Monday, March 19, 2007

Death of an Eland

4:26 am
Thursday February 8

I am not a happy camper right now. I am so unhappy that sleep has jammed to take me away to the land of Baywatch Beach babes, where the chicks just run around all day in their oh so clingy bikinis. Lemme tell you why I am not happy and then you’ll want to stay up with me, I hope.

My bro and I are working on a proposal for like a really big corporation, actually the biggest in its field, seriously big, they’re in the top 5 tax payers big, which we’re handing in on Friday. His boss is on maternity leave so he’s been holding down the fort on his own, I chip in occasionally, being more than somewhat skilled in these things of Creative Stuff and PR and Advertising and leja-leja. He got the brief yesterday but one and we started work on it that night. Then yesterday I was in Entebbe doing stuff that will earn my mum, and me eventually Ushs … it’s a 7 figure amount. I get back into town at 6pm and I’ve told him we’ll work late so I head over to his office at the Serena. Yes, seriously. Ok, not the Serena, the Conference Centre right next to the Serena, same Compound.

I get there; lay out the Artboard and the themes we’re working with so we can like try to cobble a working concept together. So whiles he’s getting started I nip round the corner for some takeout and to call Pete in Nairobi who’d been AWOL for a bit. Did you know that the working girls in that area were already out at 7:30 pm? Damn, it’s hard out here for a pimp-ess! Bambi, they had nice perfume. Anyway I get supper, we make coffee and then the artwork starts flowing fast and thick. Mummy calls, yes I call her “Mummy”, what do you call yours? “Mother?” so dats like an hour of jazz and hey presto, before we know it its like 10pm; I’m like really into this other design job I’m doing for a client, and so is he, so we just plow on ahead, 11pm, midnight, 1am, more coffee, bad music on Radio One, we’re like oba we go home and sleep? Anti he has a paper at 4pm today and I’m attending my Cousin Akim’s Kwanjula today at Noon, I think I’m s’pposed to be his “brother” but as usual ain’t no one telling me shit until the last minute.

Somehow we forget to leave and before we know it it’s like quarter to 3am and I’m like, I don’t wanna lug my laptop around at 6am when a cab can drive it home for me now so we make 1 last cup of coffee and call YelloCab. Now, me I’m a creature of habit, when I find someone or something I like, I stick with them till death. I used to have 2 YelloCab captains to call; Laeticia during the day and Oscar at night, we’all was so tight that even wen I was piss drunk and flat broke, Oscar would take me home and put me in bed and I’d pay him when next I saw him. Or I’d call Laeticia and she’d come pick up his dime from the office. He’d even turn off the meter and like say, “man, just gimme 10k and we be kawa”. We’all was family; Oscar knew all my babes and their pecking order and he’d keep my ass out of the doghouse on more than one occasion like when he’d bring one over and she’d be asking him whether I got other women and he’d be like, “waah, that guy me I know him, he’s saved kabisa, he doesn’t do those things of play playing around. He’s serious alo!” then he’d tell me so I’d know to stick to his script. We was tight like that. Then both him and Laeticia moved on to, I guess, better jobs and I’ve been stuck everly since. Now I only go out when there’s a car in the picture.

So when my bro’s cab arrives and parks at the hotel despite instructions to the contrary, I’m thinking, ok, this is one to watch, this must be a bad apple. Oh, the pain of being proven right. We get in the car and I ask him first off if his meter works, a fortnight ago, 1 of them told me his meter don’t work and then charged me 5k from Arirang Restaurant to Cheese Bar. For you KC, that’s like charging you 50 bob from All Saints Cathedral, Valley Road to Nakumattt, Mama Ngina Street. Broad night time robbery! Jamma assures me his meter works and turns it on and sure enough its set to the night time rate which is like double the day rate, sawa, we burst.

Now get this, we’re going to Ntinda from the Serena, the easiest route is, upon exiting the hotel, to turn left opposite MTN/Crested Towers, go up to the junction and turn right down to Kitante Road, left again, then right at the Golf Club Roundabout to make another left onto Acacia Avenue upto Kisementi where you turn right at Capital FM past Al Zee’s through Kisementi then up, right again, past Lohana Academy, left onto whatever that road is called (Prince Phillip Drive?) that runs down past Arya Primary to join Lugogo Bypass where you turn left, drive 60 metres to the Kiira Road Police Station and then go up through The Bukoto Flats and straight to Ntinda, sindio? Even piss drunk I could drive that route with one arm. And I have done so.

Now this dwanzie exits the hotel and turns RIGHT, clearly disregarding the “No Right Turn” sign, me I think he’s gonna turn left at the Radio Uganda Roundabout to connect down to Kitante Road. Wapi. At the Roundabout he turns left and seems to be heading up Speke Road as if towards Speke Hotel sides, I’m like “Ssebo, we’re going to Ntinda, innit shorter to go that way (pointing to the direction I mention above)?” Qouth he, “ok, we’ll pass there if that’s what you want”, “yessir, that’s what I want”. He swings the car round and then the meter kicks in and starts doing Inzikuru, Kip Keino and Gebreselassie on us. I’m keeping one beady one on that motherf..ker, yes I am.

Cabbie flows with the program until the Golf Club roundabout where instead of turning right to Acacia, he does a left at which I holla, “Negro, hold up! Where y’all going son?” “I’m going to drive through Mulago to Ntinda” “but it’s shorter to take Acacia Ave through Kamwokya” “me I don’t know that shortcut” “what the hell kinda cab driver you are if you don’t know shortcuts? Scratch that, what kinda driver doesn’t know shortcuts?” “Me I don’t know Kampala shortcuts” - to myself “shit, another just off the bus Johnny come lately rip off artist from Mbarara!” - Out loud – “yeah whatever, follow my directions hereon, go through Acacia!” We were good till we got to Capital FM, then he asked for directions so I turn him Right through the Al Zee crowd – drunkass kids standing around in the road sipping from plastic tumblers - then we get to the other end of Kisementi and – y’all wont believe it, he turns left!

For the benefit of y’all who don’t live in Kampala, lemme break that shit down for you. Turning left and not right like the plan above, meant he would go down to La Fontaine where he had 2 options;
1. turn right onto Bukoto Street which is the only Kamwokya Street with potholes all the way – 300 odd metres - down to the left turn junction onto the main Kiira Road – at the Kamwokya market - where you then turn right and do like 1.2km/1200 metres (basically 3 football pitches laid out end to end) to come back to the aforementioned Kiira Road Police Station
2. go straight past La Fontaine and end up back on Acacia where he’d turn right to the Mawanda Road junction to make another right turn that would leave him approaching the kamwokya market, option 1 above, from even farther up than the distance between the market and the Police Station

I was totally out of it! I demanded an explanation. His heated answer? He wasn’t going up towards Lohana “because its not safe!” This road has for tenants, NGOs and gated compounds, with security lighting. It’s such a boring surburbian road it doesn’t even have stray dogs chilling in the area. More like Chihuahuas and Jack Russells, safely asleep in their padded baskets next to the Mistress of the House’s bed. And did I mention almost all the gated compounds have askaris? With pump action shotguns, Ugandan style?

Well, I told him I was not going to be ripped off – their meters run according to the rotations of the tires, the more spins they make, the more your ass pays – and if he was not going to take my preferred route, I would pay him off, get out, in the drizzle, and walk back to Al Zee’s where there were plenty of cabs to be had for the asking. He shut up and drove to Ntinda, through my route and when I saw he was speeding in an attempt to get more tire rotations I kept quiet about the road repairs opposite the Kwik-Save Supermarket just after Blue Mango. And indeed, he bashed his car in the neat square holes that the City Council creates out of our huge raggedy ass potholes before they fill ‘em up with murram, y’all know what I’m talking about yeah? Then he bashed his cat again in the potholes opposite the Ethiopian restaurant as you enter Ntinda proper because he was going too fast to see it coming. Made me feel all warm and tingly inside.

Needless to mention I stopped him in the trading centre, we got out, paid him off, went got ourselves some Rolexes then jumped on boda bodas all the way home. Shit, we shoulda just taken bodas from the Serena, if we could find them, it woulda been less stress. I feel better now so I’ma catch some shuteye, 5:42 am, the Muzzein dude’s calling the faithful to prayer. Gotta be up at 8:30 to get my Kwanjula groove on. Then I remember that the Girlfriend has my Kanzu.

Damn, can’t a brother get some peace? There’s war in the Middle East and war on the streets … it’s hard out here for a pimp!

Peace & Love,
Julius.

4 Comments:

Blogger joshi said...

that cabbie wasnt being serious at all!!wish i had a cabbie like Oscar and Laetiticia..

Tue Mar 20, 12:36:00 am  
Blogger Cheri said...

Julius is on some rant 'n' roll today...

Tue Mar 20, 01:50:00 pm  
Blogger Cheri said...

Say, did Laetitia tuck u in bed too??!!??

Tue Mar 20, 01:54:00 pm  
Blogger Degstar said...

Cheri,
dont get it twisted.
Laetitia's bro is d dude who writes the Dr. Love column; random titbit.

Thu Mar 22, 12:38:00 am  

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