the fact that you are squeezed cheek to cheek with the multitudes and their burlap sacs.
Its a three street town that can be mastered in a few minutes, and when a sewage pipe bursts, you wade in human excrement until someone rouses themselves long enough to solve the problem.
It’s where budget tourism means going to the lake and taking ‘snaps’ for a hundred bob. Haggling with beach boy hustlers and strong arm business men for boat rides and park fees. If nature calls, better hide behind the bushes, because, why would anyone have the preposterous idea of building toilets at a public beach?
It’s a place where ornithologists converge convulse in delight when they see the African fish eagle and the malachite Kingfisher (yeah, the one on that horrible strawberry wine shit that knocks you out). And all the other pretty birds who’s names you will forget by the time you have your first beer that evening, which is really all you wanted to do all day long.
Not a bad place to say goodbye to your best friends, I guess.