I went to Nairobi last week, to attend the opening of my mom’s exhibition. Boy, lots happened, can’t think where to start. Lets see. Hopped on the bus on Tuesday morning, a painless 5 hour trip. Through the border, nice surprise that I didn’t need a visa, managed not to make eye contact with the Maasai ladies trying to sell me jewelry. Don’t do that or you’ll be dripping with jingly jangly dingly dangly shiny beady things before you can even think “Ah bollocks I shouldn’t have made eye contact” Hop skip jump through to the other side, another stamp (please try to squeeze it on this page as my passport is nearly full, thank you!). Jump on the bus again, next to my new friend who has come from India and doesn’t speak much English - he is going to Nairobi to find a bride. Met at the other side by H, taxi driver and marathon runner of note.
Oh geez, I’m not going to give you a day by day minute by minute account. Here are the highlights:
- Took an inordinate amount of pictures on my camera phone of my mother, (who hates having her picture taken) because she was wearing EXACTLY the same pink as one of the pillars at the Museum of Modern Art where she is exhibiting. We also happened to find an orange bucket nearby that was EXACTLY the same colour as the other pillar so much fun was had. You couldn’t have planned it
- Had Dylan (Bob, not Thomas) on the brain all week, coz the place my mother was exhibiting is called RaMoMa – Ramitulla Museum of Modern Art (so “Ramona/Come closer/Shut softly/Your watery eyes” was theme song for the trip)
- Discovered the Delectable Diamond Plaza – a glorious incense-fragrant-Indian-trinket-filled, rough-around-the-edges-buy-all-the-chillies-and-coriander-and-delicious-spices-you-care-to-with-a-gorgeous-sari-thrown-in kindof place. And lots of plastic brightly lit palm trees scattered about
- Ate yummy fast Indian food at the same Diamond Plaza (many times in a row). Witnessed a spectacular fight between two chefs at – you guessed it - the very same plaza. The one man came over and called the other chef aside as if he wanted to have a word. Words were not what he had in mind and I have never seen (or heard) such a resoundingly spectacular slap in my life. It drew blood. And then of course there was much scuffling, slipping (a bucket of water was kicked over) sliding, rustling, jostling, ripping, thumping against the glass (to the soundtrack of intakes of breath from the ever expanding audience). Fights in real life are never as clear-cut or clean as in the movies, huh? And the crowd quickly gathered and blocked our view so we carried on eating our delicious Tandoori Chicken as if nothing was happening. And once the fight was over, out came a woman to with a mop to clean up the blood and water. Ha. My mother thought this very apt and very funny.
- Listened in part horror and part bemusement to three Kenyan men tell my mother that they loved her art and her work and her style but, and I quote, “the only problem with you is the colour of your skin” Bloody hell. I think she made them feel suitably shamed…… sis man. If I had a buck for every time someone commented on my skin colour I’d be as rich as Fredrick Chiluba. I suppose its good to be a minority, see how it is, but sometimes I really do tire of this. Perhaps I shall write a post on this one day. Perhaps not.
- Visited the Nairobi National Museum and saw Ahmed’s skeleton. WOW. Ahmed is an elephant, who lived in Marsabit National Park and died in the 70’s. He was MASSIVE and had gianormous tusks. Incredible.
-Came back on the bus feeling contented and happy, listening to my ipod and watching a big fat planet guide us home.
I took loads of photos of my mothers paintings on the walls but can't get them off my phone. So here is a link to previous post with photos of some of the paintings - you can't get a sense of the scale of them (most of them are pretty big) but to give you an idea.
My pathtic linking attempt does not do justice to Ernest's very good and clear linking instructions (thank you, I finally found them!). I can't find the world with the chain thingy though so this will have to do for now. Bad student, bad student.