Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Other Night at Java

Java House is a small chain of local coffee house type restaurants that have a full menu. It’s one of my favorite places to hang out. I’ve been to nearly all the locations around Nairobi and I have my favorites.

The other night a friend and I went to the one at Junction Shopping Mall for a quick dinner. This one isn’t a location I get to very often. Perhaps I’m experiencing an unusual amount of enjoyment observing my surroundings here in Nairobi, but it was a particularly good night for people watching at Java Junction.

It was about 8:30 when we arrived. The place wasn’t completely full – but it was busy none-the-less. We were sitting near one end of the place not far from the door. I wished I had a small camera that wouldn’t have been perceptible to passersby since all of the images I will attempt to describe are far better in a visual than I could put in words.
One man walked by with a bright red outfit on. The edges were trimmed in red plaid and it was beaded and had little round metal dangles hanging all over it. What it said was: Masai, but not a real Masai, more of a performer in a singing or dance group costume. (What was he doing out in public like that, without being the entertainment?)

A few minutes later a small group of ladies dressed in tight and shiny clothing and very high heels walked in. One woman was wearing bright red woven coasters on her ears. (I mean they were earrings, but the same thing without an earring wire on it is sold in the market in sets of 6 as coasters.)

She had in tow a little boy – not older than 3; very cute little bewildered guy and definitely a ‘point five’ as they are called here, meaning one parent is white and the other Kenyan. When he turned we could see this little lad was sporting a mullet hair style, and a nice full one at that. Oh my.

There were other interesting folks about; I guess more variety than I’m normally used to since the guy with the big pokey afro was interesting too. But most of the others I’ve already mentioned stood out more than the usual crowd.

Out in the parking lot as we were leaving (9:45 or 10) there were several men working on building some kind of covered platform. I tried to get my brain around what it was they were making. It was too far from the restaurant to be an extension of it with outdoor seating. My friend and I discussed it; eventually we decided it might be a cart return. We have never seen one here and it struck us as extraordinarily funny. We first giggled; they burst out laughing as we dashed to the car.

I just can’t imagine it being used.

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