Whisky, grilled meat and rumba by the sea

A Traditional Maasai dance for the revellers at the Maasai Beach Bar and Restaurant in Mombasa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Something about grilled meat by the ocean. Something about plastic chairs and the sound of waves. Something about the sky that turns grey and then dark, and an occasional twinkling of a plane passing 38,000ft away.

You look up and think; someone in there is listening to music, is napping, is thinking about a lover, is sad or confused, or having pain.

Or someone in there just remembered that they forgot to pack their socks. I think of such things when I drink alone. It’s not lonesomeness, it is just controlled insanity. A vortex filled with helium of fantasy. It does not help when I sit in a bar next to a water body, like Maasai Bar and Restaurant in Mombasa.

It is the plastic chairs, plastic tables and makuti thatched huts. It is the hubbub of revellers in shorts and dresses, sipping beers, laughing and chewing on meat. Their meat is legendary, choma chicken and others.

It is also the music. Their music is mostly rumba. Everybody seems to be playing rumba nowadays, or perhaps I am just drawn to people who play rumba. Rumba, as you might have learnt, has a lot of Cuban influence. You can hear it in the beats.

The dance originates from the waist and ends in the heart. My daughter likes to say, “why would you listen to music when you don’t understand a word they are saying?” It’s because you listen to rumba with your heart. And some people are just not ready to use their hearts.

Most tables seem to have bottles of spirits on them, which could mean their drinks are best bought by the bottle and shared.

It never got chilly as the night wore on, but the breeze changed its tune. Close your eyes and live the moment. Sometimes you have to close your eyes to see clearly.

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