Blue in Watamu


Between you and me I didn’t feel like posting anything this week. I’m totally devoid of any urge to write. I’m not stimulated enough. Word document make me nauseas. Words feel like glue. Quick sand, that’s what it is. Quick sand. The more you struggle, the deeper you get, so you don’t, you sit still and hope you are saved…by yourself. And so if you find this post to be somewhat rudderless, perhaps even without any structure it’s because I’m trying to seek it just like you. Today I walk away from the thematic and rumble.

I’m writing this from a penthouse suite in some cottage apartments in Watamu; Blue Cove. Its 6.35am, Saturday morning. I’m at the balcony, sitting on a wooden chair and balancing my laptop from my knees. I’m wearing nothing but boxers – and a grave expression if you want to count that. I’m having black tea, warm, no sugar. In the darkness of dawn the only sound is of the ocean slapping against the jagged rocks a hundred meters away. An unrelenting breeze bristles my goatee. It’s almost blissful, almost.

I have written the above intro about five times already, and I’m just about sick of it. I thought coming out here in my underwear and watching the sea beyond would spur a burst of creativity. Nothing doing, I might as well have stuck laundry pegs on my nipples. I’m not having writer’s block. I’m not. Hungry writers don’t have writer’s block. It’s too exorbitant. Too cultivated. In fact I can’t say I have ever had a writer’s block. Only real writers have writers block, authors and them hotshot writers who hire cottages in Zanzibar for 90k a night to write. I’m just tired in the mind and in the body. As the late Bernie Mac says in the Original Kings of Comedy, “My body is weeaary.”

But it’s more than my body. I’ve not been happy the past few days; at least as I’d like to be. I have things on my mind. Weighty things. You’d imagine sitting out here, looking out at the infinite blue (dark at this hour) sea would buoy my spirits, but sometimes the sea will not come through for you when you need it. So you will forgive me if this post turns a bit somber if not random and disjointed, it’s a reflection of my mind at this moment. Pick through it for the things you might find useful and don’t be surprised if you come up sh0rt. I know I have already.

Perhaps I need to mention that I’m reading this book I read ten years ago, The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D Salinger. A twisted-ass and mentally reclusive writer with such scattered thought pattern. It’s an excellent read. First time I read it I was just getting into my twenties a time of great confusion and education. A time when music really mattered. So reading it again is like listening to some old record. Yes, record, what an old beautiful word.

Last evening our hosts here took us out for a drink at this club called Kalahari. The place was sort of tacky but the music was terrific – at least at the beginning. I ordered a shandi. But boy was I feeling so bleeding blue. Not depressed, just blue. Depressed is when you feel your life is over, blue is when you want to watch something that will make you smile, like a real fat Italian hotshot missing his seat and landing on his ass. Blue is an infant depression. It’s a small phase that you have to embrace because it’s a precursor to happiness, the darkest hour before dawn kinda thing.

Kalahari was swarming with Italian types with their small tee shirts and hairy legs. And do you know what Italians in small shirts and hairy legs attract? Hookers. That’s what. The place was teeming with them; they were practically coming in through the window; tacky looking hookers in cheap short dresses that glittered in darkness. Indeed all that glitters is not gold, it’s hookers. Most of them had on these clear heels with toes painted some gaudy colors. They nursed their sodas, getting up to dance in a way that I

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suppose Italians found seductive. Most were pathetically skinny, their bones jumping out of their skins. It reminded me of an incidence in Uni. We were in a famous/notorious pub in an entertainment strip called Kabalagala in Uganda; the pub was called Capital Pub. It was known for hookers, hell every club in Kabalagala was known for hookers. Anyway I hated the loos of this pub because they were always full; full of pimp-looking types and sweaty guys washing their armpits in the sink and all. Yes, push away your breakfast. So I would always prefer to go back out, around the pub and take a leak in an alley. Nobody washed their armpits there. So who do I find there this one time? Freddy*. Who was Freddy? Freddy was this snooty goody-two-shoes kinda fella I shared a hostel with, the kind of guy who always acted all self righteous and classy. He made me a bit sick, Freddy. What was good old Freddy doing behind the semi-darkened club? Well, he was with a hooker. No way!


What was good old Freddy doing with a hooker in that alley? I can tell you they were not filling the crossword puzzle. Anyway, in the semi darkness I knew it was Freddy because of one, his height (he was pretty tall bugger) and two he had these terrific white shoes that he only wore to go clubbing, I think they were Sketchers or something, nobody wore shoes any whiter in Uganda and Freddie treated those shoes better than he treated his women. And lastly his voice; he had one of those posh low voices; he was one of those guys who talked like they were talking to a horse they liked. Freddie cooed.


The hooker was sort of bending over, holding the wall with her two hands and good old Freddy was getting his money’s worth from that position. She was cooing something to Freddie, something like, “This is it today.” But when I listened closely I realized that it wasn’t her who was saying that, it was Freddie! And she was repeating his words. “This is it today.” My goodness, of all things to tell a woman, even a hooker? This is it today? What happened to saying something manly if you really have to say anything at all? Something like, “Who is Tarzan gal?” or “Say Mufasa. Say it, say Mufasa like you fear him!” Hehehe. Cut!

Look, I dunno, but “This is it today?” Banange ssebo! Hapana! I remember trying not to laugh. I remember staring into the wall before me and hoping I would pee forever. And do you know the amount of marks I took off Freddie for this little faux paus, his white shoes not withstanding? A hat full. And there I was peeing against the wall listening to the “This is it today” orchestra humming to my left and thinking to myself whatever it was today I hoped to hell it was her birthday.

But it was disgusting in many ways, and I’m not being self righteous here, I mean for one the alley stunk of urine. And it was dingy. And the hooker wore one of those cheap short shinny numbers that they get a bang (pun) from, and it was pulled all the way up to her waist and she was holding a small blue purse up in one of her hands pressed against the wall, and she had on very high heels on her legs spread apart like she was being frisked by the popo. The only saving grace in this pathetic tableau was the fact that she had a terrific body. I mean it. She had a knock-out body. If you been to Uganda you would know what I’m talking about. Anyway, being in Kalahari watching them seedy looking hookers, all I could think of was old Freddy and him saying in his snobbish voice, “This is it today.”

I lost interest in my shandi after a while and decided to leave the gang and head back to the cottage to sleep.

Back in the room I tried writing something but I just couldn’t. And as any writer will tell you it’s frustrating not being able to write. It’s like trying to shoot pool with a rope. So anyway, as I sat in my room watching the overhead rotary fan chop through the air, I had an urge to talk to someone who doesn’t know me. Someone who would listen and say something like, it will be okay. So I called Safaricom customer service, I figured if I can’t have a full conversation on my phone without the calling dropping then the least they can tell me is that it will be okay. Or this is it today. Hehehe. (Hey I’m trying to cheer up here, do you mind?)

It was past midnight. Miraculously someone answered. Problem was it was a guy called Ken. I wasn’t about to talk to a man to feel cheerful. So I hang up and tried again, and after ten minutes I went through. This time a chick. I can’t remember her name because they always say their names so damned fast.

She asked me what the problem was and I said I didn’t exactly have a problem related to phone or the network. I told her I was low.

There was silence.

Low? She asked.

Yes, low.

Oh, she mumbled obviously taken aback. She asked me again if there was anything else I would like her to help me with.

I need someone to talk to, someone who doesn’t know me.

Er, uhm..uhm…I’m sorry I can’t help you. Sorry.

Can’t or won’t?

I’m not able to because it’s not part of our services here I’m afraid.

What if you are the only one who can save my life? I mean what is a dead subscriber to you?

Uncomfortable silence, which meant she was trying to think. She obviously thought I was mad or drunk or idle. And I sort of felt sorry for her because I was putting her on the spot. I know the calls are recorded and so she couldn’t just hang up on me. Could she?

Look, all I want you to do is to tell me that I will be okay. That’s it.

That you will be okay?


Okay, you

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will be okay.

Say it like you mean it.

(Giggle) You will be okay.

You are just saying it so that you can get off the phone and go back to sleep.

(She sort of laughs) No I was working, I wasn’t sleeping.

Yeah right, you Safaricom Care people are always sleeping on the job.

No, but you will be okay.


Yes, I promise.

Thanks. Now go back to sleep.

She laughed and said that glib thing they say, “Thank you for calling Safaricom blah blah…”

I hanged up, brushed my teeth and jumped into bed.

So anyway later in the day I will have a terrific idea to walk the beach and ask people about what recently made them real low or sad or depressed. And in their stories I would find some sort of catharsis. And I would take close up pictures of their somber eyes as they narrated their stories and I would post it here as my blog story for Monday, under some bleedy heart title like “Bleeding at the beach.” Only I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to conduct a sufficient interview in Kiswahili. After one interview with this guy who started talking about how his camel dies recently and how broke he is now, I gave up and started back for the cottage.

On my way back I will see this young guy with a real bloated and elderly white woman having a picnic by the beach. She looked about 58yrs old and he, 24yrs. The woman is rubbing his toned body with what I want to imagine is sunscreen. I will imagine that it’s love, for her not for him. For him I imagine it’s the bottom line. I will wonder what it a man has to give up to be with a woman he doesn’t find desirable…apart from a ticket to Europe, that is. I then realized something, that all those “we sell Viagra here” signs in most pharmacies in this area are not for the randy old Italians but for people like that kid being oiled by that woman.

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  1. Hmmm…… envy you the place not the mood, Oh well, its the low times that make you appreciate the good times…

  2. i hate trying not to crack in our open office esp about those safcom ladies. i once called a zain( then) lady but those ones hung up on you or risk getting a phone bill forwaded to you.

  3. i love trying not to crack in our open office esp about the safcom ladies. i once called a celtel (then) lady but those ones drop the calls for you or risk getting the phone bill fotwaded to you.

  4. This is one of my favorites… I can see the struggle and yes, in this moment when you admit to being fallible… you are more real to me; your reader. Thanks Biko for letting us in to your life. 🙂

  5. This post is rated PG. 🙂

    This company called Zappos in the US. They have this ‘happiness policy’ – like their goal is to make the world a happier place. They sell shoes but you can just about call them if you need to know where you can get Pizza at some odd hour in the night or when you ‘just need to talk’. Guess it’s gonna take a (looooong) while before that can catch up in this part of the world.

    Cheer up. It’s never that serious.

  6. Kahuna! Ati Freddy LOL! Has the name been changed to hide his true identity coz me thinks I know who that is….Poor guy, someone ought to trace that unlucky lass and ask her if indeed that was the day. Tihihihi!

    I totally agree with mrsmwiti on two levels; one is that this is that this post is definitely rated PG; and two, its never that serious.

  7. Hey, so what todays blog is insipid. So what you are mortal afterall. This is today. You’ll be okay…
    Effort noted and reader appreciates.

  8. Its very saddening you had to call a stranger to have them tell you that it will be okay, while i’m sure you have friends who will gladly listen and really mean it when they say it.

    Maybe thats what Freddy was looking for or getting out of the hooker with her hands on the street walls?

    A solution for the moment…

    You will be okay.

  9. in your low moments u make the best of everything especially the freddy story….”this is it today”…..hehehehehe…
    it will be ok

  10. i remember once calling safcom customer care cos there was no electricity, the phone related problem being my phone may die and then i wouldn’t be able to use their credit anymore, i can’t remember what she said but she wasn’t mean i think those customer care people must get a lot of in the middle of the night weird calls.

    i have a feeling i will have to fight not to coopt “this is it today” into other middle of the night shenanigans.

  11. i always have some witty comment to make on your articles, but not today, I’m more blue today that the clearest part of the Indian ocean, so im wondering just like you did whether things will be okay.

  12. kwani this is a blue month?,,,,i woke up feeling so low today,thinkin how cd it be esp. on a monday morning,but you hav somehow cheered me up,,,,,,,,you sure have a way with words,,,and this is it today?seriously Freddie?

  13. First time I commented on ur blog, ’twas on The Forgotten Souls Of The Night and I figured there’ll be a-rambling dozen times from yah in the future. And this is one. Now, did I read you taking some tea as you wrote? The Wag (that verbose fiend on monday daily) suggested that coffee does it better for addling a writer’s creative juices. Maybe u should take him up on the suggestion. As for the PG rating of this post, no comment. Wish u a quick recovery, Mr.-Earnest-Hemmingways-on-his -low-day!

  14. “Say Mufasa. Say it, say Mufasa like you fear him!” LMAO!! As usual you have made my Monday. Whatever it is you are going through, it shall pass. You will be ok.

  15. aaawww…. stunning piece of work here. amazing what comes out of a “blue” mood. if i were you, i’d stay blue and just keep on writing! ;- )* you what? called who? ha ha ha! lol. fantastic. on another note – catcher in the rye…. like!

    1. Si you know I appreciate every comment here? 🙂 Plus it’s kinda hard to comment on each comment. Plus this section is not mine. It belongs to you.

      1. haiya! you responded? now ain’t that the bestest?! 😉 and that’s a good one actually – ati hii hapa ni yetu? done! on another note, seriously, i hope the blues fly past. coz it can suck to high heaven when they stick around too long.

  16. I see your shade of blue lightening as you write…really random piece and still im cracked up by the thought of being asked to shout out “mufasa” in the hight of things

  17. Biko…am sooo low today too. I woke up and cried unto the Good Lord, but nothing has changed.
    Hope yours is better 🙂
    You will be okay so will I.

  18. a great story under the circumstances…you still managed to pull it off . lol ATI MUFASA! i am assuming like michael jackson, THIS IS IT was his final hurrah!! to close this chapter in his life

  19. That Freddy story is funny!

    Happiness is elusive, at least for me. Most days I just live through trying to keep away the blues.

    Be happy that you can be happy sometimes. Everything works out in the end.

  20. everyone goes thru this phase of feeling infancy depression,nway i thot just the view of the blue waters and white beaches would make you feel much better,it works for me. nice read

  21. ati “…all that glitters is not gold, its hookers…”, that sure knocked me off my seat. lucky i aint fat like the ‘italian dude’. Great post as always!

  22. Since I discovered your blog I have not missed reading a single one!You’ve got mad time you are feeling low, call me 🙂

  23. Loved it. Felt the struggle. And the quicksand. You let us take a walk through the rooms of your psyche…

    Left me feeling bluer than I was feeling before I started reading. Lol. I’d actually been wondering how to get rid of this pesky melancholy and thought-oh wait, its Monday! lemme check if biko has posted. And instead of a happy, cute story…lol.

    The darkest hour before the dawn…

  24. catcher in the rye is an awesome book 🙂 and on the bright side, there are worse places to feel blue in than watamu…

  25. This has to be the meanest piece from you. Seriously! I make it a point to read all your posts, but this one right here I had to post a comment about.

  26. You called customer care! he he he… You are crazy!
    Thanks for writing even when you felt like not! We love you right back!

  27. Those kids often need more than viagra. It don’t create visuals does it.

    Biko next time you’re Blue in Watamu, remember you have neighbors on the coast. Not to doubt Sararicom’s therapy services though. *grin*

    1. @shikimsa – Guess, Viagra, tequila and turn the lights off……. should work. trying to remove visuals from brain LOL

  28. You know what, this ones really good, it’s an easy read… especially considering you had a hard time writing. This is it… Today!!

  29. “Who is Tarzan gal?” or “Say Mufasa. Say it, say Mufasa like you fear him!” Hehehe. Cut!

    Loved this part!..hahaha

  30. Come on Biko, this is you “devoid of any urge to write” . . . .seriously!!! now that’s just showing off . . but please do it more often- I’m not complaining. Not in the least bit 🙂

  31. you just made me a little blue Biko, good thing I enjoyed the piece as I got bluer.. Last week’s Farouk piece also got me a bit blue because I was so afraid for him. As everyone else has said, every dawn brings a new promise keep your eyes peeled for that

  32. I like the way you put it, “I’m totally devoid of any urge to write.” At first I was expecting to find a short post but hell no! You got it all Biko, the post I ‘ve just went through is stunning. My spirits were buoyed as I read through your creative post. Good read.

  33. “Say Mufasa. Say it, say Mufasa like you fear him!”


    ‘Nuff said!

  34. Lol!! Mad man!! I did wrong to read this in a jav cos I’m laughing uncontrollably like mad person (read you) 🙂

  35. ‘whats a dead subsciber to you?’ im still trying to figure out how I would have responded if I had been the customer care Biko. A+ for thinking on your feet.

  36. we all have those days. I know all about the Safaricom Customer Care therapy 😀 His name was Bernard.
    It will be OK 🙂

    Haiya! You have a goatee?

  37. as i read this, i am suffering from food poisoning, i am at camp and 70-something kids need my attention. a few minutes later 70-something more will come…wait, they are here! and these ones will leave. i am sick, i cant write, my blog looks old crumpled newspapers…but, it will be okay. great read. (i think i’ll use this as the intro for my new post.)

  38. I really want to empathise with you but all I think about when I read this blog is Freddy with the white shoes having his way with a awesome bodied purse carrying lass against a wall in a urine filled back alley saying “This is it today.” Then I laugh and laugh. #thatisall

  39. As much as its laughable i can bet you, you’ve raised a damn ass idea into people’s head of calling safcom when the blues set in!

  40. That ‘2 weeks if you work in advertising’ line is laced with so much Mad Men innuendo. If it was intended, then this article just gained so many coolness points.

  41. i can’t stop laughing, this Freddy story is very funny…Who is Tarzan gal?” or “Say Mufasa. Say it, say Mufasa like you fear him!”…this made it for me

    Stay in the blue a little bit longer if u’ll write such grt stories…

    You will be ok, this is today!! lol

  42. It’s interesting that you were blue yet people could not see through it. I once had the same feeling at a similar setting if not at the same place 🙂 and even though i did well to cover it up (at least i tell myself) i ended up with a great feeling at the end of it all. Good post Biko.

  43. I have recently stumbled on your blog and I must admit its a blog worth reading.Try and check on the grammatical errors(yeah yeah you had writers whatever in this one).We can forgive pronunciations but heck get the language right.