Celebrating East African Writing!

Nairobi by Night : Boniface Gachugu

He looked at her adoringly.

“How did you do that?” Peter asked.

“In the normal way it is done, in the back of your car.”

“Are you crazy?”

“Not sure.”

“My car a changing room….?”

“Mobile dressing unit.” Irene corrected.

They kissed and giggled like teenagers. It felt the most care-free un-congested moment in their lives. The glittering night highlighted their feeling of dis-engagement to the real world.

Finally, they drove off into the busy Nairobi night streets.

It was an end month Saturday towards 9pm.The city night life was just about waking up with its usual pulse, thrill and throttle. An army of fast foot-slogging humanity was in mass exodus to unknown destinations, combing up and down the streets in amazing speed and thoroughness. Some were in quite a hurry, walking with brisk steps, while others were lurching lazily.

A noisy, disorganized battalion of public vehicles, Matatu were weaving, hopping and whizzing up and down the street in maddening haste. A crew of whistling and yelling touts was making the confusion more avid with their calls, announcements and demands. Together with the usual competition of the most loudest blaring train-like honks, blasting music and revving engines, the whole situation was a throaty noisy nearly free-for-all pandemonium.

Hawkers had lined themselves beside the streets and most alleys, armed with all kinds of materials, utensils, clothes, foodstuffs, weapons, toys, equipments, umbrellas, tools, jewellery and accessories. They too had their kind of noise and demands.

By 9.30pm most family-minded folks would have reached their homes or were on board vehicles. The city was thus left out for the normal end-month night patrons, cocktail binges and usual night gigs, night-out parties, the casual mixture of call girls, night-crawlers, night-runners, night-revelers, night-club hoppers and night patrollers.

All had started swimming into and within the streets towards different directions. In a short period of time, the city would thus be roaming with qualified and unqualified merry and misery makers.

Bathed in flashing big red, green and yellow neon lights, flood and coloured street lights, moving vehicle headlight beams and twinkling club lights, the streets were a dreamy razzmatazz as opposed to the hot congested, stuffy streets at daytime.

Discothèques, upstairs night clubs and dancehall joints were just about picking up with pop, rock, afro-jazz, soul, bongo, bangra, kapuka, genge, benga, mugithi and salsa beats could be heard sifting throw the streets from several venues blinking with disco lights.

Across the street, a large flashing neon light was making strange abstract patterns on the shiny sides of vehicles drifting by.

In the streets beside the clubs, night-time hawkers were right at it, selling the kind of merchandise for the kind of consumers at that time, night revelers that were milling near the clubs in eager anticipation.

Every other make of chewing gum, all types of cigarettes, sweets, sex stimulants, condoms, pornographic books, sexy glossy magazines, adult-only video, audio tapes and VCDs, miraa, discreetly sold cannabis, luminous sexy underpants and whatever stuff were lining up the streets in all shades of seductions.
Backstreets and dark allies were alive with festering thieves, slob druggists, bloody frightful fights, occasional quickie-sex or stray mangy cats digging into over-filled garbage bins.

As time passes by, more night crawlers emerged with their kind of style. Young, snobby, showy groups with shiny bling bling at different points of their bodies, clustered near certain entertainment joints, some already drunk and out to cause chaos, fracas and fights. Most ear-studded, baggy-dressed men marched into vicinity with scarcely-clad girls with extremely glossed lips, dangling earrings, endless booted legs, and tops that started too late and ended too early. Most folks were in pairs, male and female; some already in scarcely camouflaged elaborate romantic stints and stolen moments.

The rest of the joints were patrolled by middle-aged working class lot. Yonder, two girls dressed to kill nudged each other leaning on a street pole. Their bountiful breasts were almost bursting out of half-piece push-up bras while their sitting gadgets were covered by bandana sized micro minis.

Every time a vehicle slowed or a lone man ogled lingeringly at them, they would giggle, lift an arm and make a tart-like fore finger call sign or suggestively lift one leg so that the man would see a bit of their brightly coloured underpants.

Most folks arriving in the vicinity near the clubs were in pairs. Those single lingered around and were quickly paired up. This was surely a fast-paced thrilling, treacherous and dangerous night city.
Speed that thrills and kills!

This is the heartland of Nairobi City, end month Saturday 10pm and beyond; take it or leave it!


2 comments on “Nairobi by Night : Boniface Gachugu

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    July 17, 2012

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  2. muike
    August 2, 2014

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