Wednesday, 18 May 2011
NIGHT DRIVE NAIROBI
At the Nairobi aiport, as you come out of immigration, there are always a number of casually dressed gentlemen who helpfully offer you a taxi. This is I think it is safe to assume an offer of rape-murder, so I tend to turn them down, helpful though they are.
My booked taxi driver, who may of course also be a raping murderer, is there to collect me, and so at 2am we begin a long drive across an impressively dark and empty Nairobi. Not without first of course almost having been run into in the car park by an idiot: it wouldn’t be Nairobi if there wasn’t the constant threat of automotive carnage.
The quiet sound of Christian radio from the front seat is comforting, and I am just drifting away into my own thoughts when the brakes squeal and I abruptly discover I am not wearing a seat belt. A herd of Zebra is revealed in the headlights, and confusedly staggers off the four lane highway and towards a warehouse. “Never seen that before,” says the driver.
We pass a tree full of sleeping Marabou storks, and then a prostitute, posing very strangely on the side of the road; probably very high, and with good reason, poor lady, to get through the night. There is also a homeless man sitting on the verge and staring at his hands with delight. We get to Kibera, and the driver speeds up: rapist and murderer he may be, but he sure doesn’t want to get carjacked.
We turn into my road at last, and a big car slides in beside us. The taxi driver quickly draws in a breath , but the car, apparently innocent, pulls ahead and out of sight.