A childhood friend called it the ‘Beer Belt’ of Kisumu, a string of bars along Ondiek Highway.
I was down by the lakeside last week to cross some t’s and what better way to spend a Saturday evening than to check out what is new because Kisumu keeps changing while, thankfully, also remaining the same.
“This is the most happening place in Kisumu,” he assured me as he reversed and wedged his juvenile Subaru among tens of other cars parked along the roadside. The street was a smorgasbord of activity. It thudded and heaved.
It was a hot Saturday night and we were thirsty for Rhumba music and so we ducked into Pit Stop Dala which might or not be related to Pit Stop of Nairobi, who knows?
Famed for being packed to the rafters, we quickly and luckily secured a table in front of a massive fan next to Fally Ipua and Ferre Gola. [Portrait drawings, of course.]
The roofs were high, the walls soundproofed creatively with recycled egg cartons, big screen TV sets all over. The deejay sat way above, looking down at the room, like a Rhumba Emperor. The high priest of Rhumba.
You can fault Pit Stop for anything but the music won’t be it. The deejay was insane, pelting hit after hit and numbers [that’s what they are called] that even though were unfamiliar, you immediately clung on.
You could have created your own playlist from each song the deejay played - God knows I did.
Massive bouncers walked about in white tight t-shirts. I wondered aloud what their use was. “I have never seen a fight in a rhumba joint before,” I said.
“Rumba is about love, who would want to start a fight in a place of love?” My friend’s date, a lady with doleful eyes said, “Actually, this is the place where fights would break because love makes people fight a lot. Love makes people go crazy.”
Fair point. I was on water the whole time but by 1am, I staggered out drunk from the music and the energy.