Massage

   75    
360

I’m writing this from Maputo, Mozambique. There are no boda bodas in Maputo. That’s the first thing I noticed. None of that passive aggression on the roads, the gauntlets dropped at wheels, the mean stares behind helmet visors, the rat race to Nowhereland. Second thing I noticed is that there is distinctly less honking on the roads. Maybe they don’t honk because they are not as angry as we are. Or they aren’t in as much of a hurry. There are loads of Double Cabins. I know certain peopleI won’t say whowho would love it here because of that. They’d write their names on the driver’s doors, complete with their postal addresses in case the car is lost and found and has to be mailed out by post. 

People here park on pavements. It’s a bit disconcerting. They actually also believe in traffic lights. They serve chips with everythingit’s like the curse of a nation, this campaign to stuff everybody with potatoes. They have Minute Maid in a can, which also doesn’t make any sense. Thankfully, they are as corrupt as we are. Traffic cops ask for bribes. The people can be as insincere as we can. I went to take a Covid test for my return journey and a skinny guy wearing skinnier jeans ripped at the knees (probably scaling down his morals] pulled me into a corridor of the pathology lab in a nice part of town and said, “Normally we don’t email results but if you pay me 1000 I will email it.” I said, “Come on now.” I went on my phone and converted the Mozambican Metical into Kenyan shillings. I paid for it and went to Inhassoro, a small town 10 hours up North, for work. He never emailed. I called and when he got on the phone he pretended he didn’t understand or speak English. Their matatus plying the longer distance pull a carrier which carries passengers’ luggage. It’s like everybody is off to the beach. 

When I checked into a small boutique hotel a couple of days ago, the chap at the receptiona guy with a hairstyle like Mr T’s,  tried hooking me up with a hooker. Of course he didn’t say, “Mr. Jackson, do you want a hooker?” That would have been crass and boring. He was subtle. He asked me if I wanted a massage. Thankfully, I come from a land where that word ‘massage”especially advertised on road signs, is a euphemism for a hooker. I immediately knew the horse he was backing. Of course I said no. Hookers interest me as much as colonoscopy does. 

Two hours ago I came back to Maputo from Inhassoro. I had reserved and paid for a room in a different boutique hotel before I left. Quint place; white, big windows overlooking the ocean along Av. da Marginal. They told me they’d reserved room 10. When I arrived, my room was gone. The lady at the reservation desk showed me a room downstairs, next to the reception. I  said, no, I can’t stay in that room. What happened to Room 10? She said the boss took it. I asked, Took it where? She said, I mean, the boss came and is staying in it currently. But I already paid for it? Does that not matter to the owner? I cried. She said she was sorry, it’s the boss but this is also a nice room. I said this is not a nice room, I can hear guys in the kitchen banging pans. She said, those are not pans. I said, Then what the hell is that ban—, look kick the boss out, get me my room.” They didn’t, so I got my money back and hailed a cab to the hotel I had stayed in previously. When I walked in I found the same chap at the reception eating a wrap. I said, “Hi man,” and to his hairstyle, I said, “Hi Mr T?”

I checked in; room 12 on the third floor, the top floor. I like rooms at the very top. I dropped my luggage and ran out again to eat dinner at a seafront restaurant called South Beach which had serious-looking folk who peer at the wine list longer than necessary. I ate alone. Rather, I ate with Ken Burns who was talking to me about filmmaking on Masterclass.com. Ken Burns speaks so well, despite his nappy hairstyle. When I came back to my hotel the guy said, “Hey, are you sure you don’t want a massage?” I told him I was sure that  I was really knackered. I intend to have a shower and call it an early night. He said, that’s why you need a massage. He was not eating a wrap anymore. Here, have a look, he said, firing his tablet.  I said, no really, I’m fine. He insisted, just look okay? Just look. No harm. OK? OK? Here. 

His tablet was a mess; it was greasy and it had a cracked screen. I think it had fallen off the third floor a few times. Or a car ran over it. Or he had been caught in an elephant stampede. He used it as a coaster sometimes. The screen looked like it could cause a disease that infects your thyroids. Which reminds me, the other day I was watching Peaky Blinders and there was a soundtrack titled ‘Never fight a man with a perm” where they sing, ‘you look like a walking thyroid/ you are not a man, you’re a gland. I found that insanely hysterical. 

Anyway, his tab resembled the underside of the devil. I leaned on the counter with one elbow as he scrolled through a collection of the most unattractive masseuses I have ever seen. 

This one?

No.

This one?

No.

This one is really nice.

No, she isn’t. 

And this one?

No. 

Wait, this is one I have to show you.

It’s fine. Look, can I have some cold water? 

He looked disappointed because I had rejected his collage of masseuses (is that the plural of masseuse?) which meant I had questioned his taste. And men get touchy if you question their taste in women. We get great validation if someone thinks our woman is stunning. Don’t come back as a man if you haven’t already; it’s a life leashed on ego. 

He came back with a bottle of water; a big, sweaty bottle by CocaCola called Bonaqua. This is Dasani’s distant cousin. I don’t think they talk. Family. Don’t act like yours is perfect.  I said goodnight and carried my water up to the third floor where I swallowed my Nexium tablet. I was supposed to have taken it thirty minutes before my dinner but who remembers these things all the time? I have gastritis. Before that the GP was treating me for H Pylori which infuriated the Gastroenterologist I saw later for a second opinion. She shook her head and muttered, “Why do these people have to treat everybody for H Pylori.” I think there is a conspiracy by GPs who attended a midnight meeting in an abandoned warehouse in Limuru and there they agreed to treat everybody who complains of stomach pains with H Pylori meds. The kit they give you is worse than eating humble pie. 

Anyway, after taking my Nexium I showered with very hot water to cleanse myself of Mr. T’s tablet and its contents. I sat on the bed then my phone rang. I went to the table where my phone was. It was Tamms. I stood by a window as we spoke. She said they were having chapos and beans for dinner. I said, “Oh my God, I could kill for chapo and beans.” Yeah, it was nice, what did you have? I said I had grilled chicken and grilled calamari. She said, but you don’t like seafood. 

After the phone call I sat back at the edge of the bed and stared at the bathroom door, still steamy. I thought about hotel rooms, how they are a history unto themselves. I imagine that on this very bed and indeed every hotel bed I have sat and slept on, someone had also sat at its edge, held their heads in their hands and cried. Or lay in bed in deep thought. In the bathroom someone had shaved their beard as they hummed a song they loved but didn’t know the words to. In a hotel room, someone had told a lie on the phone or held the receiver against their heads and said, “No, no pickles please. And can I have more ice cubes?” In a hotel room someone had feared for their future or questioned their competence or knelt on the carpet and looked under the bed for their missing sock. In a hotel room someone had known for a fact that after the trip was over, that there was no way they’d be with someone who shaved their pubic hair in the shape of an apple. 

I then fired up my laptop because tomorrow is Tuesday and I don’t want folk saying, Biko why didn’t you post? We have waited a whole week! I even borrowed a phone to read the story!

I’m going to try and sleep now. It’s coming to 10:30pm in Kenya. 

I just heard a car honk. 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

360
75 Comments
  1. Double cabins. They’d write their names on the driver’s doors, complete with their postal addresses in case the car is lost and found and has to be mailed out by post. hhahaaa

    19
  2. They’d write their names on the driver’s doors, complete with their postal addresses in case the car is lost and found and has to be mailed out by post. …………..stop hating on us, its like a disease.I can sleep in it aki.

    11
    1. I saw that ‘I even borrowed a phone to read the story’ and I went Oh my days! I’m kidogo slowly morphing into a butt of jokes

      7
  3. 1. You gave a bribe?

    2. There ought to be an inquest into this H. Pylori apparent conspiracy.

    3. I now see why you haven’t replied my email. You’ve been busy.

    Great piece

    5
  4. Oh yes about the double cabs….. love love love…

    Name
    Address…… no no no! P. O. Box
    Town flank hapo
    Kenya…

    Because we are extra like that…. and yes even a ramshackle pick up is a pickup……… Our obsession….

    6
  5. This thing with H. Pylori is a scam. Everybody is being diagnosed with it.
    Hospitals just making money off those medication kits.. A commission of inquiry needs to be set up:-)

    9
    1. Haha commission of enquiry alafu they eat the money and another commission of enquiry to investigate that commission’s failure bcoz the pharmaceutical companies are gonna bribe them!!

      The cycle though

      2
  6. But Biko, why do you equate masseurs/Masseuses/or whatever to hookers…. Come on, don’t carry Nairobi everywhere you go, you are embarrassing us!!

    9
  7. You said potatoes is a staple food………, I think their is an entire clan right now packing up to go and set camp in Mozambique together with there ancestors singing hallelujah.

    9
  8. Do they add an ocean load….sorry “thufu” to the potatoes?

    I think we need a week dedicated to H-Pylori

    3
  9. I hear Mozambique has great music besides being one of the most expensive places to live, I don’t own that claim I just heard. And that’s how rumours are stated

    1
  10. Nice one, Maputo is an interesting country. Next time try Hotel Avenida, you wont be bothered by Mr T for a massage.

    You’ve got guts to do the road trip to Inhassaro. Wow, how was the journey, 700 km on the road. Please share a piece of the journey for some of us. Have always wanted to do a road trip in Mozambique, a pickup with my name and address in case it gets lost and they can mail it to Kenya. Dragging a boat on a trailer for a month in Inhambane or Beirra. But the cops and security situations especially up north, scares me and my dreams will have to wait till they sort the security (read gas exploitation) in Northern Mozambique.

    Did the hotel in Inhassaro request you to sign on a big counter book for the government records for any guests checking in and the next destination?

    3
  11. Hehehe Beiko
    You didn’t tell me you were going to Maputo, I had a message I’d have given you to deliver to that lady who runs a detective agency there- I smtmes forget her name. But surely you would know her now…coz she’s also a writer, like you, to boot
    So you also read our posts? Mention mine soon, because I’ve not borrowed this Pon to read your ppst

    4
  12. I’m also reading this from Anse source d’argent. Sio kila siku kutushtua mara sijui am writing this from my beach hotel sijui where. But just when am about to start reading, “I just heard a car honk”. Gakware!!

    7
  13. He came back with a bottle of water; a big, sweaty bottle by CocaCola called Bonaqua. This is Dasani’s distant cousin. I don’t think they talk. Family. Don’t act like yours is perfect. Lol
    Thank you for posting Biko.

    2
  14. In the same hotel room someone knelt down to pray and ask God to heal their sick and ailing parents. This happens a lot when one is away from home in a foreign country all alone by themselves.

    7
  15. Careful gang, this man reads our comments. I recall that last one about someone borrowing a phone and recruiting the owner to the gang.

    4
  16. And as a GP, but not on anybody’s behalf, let me tell you Biko, about 70% of the population has H pylori infection. You only get treated if it causes you symptoms, including dyspepsia and gastritis.
    But never mind……
    And don’t compare colonoscopy with unimportant things like massage.
    Enjoy the antacid.

    7
  17. Am reading this from Nairobi, or ilovi, as some people living near Thwake Dam would call it.

    I conclude Mr T is a pimp who earns a commission for the number of times his hookers get laid. He would make a good marketer if he wasn’t so dirty minded.

    I thought Mozambique talk Portugeese…..

    8
  18. “Hookers interest me as much as colonoscopy does.”
    Is this “a statement of facts” or “a declaration of morals”?

    6
  19. In countries with a red light district, a massage is really a massage. But the body will feel like a truck run over it when the massage is done, one feels like a car undergoing a panel-beating.
    I really don’t look at folks with envy when they say they had a massage. Maybe it does good to the athletic muscular gym-attending types, but for folks who love to be couch potatoes, it’s a punishment.

    5
    1. Even with the red light district, some of these masseuses are hookers who afford discretion for guys who don’t want to seek the services in a brazen manner. It gives them freedom to enjoy the hooker services with some dignity in their back pocket.

      2
  20. “Why do these people have to treat everybody for H Pylori.” I think there is a conspiracy by GPs who attended a midnight meeting in an abandoned warehouse in Limuru and there they agreed to treat everybody who complains of stomach pains with H Pylori meds. The kit they give you is worse than eating humble pie.

    Hilarious joke….Salute

    3
  21. I read this and I hate to be the bearer of bad news. This medication don’t work I have taken h pylori medication then proton pump inhibitors for a while but the pain still persits. Now I take gin to alleviate the pain.
    Hopefully yours will work.

  22. I am also on Nexium after having taken the kit and still got diagnosed of H-pylori twice! We need a support group at this rate, it is tough!

  23. Hilarious read….
    Can guess where those guys who write their names on their driver’s doors together with the postal address for the car to be mailed by post in case it’s lost come from….
    Colonoscopy is definitely not worse than DRE….
    You mean the H. Plyori Kit tastes worse than the humble pie, you haven’t tasted some anti-protozoal agents….

    1
  24. That “walking gland” line is too funny. Reminds of a friend who in Uni (twenty something years ago) was so exasperated with a dude she said, “he’s a man by virtue of not being a plant”. I have never forgotten that comment – or my friend’s vexation.

    7
  25. Say Mr. Biko, some stories you have shared with us got me some hangover. And since you are the bartender, would you be as kind as to serve us, ‘me’, a bloody Mary? What happened to the lady whose husband travels alot and was bored? Did she go ahead and try something on the side? That’s just one of those, when I remember the others, I will comment. Gracias!

    1
  26. As always, your articles are a very interesting read. I can only imagine the look of a Mr T. … that hairstyle.
    Part of my Bucket list destination is Mozambique only coz I love sea food and i’ve heard they have the best. One day will be there!

  27. Wait, so how did it go with Covid results being emailed? .Did you have to go back? Did you find this man? Would love to hear his reason for asking for a bribe from a man who does not speak a language he understand! . And don’t good thinks happen in hotels too? Like Biko writing from a hotel room? ☺️
    Nice piece.

    2
  28. Of hotel rooms. Sometimes I think of the things that may have happened in that room, the sins committed – that masseuse story would have made me want to cleanse the room first, the possibility of being assassinated in that hotel by people who don’t love development or some recreational serial killer (I always peep under the bed and in any closet before locking the door), the prospect that there is a scheme of extortion involving secret cameras in the room (I check the room thoroughly – clock, bathroom, ceiling spots, lighting). Of course the most fearful prospect is sleeping an a hotel whose owner owns spirits, which may trespass into the rooms and end up touch you inappropriately in the dead of the night.

    So much stress staying in a hotel room, especially when alone.

    3
  29. And in a hotel room, someone had known that their marriage was over. That they needed to turn over a new leaf. In a hotel room, someone had taken refuge for the night after being thrown out of her home. In a hotel room someone had either cried in pain or cried tears of joy. There’s always a story unraveling somewhere.

    1
  30. Between double cabs (bakkies), potatoes and the Limuru meetings, I don’t know which one has me more triggered. You came for my kinfolk and I full throttle. Lol
    Good read, you should really get a massage lmao

  31. Limuru is just chilling cold with temperatures at less than 9 degrees and someone having a good time in Maputo decided to mention it plus double cabins for us Kariuki’s and poraros too.

    2
  32. Am curious Biko, how does it feel tknowing that every Tuesday, there are thousand of Kenyans who swam to your blog excited to read one of your infamous pieces, usually around 11am when they’re done with their morning meetings or just finished some work they ought to have submitted the day before and are feeling boisterous enough to probably start passing time, thinking about lunch then they remember, walaaaah! It’s Tuesday, Biko…
    Also how does it feel on that particular Tuesday when you don’t post, the very thousand of fans walk into your page and leave disappointed.. some even pissed.. these are thousands of Kenyans who think about you in a single day, do you all of a sudden find yourself unusually clumpsy, do you leave the house fearing you might not return?

    1
  33. I remeber the guy from last week who said he borrows phones from random people to read your articles. Then Biko you forget to post…hehe.. The audacity!!!

  34. Am I the only one who noticed that Biko had a meeting with the guy who runs Masterclass.com? As in The Masterclass.com?
    Please receive your flowers, Mr. Biko

    1
  35. Nice read there. I really like the word play. alafu i must confess that when reading i always open a new tab to check the new works i learn from your blog articles. uko sawa mkubwa!

  36. My sis is a professional masseuse and is often mistaken for you typa Mr.T hookups.Allow me to post this here for perspective.

    Ellebasi Massage Therapy group is focused on creating awareness on how MASSAGE THERAPY can immensely improve the quality of your life.I have been doing this for over a decade and I know how massage if done PROFESSIONALLY can improve your overall health and well being, your stress levels decrease and you become a more productive and happier person.
    As a young girl, I remember when I was sick my mom would take her Vicks Vapo rub or Robb and massage me and it felt really good.
    What a blessing that years later I chose to take Massage as a career.Everyday I am grateful to God that I can use my hands through touch to help someone reconnect with their body.
    I provide various massage modalities e.g Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Reflexology, Hot Stone. Massage, Prenatal Massage.
    So if you need a massage go ahead and schedule an appointment.Call 0737810131 or inbox for further details.
    Call “WHEN YOU NEEDTO BE KNEADED”.

    https://www.facebook.com/Ellebasi-Mobile-Massage-Therapy-912371105629758/

  37. That’s one tired man that wrote this. It feels like ‘my day in Maputo’, you know the stuff meant for diaries or as you reflect your day. And Biko don’t fuss over the guy with the borrowed phone, he’ll return it wether or not you post the story. Sleep easy my friend.