Nairobi News


BLOG: Nairobi the banter town

There are certain facilities in Nairobi which when you visit, you take home more than you bargained for.

Barber’s shops, and salons, cab drives and speakeasies are such places. You step in here to get that badly-needed grooming, to drive across town or to fondle with your dear bottle, but in the end, you get more than you paid for.

Kenyans are naturally a highly conversational lot, and it doesn’t matter if your fellow raconteur is a stranger. Yet it is vinyozis and cobblers that are notorious for this conduct. They possess an uncanny dexterity at ensnaring one into a banter. They will usually start it off with a very comical utterance, that, however icy your heart is, you can’t resist and you will fall into the trap –and respond.


But from the moment you speak, you set yourself up: you become their prey.

Barber’s shops and salons are places where every discussion under the sun thrives. The erudition of your hairstylist and cabbie in every discourse on the table is of startling proportions.

Politically speaking, the guys will convince you how Barack intends to run for president in 254 once his term at the Oval Office comes to a close early next year. These shots will even tell you just why Trump’s allegations of a planned widespread rigging in November 8 election was actually a ploy to rig the election himself. Some shots believe the election was rigged.

And they are fabulous economic specialists! The guy massaging your head is no easy rookie. Backed by his troop –that sits in the facility for long hours reading a badly hackneyed 2008 Financial Times magazine –he will argue out just how fiscally terrible for the US it was for the Americans to vote in Trump, and that the dollar will now trade at a record Sh50, except don’t put them to task to provide facts and figures. Gee, their ignorance would fill an entire library.

In matters football, these shots are real footie buffs. The geniuses already know the destination of the English Premiership. With a whopping 24 matches to spare. Never mind they had put their money on Man United, City, Arsenal and Chelsea last campaign, and (yes!) lost lifetime fortunes to God-knows-what- gambling platform.


And women. There are no better sexologists in town. These know just how to initiate an enthralling mental image of a million-dollar big O. The cabman knows –as though he were Eros himself –just what prevents you from cruising to Orlando (for the uninitiated, an orgasm) with your partner whenever are exercising your loins.

The trio seated in the table across the floor with two large Guinness bottles and even louder mouths are ruthless umpires of all that goes on around them, and beyond. They are always at the ready, in the suave fashion of Squealer (in Sir Orwell’s Animal Farm epic), to put every matter into its proper perspective.

The tragic irony is their take is perennially lopsided and most pitifully on its head. So just so you know, you will never slap sense into them, for their crania are painfully impervious to such.

When you hear them gab about anything, you will have to sit easy. I mean, don in the heavy and less favourite gear of longsuffering. For sometimes, sitting through the haircut, coiffure or ride will make your delicate stomach almighty queasy, have your gut wring with violence, and BP hit crescendo.

All this, dear mate, is calculated to trigger you to say something. Yet wisdom provides (even the good old book confirms this, doesn’t it?) when you ache most to say a thing, sir, keep your dog of reason tight in leash. Your counsel is remarkable, monsieur. But this could be the onset of your peril.


Once you have allowed a word to escape your lips, these good-for-nothing fellows will let you jabber on and on, apparently to assess your worth, before demonstrating to you just how much folly sits in your head.

Blimey, it would be nothing close to pleasant. Voila!

Next time, be wise enough to let your barber, bartender or cabbie just blabber on. Simply listen. It doesn’t hurt to offer your ears, does it, dear folks?

Should a man be condemned for being unwitting? Doesn’t their drivel turn the ride into a less dreary adventure, the aftershave less burning, blow-dry less stinging? Doesn’t it lessen life’s worries and make it somewhat tolerable? And shouldn’t life just go on?

Pensez y.