It was not going to make any sense if we left Arusha without sampling the night life around this beautiful town.
Angie was eager to help us sample some of the hot joints.
I hate parties,that’s for sure,but i enjoy night life!
So we decided to have an evening prowl on entertainment spots,especially the ones that offered African Dance hall Music.
They were quite a number and we were not short of options. Angie actually said we were spoilt for choices.
We started off at Jambo Club. They had some nice afro-beat music that helped me forget the morning hangover.
I was not eager for a drink,but i sampled local beer brands as we danced to the music.
They also had nice African Dishes on offer. Pilau is my favourite swahili dish and theirs never let me down.
Daisy and Angie opted for Nyama Choma (Roast Meat) and potato fries.
Meat is not normally in my diet and i avoid it as much as possible though i’m not a strict vegetarian.
The night was catching on well.
Daisy and Angie decided to have some hot drinks instead of beer.
They had some Martinis and they were really fine tuning themselves for a riotous night out.
Daisy had to wire some money to Nairobi and i escorted her to a forex bereau at far end of the street after a few drinks.
Angie had some urgent business to attend to at around eight and she left us promising to join in later on.
We finalised Daisy’s transaction at the Bureau and when we stepped back into the street,Daisy burst out laughing; she leaned against a building and laughed in great whoops.
“Look,” i said, “everyone in the street is staring at you. Let’s go back to the pub and you can tell me what it is all about.”
“Ben,why can’t you admit that we are on our honeymoon and stop acting uptight. Let’s dance out here on the street,i don’t care about this people!”
I moved closer to her in alarm. I think the martinis were affecting her in a strange way that i hadn’t seen in her before.
Before i could catch her arm, she said, “i’m floating,Ben. Come on,i’ll beat you to the corner!” And she started running.
By the time i started to run after her,she was way down there,with her skirt hiked over her knees and she could run!
It looked as if i was chasing her,and that’s the idea some people got,because they started a hullabaloo on the corner. By the time i got there,there was this policeman coming out of nowhere . He stood with his fists on the hips and was looking at me as i puffed up the corner.
There was Daisy with a crowd around her ,all jabbering away,and when the policeman started talking to me, i knew what he was thinking!
I tried showing him my wedding band,which made him shake his head in disbelief as if that didn’t make my behaviour look better.
Then Daisy moved between us and stood on her tiptoes and kissed me; then she stepped back,smiling and took my arm.
At that,the crowd of people smiled and the policeman shrugged.
A woman in the crowd said,”Wa-Kenya hawa jameni,watu wa ajabu!” (“These Kenyans are funny people!”) And everybody got a big laugh,except me.
I hailed a taxi and got Daisy in.
“I love you,Ben,”she said clinging to me. “We haven’t said that for a long time,have we? I love you,i love you,i love youuuu!”
We were almost to the pub when the taxi was blocked off and behind the barricade,a group of people were watching something in the centre of the street.
A policeman motioned the taxi driver to back up and the taxi driver cursed and muttered something about a Chagga wedding.
Daisy said,”Ben,they are dancing on the street; it is a wedding. Listen to the music! Let’s dance. Pay the driver,come on darling.”
We edged our way through the crowd and watched for a minute or two.
There were all sorts of people dancing-kids and young lovers and tourists and old women and dignified middle aged men,and everybody seemed to be having a good time,so we started dancing too.
The music got faster with the next tune and Daisy went swinging right along.
I enjoyed dancing like that.
Between numbers,a young man came up and made a little bow to Daisy,and when the music started again,he grabbed her and whirled her away,with her smiling at me over her shoulder.
An elderly woman wearing a shawl over her head,made a bow at me,and so i had to dance with her.
She was a little gay woman with crackling black eyes that still had the devil of youth in them and she kept saying in swahili,”leo ni leo,nimepata wangu.”(“Today i’m lucky to have got my man”) and then she’d chuckle;she knew it was a joke.
Then i happened to spot Daisy and she was really dancing with that young man.
She looked startled by the rhythm of the beat at first,but then she begun to follow the young man’s feet,and by golly,if she didn’t dance better than anyone i ever saw!
Her eyes were bright and her short hair made her look like a kid.
After that, an elderly gentleman made a bow at her and they danced,stiff and dignified, and i started twirling with a girl of about fifteen years who had a sort of fixed smile on her face,as if she didn’t know who she was dancing with,but she was pleased with the world.
I was dancing with Daisy again,and all over a sudden it came over me how lucky we were,with all that life beating around us.
Everything that came before was a sort of preparation for this,Daisy and i holding each other in the middle of the street in Arusha.
Then i realised that Arusha had little or nothing to do with it.
What it was,was life with capital “L”,and we were realising it,not just slipping along from day to day,with habit taking the edge off the things we felt; no sir,we were living it,knowing it,right up to the hilt.
I knew it couldn’t always be like this,not only because of long formed habits that we’d naturally fall back into once we were home,but because,heck!,we are growing older and time is rushing by.
It wasn’t a bad feeling,though,because it made that night more precious somehow.
I ran my hand through Daisy’s hair,which was soft and beautiful and i said,”I like it Daisy,i really like it.”
She didn’t answer,only put her forehead against my chest and we danced till the music ended.
Then she stepped back and smiled full into my eyes.
Every time she does this,she makes me her slave for another hundred years.
Tomorrow i go back to Nairobi,and Daisy goes back to Kigali, Rwanda where she works,but in this short weekend excursion,we have created memories to last us for at least another life time!