Staying out of trouble
How hard can it be to get into trouble. Me and my mate Matt completely lost in a foreign town decided we might as well go big since we obviously can’t go home: not until the weekend at least. But it was the wrong day to be looking for some nightlife action: it was a Thursday. And nothing was going to be happening till the following day.
But we were “out of dodge” by 3pm on the Friday.
So we were determined to do something – anything.
We asked one of the hotels concierge for a place to go on a quiet Thursday.
He told us to walk down the street, a few blocks away. There was a nightclub called the Savanah.
Matt asked it it was safe to walk. The chap said we should be safe enough. That we looked strong enough to scare them away. Well you need to understand me and Matt we are black and white. I decided I could play the role of the native while he would be my msungu. I would be his local bodyguard. I asked the concierge if he could provide me with a weapon. If I was going to be play acting, I need to make it as real as possible. The bad guys won’t be sporting plastic knifes (that was for the airlines) so I need to bring my A-game as well. He just laughed.
We walked down the street with Matt in front. I puffed out my chest and walked with deliberate measured steps. I needed to occupy space. I was going for that “don’t mess with me” attitude.
We got to the building without issues. We found a security man who took us in to the club. But the place was deader than the funeral of a tightfisted gold-miner. Like Matt said there was more excitement in the lift that took us up to the 3rd floor than in the club itself.
But one of the waiters was kind enough to suggest we cross the street to another night club called the Bilcana.
Well we got there and made for the inner entrance. But there was a bouncer at the door who indicated we step back and pay the entrance fee at the counter we had just passed. Well the place didn’t look too busy and we wanted to take a gander inside before paying to be attendants at a wake-keep for some chap we didn’t know from Adam. But they insisted. We waited a little and a couple paid and went in. While the door was open, all we could see were empty seats. That was it.
We hightailed it out of there and crossed the car park to the compound at the opposite end of the “square”. We had noticed that loud music was coming from the enclosed compound on our way in. But the place was only a slight improvement on the club. We were on two strikes. It shouldn’t be this hard to get into trouble in a strange city!
Three strikes and it’s time to go home.
As we stepped out, we got accosted by one of the taxi drivers loitering around in the open space. He offered to take us to a club in town with a money back guarantee if we don’t like the place. He would even return us to the park free of charge. Well it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Remind me sometime to tell you about this technology me and Matt invented (strictly speaking he invented it, but I don’t think he would mind my basking in the light of his glory a little) that cuts a person’s electricity bill in half. Complete legit. But that’s another story entirely.
A reasonable dash across the city and we were at the Cuba. It was certainly more active than the other two. Lots of expats and a live band. They sang a mix of English, Nigerian and Tanzanian songs.
There were girls and women of all ages, shapes and sizes and it was obvious why they were there. The dressing ran the gamut from merely suggestive to “you have to be slow not to notice what’s on offer”
We just sat in one corner, listened to the music and watched the “sights”.
After an hour or so Matt got up and returned with a lady in tow. Good for him. Then the lady indicated we invite some other lady standing behind our table to come join me. Saying the lady was her friend. So now we were 4 at the table. We were too close to the action so it was difficult to have a decent conversation so we drifted further away from the band to a table right by the entrance to the place.
Angela is a diploma graduate with a degree in something related to international relations. She translates Norwegian to Swahili but the job is not permanent. It’s more or less on a document by document basis and the pay is low. She said it’s very difficult to get a job in Dar Es Salaam. She will be 30 next month (or is it 29). She asked if I was married. I said no. The other girl interjected that she’s decided to be Matt’s Tanzanian wife. I asked Angela playfully if she would be my Nigerian wife also. Asked if she would come to Nigeria. She said no. That there is too much witchcraft in Nigeria. That she would be put into a bottle and the bottle cocked. I told her she’s watched too many Nollywood films and that all that gimmickry is make believe for the screen only, but she didn’t completely believe me. She thinks the world of Genevieve, Ini Edo and a couple more Nigerian actresses who she said hadn’t bleached their skins and also had lovely smooth skin. She’s an avid reader of Linda Ikeji’s blog.
Since she asked me about marriage, and she obviously wasn’t married, I asked her about the boyfriend. She had none. I said I couldn’t believe someone as pretty as she was had no boyfriend. She said she was fed up with boyfriends who would be there on and off, leave, etc. she was also tired of taking care of herself. She wanted to be taken care of.
Around 1am we decided it was time to leave. We had a relatively early morning meeting. We bid them goodbye. I promised I had give her a call before I left town the following day.
The taxi driver was excited for us to confirm that we enjoyed the place. Instead of the 10,000 he potentially could have lost, he ended up with 30,000 shillings. Now that’s what you call good business sense!
We entered the hotel lobby and waited for the lift. A couple of girls got out as we went in. Matt greeted them jokingly and before we knew what was really happening, we had decided a nightcap at the restaurant on the rooftop of the hotel would be the thing to do. So there was Tina and Pamela. We chatted away over the drinks. We got there just about 15 minutes to closing but the staff were polite enough not mention it again. We must have spent about 30minutes there then decided to leave out of consideration for the staff. We were the only guests there.
This was on the 11th floor actually rooftop). We walked them to the front of the hotel and waited with them until their taxi came. Pamela said she worked at the southern sun. She wanted to come and occupy my room the following day so she asked for my room number. I said I would call her once my meeting was over. That was more trouble than I was looking to get into! So I had lied to Her that I was going to be there over the weekend so there was no hurry. When in fact we were leaving for the airport straight after the meeting.
Got to my room, checked up on my “downloads”, puttered around a little. Finally got into bed around 3am or so.
We did come pretty close to getting into trouble a couple of times, which is why it’s not good to go on such outings alone: because with at least two of you, common sense should assert itself before you go off the deep end. As the Yorubas say “a pe gbon ni, a ki pe go”. Translate: We collaborate or come together to benefit from the collective wisdom not to become even more foolish”
Well. That was me “live in Dar Es Salaam”