I like Kibandas because they are cheap and simple. They are the Okoa Jahazi for guys like me who have a hard time balancing their budget between cold beers and hot meals. Also I cannot just walk into a Java in the middle of February and order for BLT sandwich, with a side of fries, steamed veggies and a chocolate shake. I might as well walk into the nearest EACC offices and submit my accounts for auditing. People only do Java for one of two reasons; show-off or show-off. Most of the time it is both.
Also just for the record, I have not been paid to tarnish the Java name, (I am never even paid to write. I just do it because I love it. Cliché?) It is just that there is this lady, Lavendar (with an A) who serves at the Kibanda; and she sort of likes me. I even did a whole thread on twitter just for her. Lavendar, if you are reading this, I like you just the way you are, no Java will ever keep us apart. Just keep the chapo ndengu coming with two pieces of meat as usual.
Most people have been to kibandas, actually everyone has been to a kibanda. To those that have never been to a kibanda how’s life in that SQ in Kileleshwa? Breezy? Stay strong and drink Brookside. Speaking of Brookside, it is a rich man’s milk. You will never go to a shop and see a house help with a red head clothe and a skirt that looks like two cats got into a fight and lost ask for Brookside. No one ever does. I don’t even know who buys that milk. They must either be in that SQ in Kileleshwa, reading this with a bowl of cornflakes or they are busy conning some European chap. Conmen would use Brookside because come on what says “I have money” than milk from a carton box? Nothing! You can hash tag that milk, put it on the gram and get more likes than Huddah’s left butt cheek.
My Kibanda is sort of up-market. I say this because while others have a menu written on a broken piece of wood older than Noah’s ark; mine has a yellow manila paper, scribbled in red and black ink, margined, underlined and written in handwriting that probably drinks Brookside. But what catches my eye with it is the breakfast part of the menu.
The breakfast menu has the usual culprits, mandazi, chapatti, chai (tea), sausage, eggs (fried or boiled) and toast (buttered or plain – the buttered costs five shillings more). But then right below eggs, conspicuously sticking out is rice and beans. Rice and fucking beans. On the breakfast menu.
I have never gone for breakfast there, yet. I don’t know what it looks like on a cold Thursday morning. If there is traffic on the road next to it, if there is a lone runner in Adidas sweat pants, Nike shoes and a sports bra trotting down the tarmac listening to Bruno Mars. If matatus use it as a stage and the conductors shout over the cackling fire boiling tea. I wonder if Lavendar is in at that time, if she is in uniform or something warmer; short black skirts aren’t exactly weather friendly. Also I wonder about the chaps that would be sitting there at say 6.30 am; would their eyes be heavy with sleep (or stinging with the smoke from the burning wood boiling tea), would they look like a bunch of groggy high school students who just survived a morning prep session, would they be as rowdy as the lunch crowd shouting orders at mathee from every corner. Would the place be empty? Would guys that came in sit next to each other to hurdle in warmth as they waited for their orders or they’d be far apart like goat dung?
But most importantly I would be interested in the guy (or lady) who orders for rice and beans at 6.30 am. This is not ati your ordinary breakfast, this is a person who knows they have a hard day coming. They have seen the future of their morning and are bracing themselves. This is a person who wakes up before the alarm, puts it off, jumps out of bed into a cold shower without flinching; not even an arched brow and then put on their clothes with no deodorant or lotion. I don’t even think they would be able to spell lotion. What for? If anything their skin should be as hard as the day they are expecting. This guy does not care for Viola Davis or the Oscars or Tom’s or Martin’s that people are winning on another side of the world. They probably have a television only for guests and breaking news. And breaking news has to either be the death of a prominent person not Kim Kardashian’s new boob job.
This guy would probably not discuss politics with his mouthful churning out twitter and hashtag rhetoric that he picked up from a self-made pundit. This guy probably doesn’t think much of the internet. As far as they are concerned internet it for cyber cafés, con people and perverts. YouTube to them would probably be a type of pipe found in a hardware.
This would be the guy that orders for rice beans, a boiled egg (because like their life everything should be hard) hot cup of tea and an Ugali saucer just for the heck of it. This is the guy mathee will not tell that they can’t give saucer because his order did not even have Ugali in the first place. Mathee will just look at the guy in the kitchen in a vest, sweating over a pot of something, to put Ugali saucer asap.
Or this guy could probably be a manager somewhere at a blue chip company. A guy in their mid-fifties. Guys who did not grow up on Java and blue band. A guy whose idea of breakfast is cassava, strong tea, piece of day old Ugali and bone soup. These are the chaps you will find at kibandas, Benz key in one hand, two phones in the other hand, shirt half tucked and with spectacles heavier than their accents sitting in front of a metal plate with matumbo and Ugali bigger than Subaru drivers inflated egos. They are usually loud and have scruffy voices. They flock the place because at home they have been tamed. They can no longer shout orders like their fathers and have to settle for mashed potatoes and spaghetti for dinner. Here at this joint, they feel like men. They can shout for an order while seated and laugh loudly, bellies shaking in front of them as they pass on sexual undertones to the likes of Lavendar.
These are the same guys who will flock K1 or Kengeles for a more mature feel. They would not mind spending ten thousand in one sitting on beer, bottles of whisky and of course some nyama. If they are lucky and have the influence of a young blood in their circles you will find then in up-market clubs in Kilimani and Westlands. Hurdled around the lounges, loud, slapping knees, pretty lasses on their arms and of course car keys on the table right next to a phone. They don’t do cash. Or go Dutch. It is usually on someone’s bill. Tab. Bill? Tab? Whatever. It’s usually on someone. Usually the one that has a point to prove. Where they will flaunt cash like a peacock does its tail when looking for a mate. Imagine if men were peacocks.
Then after a heavy night out. After spending a night at the pretty lasses apartment, where he pays rent, he will get into his Benz and drive off. He will probably come across the lady in Adidas sweatpants, Nike shoes and a sports bra trotting down the road. He will then turn a left and enter the same road, park right outside kibanda. He will sit down his eyes heavy. Sins of last night knocking on his head together with the bad hangover. He will look at the menu, under breakfast, he will see rice and beans, snigger then for the hell of it shouts at mathee;