A young man, in his late 20s, walked past CJ’s, a petite, perky and beautiful girl by his side, and saw several people wearing mournful faces on some chairs outside the eatery.
He was hungry, looking for an eatery joint along Koinange Street. Bundles of people; men, women, boys and girls; and maybe the usual lesbian who hates the politics of gender dichotomy, were hovering around the place.
They were queuing up for junk.
That is not a mystery because Kenya is unique like that and Nairobi leads by example. Think about a person who could not afford kidney dialysis and he still voted in a government that thinks about health the same way a man thinks about beer. Or a city electing a governor who won’t hesitate to deliver trucks of sewage to your doorstep.
I went to CJs twice in the same evening, and two times, things went wrong. And this was after forgiving them for the lack of creativity on the decision to build a glass house for a restaurant. Even the staircase that takes you to the upper sitting area is a life hazard, especially for people on the good side of body weight.
The street idea of the term PR in Kenya, or what my kin call “sinema”, is the art of making things look better than they are or tricking the masses into thinking that something is beautiful when it does not exist in the first place. Again, apart from the good Doctor, Governor of Machakos County and Jubilee government, no one else depends, and succeeds, in using PR the way CJ’s does in its ambitious effort to take away Koinange Street from its real owners, who, by coincidence, deserve a CJ as a payback to the services they offer to our society.
I suspect that one of the biggest successes of sponsor culture is the passage of pepper-eating habits from these uncles to young girls. Grab a girl from the streets, randomly, and tell her you love “firifiri” and my friend, that’s a headway, way ahead of guys who ask for water when they come across chili.
From outside the eatery looks like one big ball of faulty disco light that holds scores of people. And these people have a clear disregard for dietetics and the economy. They like to consume fat buttocks of chicken reared in factory farms in the same way they vote for rich people because they do not need our money.
Such is the success of CJs in playing a PR on unsuspecting “middle-class” Nairobians such that their chicken is actually tasty. Their Caribbean Jerk Chicken is not for jerks only as it is properly marinated with processed spices to leave your buds dripping, and the potatoes, a constant entry into every CJ’s plate, are done in variations that will trick you to break your piggy-bank.
Because it’s damn expensive.
In a country where the average salary for a nanny is 5,000 ($50), selling a plate of food for 1300 bob (13 bucks) is not only insensitive but also predatory. And trust me, once the hype dies and girls stop demanding for CJ’s, the business will need a bit of luck to keep some seats outside. I’d really want to be wrong on this one.
If you tell one thousand girls to cook pancakes, you will get 1000 types of pancakes. And I think, if you tell ten restaurants to make you passion juice, you will get 10 types of passion juice. And if they repeat, you will have 20 types in total. And this is an area I like to contradict myself because CJ’s has the best passion juice in town. You will buy it five times and enjoy it five times, something rare in a country where consistency is frowned upon.
Long time ago, hot pepper was an exclusive to rugged uncles who would bite it slowly as they cleared a plate of Githeri. I suspect that one of the biggest successes of sponsor culture is the passage of pepper-eating habits from these uncles to young girls. Grab a girl from the streets, randomly, and tell her you love “firifiri” and my friend, that’s a headway, way ahead of guys who ask for water when they come across chili.
Whoever supplies pepper to CJ’s, and the guy who makes their hot-pepper kachumbari gets a 5/5 from this column.
As I walked out I saw the guy with a perky girl sharing a meal from one plate and I knew that they will feel scammed because the portions are not generous. But again, that’s a girl for keeps, all-weather damsel in a city where men carry egos in their wallets.