A Salsa in Nairobi –



“What are you cigarette smoking?” asked the chubby, coated-up Kenyan that experienced abruptly appeared on the vacant rooftop where by Rohini and I were being cigarette smoking a tiny joint, reverse Treehouse.

We experienced just wrapped up an magnificent night of live Latin new music delivered by a Latin trio made up of Perrozompopo, Pino and Lucas, clean off the boat in Kenya.

Chubbs grabbed my wrist and I observed flashes of when I was arrested in Zanzibar for keeping a joint. It was straightforward to joke my way out of that just one but I was warned not to get arrested in Kenya. The police aren’t as sympathetic.

“Who are you?” Rohini jumped to her feet as Chubbs grabbed my wrist and took the joint. “Let him go! Never you contact him!”

For a moment I imagined I required to step in but Rohini experienced flipped, likely Kung-Fu-Hustle-satisfies-Chuck-Norris-on-a-negative-hair-working day. And Chubbs was on the receiving finish. I viewed in awe as I slapped absent his hand. A next, lesser man experienced appeared and it appeared that these two were making an attempt to perform fantastic-cop-negative-cop in a Police Academy kinda way.

“Who is your boss?” Rohini demanded. “Who is your employer? What is your name? Discover oneself!”

“It’s Ok,” I stood, grinning. “We’re gonna go. You fellas love the joint.”

“You are not heading everywhere,” Chubbs grabbed my belt-loop at the base of my tailbone. Just one thing I hate is getting informed what I simply cannot do. The other is staying grabbed by a entire stranger with a poor agenda.

Primarily by my belt loop at the base of my tailbone.

“Don’t you dare touch him!” Rohini jumped on his arm. Chubbs momentarily held on to my belt loop. Realising that these fellas weren’t cops, I assisted his detachment by twisting his wrist again.

“Don’t contact, mate,” I warned with a smile. “Not a superior thought.”

I was worried that Rohini was about to slice some throats open up. These men necessary defense from her and it appeared that I was their saviour as the second male stood speechless, getting no clue how to cope with this backfiring condition.

It was a TIA minute – This is Africa. It takes place a lot in crime-opportunistic metropolitan areas like Nairobi. Shady people today see a window and go for it. But they hadn’t counted on – as neither did I – a feisty Indian woman to be ready – and pretty substantially ready – to rip off their scrotum and plug their arses with it.

“Don’t you contact him!” she continuously yelled in Chubbs experience, almost bumping him back again with her upper body when he went for a second achieve.

I seen his other hand achieving up. Sensing that he was about to generate some wings by currently being thrown off the rooftop if he so significantly as moved a hair on Rohini, I grabbed his rising hand, pressing tricky on the foundation where by it will become the wrist, and mentioned calmly,

“Don’t contact her or you won’t make it by the night,” staring him down.

“Come on, let’s go,” I explained to Rohini, dragging her in the direction of the stairs to the car park underneath.

Turns out that Chubbs has a suicidal streak when he designed an additional endeavor to seize me just as I termed out to our buddies piling into a vehicle under.

“Yusuf!” I termed down. “Could ya give us a hand, mate?” Chubbs grabbed my belt loop yet again. I twisted his wrist back to launch. “We’re being harassed up listed here.” I pushed him away. “We’re going, mate. I recommend you do the exact.”

Yusuf began to make his way over to the stairs when the two fellas quickly disappeared into the shadows.

“I’m likely to obtain these fellas!” Rohini was thirsty for blood as I virtually carried her down the stairs kickin’ ‘n’ screamin’. “They took our fuckin’ joint!”

“TIA,” I grinned. “This is Africa.”

“Come on,” reported Yusuf, “we’re going to Black Diamond. We’ll meet up with the guys there.”

The fellas were being the Latin trio Rohini and I had fulfilled at Ata’s put the early morning soon after we arrived in Nairobi. Ata, a Nicaraguian centered in Kenya for the last couple several years, is a gifted musician and builder of anything at all. We grew to become close friends by means of Rohini when he experienced appear down to Kilifi with Julio, our existing host, a couple of weekends back again.

Ata had orgainised for his brother, Ramon (Perrozompopo) and two other Latin musicians to occur to Kenya for a small tour.

“His brother is a truly well-known musician in the Latin entire world,” Rohini described.

We sat in the driveway of his residence on a sunny afternoon. Julio experienced popped over from operate and we fulfilled Ramon from Nicaragua, Pino from Cuba and Lucas from Spain. Guitars were being whipped out faster than at a Mexican stand-off and the jam commenced.

A cahon box-drum appeared as did smaller bongo drums. Instruments were handed close to, swapping hands. Latin music have been sung with going emotion. Despite the fact that I was surrounded by singersongwriters at the best of their expertise, I was invited to jam out some of my addresses which they did not look to brain.

They even jammed alongside with my variation of Radiohead’s Streetspirit.

I leaned in excess of to Rohini. “I can’t believe this,” I whispered. “I’m in Nairobi.

In Kenya.

In Africa.

Jamming some Latin tunes with Latin musicians!”

The future day we returned for some additional jams. Ata had organised a Latin night time at The Bus, a dance bar in Nairobi that experienced an initial double-decker London pink bus parked in entrance of the bar. It had been transformed into a smoking lounge and business office space.

Ata positioned me at the doorway to handle the income and tickets and promote Saturday’s huge gig at Treehouse. Rohini labored the Latin food escort services in DC. I figured it getting a Latin night, I’d get into character.

I wore bell-base jeans, a purple button-up shirt and my fedora. Then came the Latino accent. I broke out of character when people questioned me in which I was from. Surprised at the substantial Latin neighborhood residing in Nairobi I played it risk-free and resumed my thick Aussie accent.

“You do a good Latino,” some praised, scratchin’ their heads in confusion as they headed to the bar.

“And recall to stretch if you are gonna dance salsa,” I explained in Latino. “You could break a hip bone.”


“Only if you guarantee to dance with me,” some ladies would giggle as they strutted off to shake some hips.

The Latin songs tore me away from the doorway every single now and yet again as I danced with Rohini who took time absent from the kitchen. Imitating a salsa go that I under no circumstances discovered I managed to make it glance like my hips have been Brazilian. The bash ended at about just one in the AM. We continued the night time at Havanna’s. Ro and I the only ones dancing on an improvised dance floor before heading again to Julio’s at 3.

On Friday we chilled, developing up electrical power for Saturday night. Just following ten, to an viewers of about fifty punters, the Latin trio performed collectively, separately and then jointly all over again. Rohini and I tore up the dance floor.

“You guys keep dancing bring about it is earning every person else want to dance,” Yusuf, a single of the organisers, patted us on the back again.

And dance we did. The group just about didn’t want to enable the trio go. The men invited the seem engineer, Jam, from the Philippines to engage in one of his tracks. He blew absolutely everyone away when he hit the phase. And when DJ Kali hit the decks with traditional late 90s and early noughties dance-ground hits, our ft were pumping.

“Let’s go smoke,” I instructed to Rohini at the time the night finished.

After she just about killed the two would-be extortioners, we stacked into the car with Yusuf and headed above to Black Diamond.

“The a single position you ought to generally say ‘no’ to if anyone implies likely,” Rohini experienced warned the DJ, the trio and me.

The position was packed with prostitutes. The total location reeked of shadiness, the sort of place that even pitch black couldn’t make look great. Rohini and I danced to a single track and determined it was time to go house.

“I’m continue to pissed off at those people assholes on the roof,” she grunted. “They took our fuckin’ joint.”

I grinned, quoting Stephenwolfe. “We’ll roll an additional one, just like the other a person.”

The subsequent working day I sat on the laptop computer to generate up the journey when I discovered the Distant Family members newsletter in my newsfeed on Facebook.

Grammy- nominee Nicaraguan artist, Perrozompopo, playing July 18th.

“Er, Rohini,” I turned to her. “Says right here that Ramon is a Grammy nominee.”

“Yeah,” she reported. “You didn’t know?”

I blinked.

“Are you telling me that I’ve been jamming with a Grammy nominee, participating in Latin songs in Africa?”

“Yeah,” she grinned.

TIA – This Is Africa.

 

Initially posted on The Nomadic Diaries.

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A Salsa in Nairobi –