Namanga from a BMW

When you’re in a convoy of BMW’s from the classic 19th century ones to the more modern 21st century models you feel invincible. You put on your sunglasses and look out the window hoping that by chance you happen on that ex that thought you would never amount to anything.  You want to scream “Look at me now.” *Cues Chris Brown* The next best feeling would be sitting at a reserved table on the rooftop of Best Western surrounded by models. The long legged slender dainty creatures that are draped in everything from body con designer wear to peacock feathers and dare devilish make up. The kind that ooze elegance and sip bourbon without as much as a crease on their silky dark skinned faces. The kind that are in a whatsapp group with Lupita and share fashion tips swapping pictures from a Paris shoot. The kind that has a manager named Pablo and a gay photographer called Fernando. The kind that name Mariah Carey as their role model but can shock you by cracking a fibonacci sequence equation without batting an eye lid.

When the convoy snaked it’s way out of town I kept looking behind to catch a glimpse of each car. Kind of like a lady does when she has on ‘that dress’ that dress that exaggerates her posterior and brings out her features. She will walk down the street throwing glances behind her just to make sure she is having that desired effect. She will look into people’s eyes and hold the stare because she is confident.  At that moment she knows nothing can touch her. She basks in the attention that she is drawing and each step is carefully calculated lest she trips. You feel the glare of other car owners as you pass them and the envy which is almost palpable as they wish they could join in. There’s that pride, that sense of belonging when you’re in such a convoy. The world beckons and at that moment nothing seems unreachable.  You’re short of stepping on your toes and flying away.

The destination was Namanga. Namanga is not a place you go to enjoy the view. It’s not picturesque neither does it have wonderful people you’d want to meet and talk about how far they are from civilisation. Its not like Lamu. You don’t want to ask them

“So do you get 3G here? What about edge? So you can’t read my blog?”

The place is a heaven for dust and trucks and hotels that don’t even have waiters. You sit outside and wait for one to come and probably ask what you’ll have but they don’t.  You finally get tired of seating and decide to go in and look for some service.

Imagine that, forcing them to take your goddamn money! It’s not enough you’re close to the middle of nowhere or you can chose to stroll right into Tanzania and get served by a polite woman in a red leso with a methali scribbled on its hem. You don’t even get signs that you’ll get service so you decide to leave and go elsewhere. Only on your way out you get ambushed by old women and they will “gift” you with necklaces and bracelets.  They will then ask you to “gift” them back with money. That’s how it works right? Gift for gift? They will, in whatever version of English they speak, tell you

“Not big money, small money take take.”

You will feel bad turning down someone older than your grandma. But you have to. Their’s is aggressive marketing. They even choose what will look good on you. They gave me a matching necklace and bracelet with a dolphin pendant that looked more feminine than Maryline Monroe’s underwear. I’m a guy and that was offensive  so ofcourse I didn’t take the gifts I just smiled and said no in six different languages including body language. Then she walked away and ambushed someone that looked more promising. They said no too ; these ladies must hear no alot. I felt sorry for them but I didn’t have change on me. Where we were the chances of them finding change, well, let’s say it would be easier finding a fresh water spring in Kitui.

Other than that, the trip to Namanga was somewhat eventful. The rush that these cars give borders on going to heaven finding St Peter sitting there with a silly smile plastered on his face. You ask him what the deal is and he says Jesus just turned all the water into beer. You find your name isn’t on the list but since he is hammered he let’s it slide and gives you a double wink (and a double of some vodka he stashed the previous week when Jesus did his thing) and you go in and join the party.

You realize there’s a section in heaven for milk and honey but a secret section they didn’t mention for gin and juice. You never want to leave and wish you died sooner – okay not really. Here the streets are paved with gold; so if you didn’t work for your own money I’m sorry you can’t go in otherwise, there’ll be potholes all over the place. I’m sure Jesus doesn’t want to be driving (his BMW because… C’mon) down the streets and have to swerve to avoid a gaping hole just because you forgot you’re in heaven and are doing what you do best.

Though Namanga is a little town with awful restaurant service and dust that stretches to the horizon, the roads are beautiful. The black tarmac stretches for miles and snakes it way around the dusty countryside. It’s smooth and most of the time you don’t  realize you’re on a Kenyan road. On these roads the BMW’s do their thing. The Germans know how to build machines and the BMW is not an exception. The smooth rides and the purring engines work together to make an amazing experience. You feel like you’re on a floating cloud and when the foot is put down you feel the engine respond as the power channeled to the wheels surges the car forward. It feels like you’re on the verge of a new frontier. You don’t mind the blurry scenery, or the cold a/c air because you can’t let down the windows, or the static that passes for radio reception. The adrenaline rush suffices. These machines excite you to the very core. You love how they turn heads and the squeals little kids give when you slow down in a township. When fellow motorists take out their phones to take video clips at the petrol station you know that these cars are the shit. A BMW is that eye candy mama that’s not only eye candy but packs brains and brawn. It’s the complete package. It’s that girl you take home to your mother  and she sees a bit of herself in her. They click and before you leave she squeezes your hand and whispers into your ear giving her approval. You want to look at her all day and admire her curves you want to take her out and spend your money just the two of you. You want to find a spot where you can watch the sunset as you catch a downer just you and her. You want to give her a pet name, you want to be her knight in shining armour. You will cry when she is sick and be worried calling the mechanic every few minutes just to find out how she is doing. That car is an extension of self, a statement, a soul mate and everything a car should be. It’s safe to say I’ve been sold, when I hit the tarmac with one of my own it’s going to be a BMW so help me God.


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