I hadn’t seen my friend Jamie for a long time, so we decided to meet at Java for some coffee catch-up. But he was having car problems and needed to take his Subaru to the mechanic’s, so instead decided to meet there.
Right next to the mechanic’s is a nyamchom joint in Kiambu juxtaposed to let guys waiting on their vehicles have an excuse to have a sip at 12noon on a Saturday. The place was already packed, with guys drunk from the night before getting over their hangovers.
We sat under a makuti table with a castle lager banner running across our table and a loud obnoxious sozzled man seated next to us for entertainment. My outfit was a little too sophisticated for a local joint. I had on a short flowered over-the-shoulder dress with a flowing kimono to match. Jeans and a t-shirt are your go-to wear at the local. But I had dressed to go to Java, not to a bar smack in the middle of the day. That explained the numerous stares I got from the men eyes me in their various stages of drunken stupors.
So we order some beer. You can’t be in a local and sijui drink Sprite. Regardless of what time of day it is, you’ll have to take a drink. Unless of course you don’t partake in alcohol, in which case you shouldn’t be at a bar in the first place. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Our table soon filled up with Jamie’s buddies and their girlfriends and everyone else’s neighbor. The more the merrier, when it comes to such places. One guy, buffed like a Rugby player, was the first to buy a boti of Johnnie Walker Black. I’ll never understand Kenyan men and their obsession with Johnnie Walker.
Then another guy chafuas with a Cîroc. Then before you know it, there’s beer flowing and Tusker Ciders for the chics. The conversation going on is light and fun. This one guy starts telling us of how his chic walked in on him with another girl in bed at his buddie’s house. We laugh hysterically. He concluded by saying that he was glad that they weren’t caught in the act but rather they were just chilling on the bed. The girlfriend couldn’t really make a case out of that cos she wasn’t sure if he was lying or not.
The guys were obviously high-fiving him but the chics were not so amused. Can you imagine walking into your man with another girl in bed? I don’t care if ya’ll are eating croissants or you’re helping her paint her toenails. The only girl with access to your bed should be a nurse treating you to health after the number I would do to your face and other body parts.
The nyamchom guy’s arrival with smoking hot and tantalizing nyamachoma on a wooden board made us all forget about the girl-walk-in scenario. Alcohol has a way of making you crave for fatty stuff. And some nyamchom with ugali and chilly kachumbari is the best, maybe only, way to get over such a craving.
Yaani that food was delicious to the core. We were 6 of us, and had ordered 5kgs of meat. Best believe the whole thing was over and done with within a matter of minutes. When it’s kachumbari time, it’s common courtesy to give homage to your food. The only words that one is allowed to matter are the ‘mmmhhs’ and ‘aaahhs’ from how good the meat is. Everything else is a non-issue. Plus if you’re always talking when the squad is busy raruaing nyama from a rib-to-rib, trust and believe there’ll be none left for you.
That having been said, I remember we got there a few minutes past noon and left at 9pm. How 9 hours flew by in a span of seconds, no one can recall. All that’s important was that the drinks were flowing and the food in plenty.
There were the obvious men who send a drink over to your table by the waitress as their way of saying hi to you, and the notable women who dress provocatively to gain attention. If you make eye contact with the guy buying you drinks, that’s your go-ahead that you’d want him to get your number. If you don’t, then he gets the point.
Oh, there’s also Gabby, the waitress who looks after your phone as it charges. God bless Gabby. She takes care of our gadgets and makes sure they’re safe on our behalf. It’s easy to lose an iPhone at such joints, so you’ll always end up over-tipping Gabby. She never asks for one, but will graciously accept your tip with a smile and grateful hands.
Your local is the post-party after a party, the base you go to when you’re too drunk to go home yet, but it’s a few minutes from your house, meaning the car will just know its way home. It’s also the pre-party base before the party, the place you opt to go to just to have a drink, up until you end up bumping into a colleague whose meeting another chic or so, and the crew becomes big enough to go out with.
Usually the next stop is XS Millionaires or Kiza, where you join other derailers and get so wasted that you’ll have to drive back home to calm yourself from a heavy night. But right before you go home, you’ll have to pass by the local to have the last one for the road before calling it a night.
And the cycle continues…