You think you know Masaku, and then you see how dashing she looks in the night.
Masaku will surprise you. The Peoples Park is already a marvel during the day but at night, when all its lights work in concert like a symphony, and as you drive towards Masaku, you realise it would be sacrilege to sleep in this fine city and not go on a pilgrimage to the Peoples Park. It is designed to hypnotise you, its lights dwarfing everything in the horizon, but for the two hills in the horizon littered with lights. No matter how much you ignore it, it will hypnotise you, and lead you to it.
Its not a slight detour, not at 10 pm when the roads are empty. But to Kamba guys nowhere is too far. Go on, go to Kangundo Road and stop anywhere and ask them how far Kangundo is. Everyone, from Kamulu all the way to Tala, will keep telling you Ah! Baba! No vaa! Ushafika ata, ukienda tu upite ile corner Kangundo ni hapo! Two days later, when you are still cruising down and you still dont see it, youll know they werent lying. Kamba perception of distance has an intriguing history of migration and travel. They were the millennials of pre-colonial Kenya. To travel was to live. Once in a while they would go to Mombasa, get drunk, cause chaos, shoot someone with a bow in the leg, get arrested, and then make the Sultan ban weapons. A month later they would be in Kajiado buying cows. To them Kangundo is the distance you walk to go borrow movies.
But Masaku, to most of us at least, starts and ends with the Peoples Park and the baby-faced governor. There isnt much to see. It has the usual crowd that roams of the night. An assortment of women standing in a line outside a lodging. Pimps pretending they are not with them. The random guy standing alone in the middle of the night, with a lit blunt in his hand. The occasional pair of boda boda riders who ride past you smelling of nyama choma. The hearty laughs and general merriment. Its all there.
Then theres this new place called Gelian Hotel. It looks like it was transplanted here. Everything about it, including its rather atrociously neat Club Euphoria, is designed to be stunning and minimalist. Even the staff. But thats not even what stands out the most. The truth is, you havent showered until youve stood under a square showerhead. You might have taken baths and found other ways of cleansing yourself but you havent lived until there a square showerhead above you. Go on, Google what a square showerhead is.
You turn the knob to the left and lift it like it helpfully says on the wall behind the tab. You wait. Nothing seems to happen for thirty seconds. Under one of these you feel like you are under a drizzle of warmth, as if the droplets have tiny hands that are busy working your body as they trickle down your body. It doesnt even make sound. Theres a slight purr, as if the water is cascading through the pores. Unlike those crazy showers you get in most rental houses where each jet of water looks like it has a mind of its own, all 144 pores of water on this work of art work to make you feel like you’ve not been living before. Yes, when I was done with this life-changing event last night, I had the time to do some quick math of how many of this gateways to heaven had transformed my soul. My math teacher deserves a raise, Kaimenyi.
Then you start to think about your life, and world peace, and the migrants in Europe. You see Vision 2030, you dream of fried bacon and the VVIP lounge in a Vegas strip club. You think of life, and love, and madness. You think of waterfalls and fountains. You hear the water fall, almost delicately, onto the red soiled earth. You smell mother nature, and see the end of corruption. You feel something shift within you, something divine. It would turn an atheist of love into a love freak, this piece of heaven.
Allan wont stop saying that this hotel is the best well have. Pessimist. But we might as well, because I doubt anyone in Turkana has a square showerhead. I dont think that on the road to Chalbi Desert, as we drive on endless miles of nothing but acacia trees, rough road, and beautiful nothingness, anyone will have a five star hotel we can live in. We might need to camp at a place where the small notes on the bedside table speak of the possibility of snuggling in with a scorpion. The maps are out, water is in plenty, Masaku has decided to be mean with its sunrise, and everyone is well fed. The goal is to spend the night at Archer’s Post in Samburu, and be in Turkana’s stunning beaches by the end of the weekend.
To that square showerhead, you changed my life. You stunning, life-changing work of symmetry!