Mediterranean Blues…?

Ever felt like a pan handler. You put up a show for people in a busy street and they don’t give you the time of day no matter how good your show is. Then you still feel like you have to beg for money for the show you put up. Technically though, they don’t owe you anything; but a little appreciation goes a long way. I am no panhandler but that is how I felt yesterday morning regarding my business.

As it would have it, I have a best buddy who can be a foreshadower of sorts. He had some what fore seen this coming and suggested we have breakfast on Monday, yesterday morning. So despite my nonchalant feelings about the day, I was looking forward to breakfast.

Me, my buddy Eugene and ‘my feelings for the day’ stepped out and headed to Westlands. All the while, I was thinking about shoes. You may wonder why? The reason for this is the current rains in Nairobi. They have destroyed 98% of my shoes but that is not what was bothering me. What really ticked me off was that I did not even have the luxury to think of getting a new pair just to get me by. It hurt even more that I was working so hard yet the results of my work were so near, yet so far. All the same, we walked for a little while and ended up at Mediterraneo.

Food solves tonnes of problems, so this is the place we had chosen to kill my thoughts.

Being in a corporate building, you would expect a lot of buzzing suit types walking about. However, that was not the case. Calm, peace and serenity are what greet you once you enter the doors, or lack thereof, of The Mediterraneo. We walked past the inside bit of the restaurant, which has a lovely wine rack as its main centre piece, and headed straight for the patio; taking in the Mediterranean ambience that filled the whole room . Aside from the birds chirping, the only other person where we eventually sat was a really humble waiter called Musyoki.

Sadly, Mediterraneo ’s menu does not have too many breakfast options. Eugene ordered for the both of us because I was clearly mixed up in a web; tears just dangling as I asked for my Chai. We settled for the traditional English Breakfast which consisted of two poached eggs, a spicy sausage, bacon, baked beans, two slices of toast, grilled tomatoes and a side serving of butter.

As we sipped our tea, waiting for the main dish, we whiled away in casual conversation. And while talking, I realized that I have it good in so many ways. I have life, good health, an even healthier appetite and a good support system. And most of all, I have a buddy like Eugene who always manages to make me appreciate the small things in life. Like how blue the sky was the previous day.

When our dish finally came it was worth the wait. Sitting there, talking and enjoying life for its little, hidden pleasures, was enough to get me by another day.

#N.P: Diggin’ on You-TLC

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Sunshine and Chinese

We’re seated underneath a shade umbrella as we await our order. It’s blue in colour, slightly faded, and does little to shelter us from the afternoon sun. It’s a cool yet sunny day, a true paradox of sorts. The kind of day with enough chill to tease your nipples, yet enough heat to baptize your nape with a good bucketful of sweat. Nonetheless, the sky is a perfect blue, with just enough strains of white in it to make it look like, well, a sky. Otherwise, it can pass for one hell of a blue sheet of light spread all across the horizon.

Right ahead of me is a green food stand, covered in pictures of pork chops, sloppy joes, pork belly steaks, and all manner of calorie-packed servings. A bouncing castle with bright and bubbly kids spreading their limbs all over it stands to my left. The air is pealing with euphonic sounds, sizzles and simmers and hisses of divine nature that plant longing kisses of desire upon your taste buds.

Occasionally, there comes the sound of a thud or a cry piercing through the carefully orchestrated serenity of this place. Be it by sheer coincidence or devious planning, the charm we’re exposed to is mirrored by a lack of heads to mouth away in noisy chatter. Quite the perfect setting if you’re looking to have a meal with little to no interruptions whatsoever.

The place is called Paradise Cafe. Located at Ridgeways Mall, along a somewhat busy stretch of Kiambu Road, it is nothing ordinary yet nothing overly spectacular. With a focus on Chinese cuisine, it really beats the odds of assumption one could ever have of it at first impression. Not only does its name say nothing about the menu that awaits you, the entire place has not been fashioned to look anywhere close to a Chinese restaurant.

Partly, you could say, is the fact that the shared seating arrangements within the establishment work against any private branding ambitions. Even so, the restaurant just next to it does a better job at selling itself than our hosts for the day do. The menu, here regarded as so in a very reticent manner, is but a couple of laminated sheets of printed text bound by saddle stitches. If that isn’t all there is to our small list of disappointments, it isn’t readily available on each table (something their next door friends are really taking advantage of).

Within five minutes of our order, a set of plates and bowls make way to our table, in tune to a hearty standing ovation from our four eyes. The colours, textures and smell make their presence felt in the most unpretentious way. Without much festivity or claim to pomposity.

To claim patience with the meal that was set before us would be a very horrible attempt at lying. So let’s stick to the bare truth, which is that no amount of sizzles and simmers dancing in the air just 5 feet from me would dare take my attention away from the plates burning under my gaze. Rice with cashew nuts, served with stir fried chicken in pineapple laced gravy; sweet and savoury, the right balance.

A cup of chilli does the work of assuring the Oriental roots of this meal, but still keeps a perfect distance away from the world of Hindu curry. This, however, shouldn’t be taken as lenience from the chef plying his trade here. We are informed that they do serve chilli hot enough to bring out hell and all its burning flames – but only upon request.

That said, I guess the good people at this establishment know that people like me do exist. People who, on any given day, would not want to look at their food through welling eyes, or with a dash of handkerchief on the side. People who appreciate spending time in the absence of noise, or crowds for that matter. People who would love to escape the confines of society and sit out an afternoon buried in a book, with a glass of banana smoothie by their table. People who wouldn’t want to wait for more than half an hour to get their order ready. And most importantly, people beginning a new chapter in their lives as bloggers.

Paradise Café is not as good as to draw you in completely, but not as bad as to ruin your afternoon’s binge-eating plans. So if you’re looking for someplace with intimate surroundings, pleasant ambiance and a little cherry over the edges of your experience, it wouldn’t be the most ideal candidate. Be that as it may, the service, timeliness and prices are decent enough to draw a tip out of you.

Just stay away from the inside parlour.

3 More Reasons to Visit Nairobi

Its a cold, rainy day. A promised lapse of 24 hours filled with dire and hellish gloom. Every living thing I see is muzzled in woolen, wintry clothes, heavy leather jackets are a dime a dozen, and not forgetting the many scarves flying about. The roads are wet, the pavements slick with grime, the air foggy, and the rain unyielding in its soddy torment.

Its just the kind of weather that Nairobians abhor. Absolutely. We’re sort of used to it, but don’t enjoy it one bit. Ask us to walk over flaming coals and most will gladly oblige. Anything but this weather. What with its uncanny ability to draw madness out of people, especially drivers, and the blasted traffic that is the result of this madness. It’s just not our cup of tea, or our bowl of porridge either.

As I write this, I’m stuck in a 2 kilometre convoy of cars driven by deranged drivers. Most seem to be possessed Continue reading

Loneliness, and all that it is

Loneliness is an interesting feeling. A cold, cynical absurdity that drags us down deserted tracks of desperation. An otherness that leaves you floating around in a lifeless daze, drifting farther and farther into a desolate darkness devoid of humanity. A world where there is but one feeling: EMPTINESS.

The relentless companion stripped of all emotion and impoverished in affection. One who steers your boat towards the rising tides and incoming storms, as you cling on to the sails of your heart with dear despair. Hoping, praying, invoking; that a higher power or ultra existence may calm the waters of your life. Or perhaps shed a mirage of light into the bleakness of your being. Continue reading

Top 3 Reasons To Visit Nairobi

Why visit Nairobi? I’ve toyed with and pitchforked that question over and over in my mind all weekend. Not that I didn’t have any reasons to begin with. It’s just one of those topics that you never give proper consideration. Living in the city, you kind of get accustomed to that set routine that feeds your plate and buys you things to satisfy the ego that you fail to take notice of the simpler beauties that exist beyond the constant toil of life.

To fully immerse my head into the sands of this piece, I cleared out my schedule and took some time out from the grind of life. Left with nothing to do but listen to my growing collection of music, and consume whatever it was I ate on that day; I was finally able to wrap my brain’s tentacles around the slippery thoughts in my head and turn them into words.

With kind pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, here’s introducing the first part of a three part series on why Nairobi is an ideal destination for you. A city that stretches beyond the (duly) glorified national park, and comes alive every so often – most especially on the weekends, as you will soon find out. Continue reading

Sorry World, Here’s 9 True Reasons to Visit Kenya

The world, uhmm…most of it, seems to have this perception of Africa as being wild and untamed. A vast conservancy filled with half-clad Maasai warriors chasing after wild lions. Lions which, in turn, want to turn some dainty gazelles gracefully darting through the savannahs into a pile of minced meat.

Well, world, I hate to break it to you: Africa is quite the buzzing whiz running around in an uncontrollable fit of technological buzz. A curly haired lady, with all manner of smartphones and smart gadgets clinging to her arms and ears, who sends emojis of broad-shouldered, muscular, smiley men to her Facebook friends. Yes people, Africa does have a Facebook account. I believe even Australia has fewer friends. You can Google that if you have to. I stand by my word.

Now, most of these misconceptions are actually fueled by media misinformation. The damned black box, the internet and glossy covered magazines have formed a lie-fabrication alliance so strong, Continue reading

A Neighborhood Dusk

Hanky-Panky in Asmara

I’m back. That can only mean one thing: I am not LOST.

At least not entirely as I was the last time I blogged. Good news is, I was able to pay off my dreadful loan and moved to a new house. I am elated with the move because our previous shit-hole of a house was able to single-handedly bring out the COMPLETE WORST in me. Yes I blame the house for my being lost. That aside, today I want to talk about this super cosy place I have been to more than once. Asmara. Continue reading

What’s In a Child?

There’s always that one thing that makes all the difference in how we feel about certain things in life. Well for me it’s normally music, art, or photography. But not anymore. I’m now stepping out of my beautifully crafted bubble, and being alive again.

I recently had the chance to accompany a young school that caters for well and able children, alongside children with special needs, to a trip to the Mamba Village in Karen, and later to the Bomas of Kenya. Continue reading

Eating With Your Privates

Waitresses. The service industry’s cherry on the top of a poorly cooked pie of doggy goulash.

Am I ranting? Not just yet. Is this a sexist post about waitresses? Nope. But they do have a role to play. Read on, you might end up understanding why the clouds out today are purple.

So we, I and my significant other, are randomly hotfooting through the streets of Nairobi when the *urge* overwhelms us. The urge to indulge in this heavenly pleasure that hits all the spots you never thought you had, or even existed. That which caresses the senses and takes you on a wild goose chase after your departing morals. In agreement that we both need to release our pent up energies, we head off to a certain locale just a spit-throw away from the National Archives. Continue reading