Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Would you like fries with your donkey?

Hola pretty people! Hot, hot, hot today which only means it's going to rain heavily this evening. Like clockwork, at rush hour the sky opens up and there's nothing funnier than watching Kenyans run from the rain like it's acid. Lol, you should see us, we're awful. Actually it's to avoid the mud that will swirl under your feet in less than 5 minutes and the drains are awful so pools of water collect at busy intersections and that's when the ancient cars that haven't been out in a while will suddenly be on the road only to stall in the middle of a growing flood. That's why I like to be out of town, the latest 5 p.m. Can't avoid it always but I've been lucky (knocking on noggin) so far.

So I had a late lunch with my two older brothers and a great friend of theirs. I'd been craving fish for ages so I made them move restaurants twice simply because I didn't like what their menus had to offer by way of peche. We finally settled on eldest brother's (B1) choice, an Italian salon on a second floor office building. I ordered a simple breaded tilapia (everything comes with fries) but they threw in some dodgy looking veggies that looked like they'd been boiling for decades before being rescued from the pot. The fish was okay, kinda disappointing but temporarily eased my craving. My beer... could someone invent a portable instant freeze beer holder for me? Fed-Ex, UPS, DHL it immediately. There's only one place I've found where my beer is served at the perfect temp. and it's a place I'll only go to with my brothers or their friends and never by myself. Urghh, anyway, as we discussed the best places to get fish B1 asked my other brother B2 where he got his meat. "At the police station butchery ofcourse." We live really close to a police station which is awesome as I feel super safe. This same station has a bar, not kidding. There are houses here for the officers and some even have their families so the bar started for the off-duty officers. I'm pretty sure the ones on call don't go there during regular hours as the neighborhood has some fairly affluent folks, diplomats and aid workers so they're on their toes.

Anyway, B2 stood by the respectability of this place and the prices were quite reasonable and he swore up and down that the meat is fresh and they will tell you whether it was brought in yesterday. They bring in supplies every morning at 6 or so they claim. B1 and best friend were laughing so hard they were spilling warm beer over the table,
"B1," he says, "you've been eating wilderbeast or some game animal."
"No, no..." Insisted B2, "it really is fresh meat, I've seen them bring in the carcasses in the morning."
More laughter, oh dear, beer running onto floor.
"Carcasses! So you don't get to see the skin which will identify it as dog or donkey."
Best friend said even he wouldn't get meat from there, however tempting the prices or how fresh. At this point I paled because best friend has an iron stomach. I'd cooked what I sincerely hope was beef about two weeks ago, lovingly marinated, sauteed to perfection, herbed liberally and served with super fresh organic veggies.
"B2?" I rasped out, "where did you get that beef from?"
He grinned and said, "the police station, fresh when I bought it."
More laughter, oh lost a warm bottle to the ground.

Needless to say, I do not shop there, never have and never will. Instead I go to the grocery store where the good Lord intended meat to come in double plastic wrap, brand label with a sell-by date. Actually, meat can be reasonably priced here. I can get 4 burger patties for 174/-ksh which is about $2. It's much cheaper to buy a flank steak and have them mince it for you. 2lbs of ground beef will run you about $2.50 total. Chicken is becoming more available in the supermarkets as compared to previous days where it involved chasing a scrawny bird that was kept in an enclosure behind the house. I can get a whole chicken for about $3 - 5 depending on size. Veggies, oh, vegetarians are lucky. The prices are unbelievable. I just bought 2lbs of tomatoes for less than $1, 2lbs of red onions, less than $0.50, eggplant/aubergines $0.50 etc, etc. I don't bother buying potatoes, we get them from our farm upcountry. I have a six month supply, urghh. Most of the veggies are organic. They come straight from farms, dirt still clinging to them and will stay fresh for such a short period because they've been uprooted so that you know there's no preservative to lengthen shelf life. The fruit choices are to die for. Mangoes, papaya, passion fruit, watermelon, custard apple (sweet fleshy pulpy fruit with tons of inedible seeds but half the fun is pulling the flesh off) oranges etc. Amazing selection.

My Vacation: Well, there's been a break in my quest for snow white sand, sparkling azure waters and madafu (coconut cut from the tree, split open and served with a straw right before your eyes). High tourist season is drawing to a close and most of the resorts and hotels are trying to capitalize on last minute travel especially from domestic tourists. There is an exhibition next week at one of the conference centers where all these hotels and different travel agents will show up to try and get clients looking for a deal and if you book your trip right then, you can get up to a 20% discount on full board accommodation. i.e., b/fast, lunch, afternoon tea & dinner, airfare and hotel transfers. So a weekend trip might run you up to $200 only. Can't wait, hope I get a deal, I need a break. But, will be doing none of that until I have bank account. Have settled on one bank. The minimum fees are a killer but it has ATMs all over the place. I'll be sure to include my account & routing numbers for all of y'all once I get it. (You think I'm kidding, ha)

I know my blogs can sound depressing and disheartened but fear not my lovies, my glimpse is infinitely more rosey than what people here see on a daily basis. I'm very lucky, I have my brothers and they always cheer me up when they sense I'm down. And I have all those lovely e-mails to look forward to when I get to my favorite cyber cafe. (only a half-hour trip btw so those of you who have been awful about e.mailing me, feel rotten) That's the whole point of this, so I can vent. Momma, stop worrying. I'm fine, I promise.

Again, sorry for the spelling errors and the language too if it's too graphic.

Lol, on my way here, I passed a billboard advertising cruises to least the beer will be cold.

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