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Dial Zero

I tipped the porter then stood at the balcony staring at the ocean now a sinister shade of blue, almost black. The sun had only just set behind the flat line of the horizon dotted with boats drifting home. Stringed music drifted up from the restaurant below. Couples from their romantic evening beach walks washed their sandy feet by the outdoors shower by the swimming pool. A knot of children ran by the pool, giggling. I was not thinking of anything in particular, just standing there wondering if I should shower first and go for dinner or if I should shower after dinner when I felt a presence in the room and I whirled around to find a man standing at the threshold, as startled to see me as I was to see him. My first thought was that it was the Tanzanian secret police. I would languish in a Tanzanian jail with lowly pickpockets.

But then a lady peeked over around his shoulders and I relaxed. No secret police comes with a lady in red lipstick.

The man was the short portly type that tend to say vaguely that they dabble in import and export. You know the type, don’t you? They drive Audis. He had on a gaudy untucked flowered shirt. He looked to be in his late 50s. Nice head of hair, most likely dyed. He stepped into my room like it was his, with slow, sure steps. He had that assured energy of a man who is used to having the elevator door held for him. His lady companion was obviously not his wife. There is a look wives have and she didn’t have it. She seemed too excited to be in his space to be his wife. She was wearing one of those spaghetti tops that showed her bone structure.

“May I help you, please?” the man said.

You know how someone can use the word “please” but still come across as abrasive or combative? The please was a mockery, a hostility, a lunge. I was standing at the doorway of the balcony’s sliding glass door now. I was thinking, what the hell is this portly man with Mandela’s shirt doing in my room? The lady placed her small kitenge beach bag on the dresser, its contents rattling in the process. It was a nice bag. They were probably from a sundowner where he told her everything about his export and import business, promised to take her to Paris next where he owns a condo as she sipped her cocktail, nodding like she was interested in import and export and rubbing his hairy knees lovingly like you would stroke the skull of a dog suffering from nausea. His accent was African. I know he wasn’t Tanzanian because he spoke English. He certainly wasn’t Kenyan because he wasn’t wearing bad swimming shorts. His legs were too thin to be a West African. Probably from the southern parts of Africa. He had a heavy portuguese-like accent but still managed to be eloquent. Well educated, for sure. Affluent, definitely. He didn’t like me, he said it with his body and his gaze.

“Uhm, no, you may not help me. Unless you work here,” I said with a bit of a chip on my shoulder because I didn’t like him using please unnecessarily.

He grunted impatiently, like I had insulted him. I was almost sure he would shout, “Do I look like I work in a hotel? I work in import and export, my friend!” Instead his small eyes widened a bit dramatically (maybe he was Nigerian) and I was hoping he was having a false heart attack but then he said indignantly, “This is my room!” He didn’t say it like that, he said it in a thick accent and he said it quickly as if he didn’t believe it himself. I didn’t believe him either.

To infuriate him I said calmly, “No, this is my room, please.”

We sounded like lower primary school boys fighting over a toy. His woman, who was now standing by the bed unclasping her hair pain made a sound of surprise. Oh so you can dish please but you can’t take please? I turned to look at her properly for the first time. She was actually attractive in spite of her choice of men. And young. Much younger than him. Perhaps 27 years. She returned my stare. I turned away because I didn’t have the time for a staring contest. “How can this be your room when we slept here last night and woke up here this morning? We have our suitcases in the closet!” he said.

“I don’t know, but I have a key.” I held up my key card.

“Well, I have a key too!” he said raising his own plastic. His neck was thick – the size of the NutriBullet 900. I didn’t like him because he was brusque and combative and he was in my room. Plus you can’t just wear Mandela’s shirt to the beach – it’s disrespectful to Madiba and what he stood for, which didn’t include barging into people’s rooms with an attitude.

We were facing some sort of a Mexican standoff here in Ramada Resort in Dar. I was too tired from sitting in their ugly traffic jam. The lady, realising that this phallus contest would go on forever, dialed zero from the room phone. As we waited for the reception or security to come upstairs I leaned on the desk while they sat next to each other on the bed speaking in their strange language. They were obviously talking about me. They were probably saying that on top of sounding strange, I was a thief and I was there to steal her make-up and his terrible underwear. He seemed like the guy who wore underwear with a photo of Che Guevara on them. A revolutionary statement to match his Madiba shirt. To him I looked exactly like the kind of guy who breaks into rooms and steals such things. While we waited I tried to log onto the wifi.

Finally someone from the main desk appeared and the man pointed at me and said, “This gentleman claims this is his room.” He did it again with the word gentleman, a double entendre if you will. Gentleman and claim, sat awkwardly in that sentence like strange bedfellows. I was too tired to honest. I didn’t want to have to deal with these two. Long story short, it turned out there was a mistake (not mine, I will have you know) and I wasn’t supposed to be in that room. The man looked at me triumphantly as I pulled my suitcase handle up and rolled out of there without another word as the hotel staff apologised profusely for the mixup. I was taken to another room, on the same floor with the same view. A storm in a teacup. I later saw them that night at the salad section at dinner. They were pointing at tomatoes. Typical.

It doesn’t matter awfully much to me the hotel room I’m usually given as long as it’s very clean, functional and it’s not overlooking a wall. It matters little if you have a massive bedroom with an adjoining living room area unless you are the type who holds meetings in their rooms. That’s because a hotel room is not a place you thrive in especially for a work trip. Plus if someone – company, client – is paying for a nice room, believe me they will make sure that you only enjoy it in the late evening when you are too tired to do much else but sleep.

Hotels try to recreate a feeling of homeliness for guests but it’s hard to feel completely at home if you have to live off a suitcase. There is something very saddening about even the poshest of hotel rooms when you are alone for work. The beds are usually too big for one person and the pillows too many and everything is always so sanitized, almost suspiciously so. Even the mirrors in the bathrooms seem to lie to you. The paintings or wall art never evoke anything more than controlled beauty. I hardly ever switch on the TV. Or make tea. I don’t use bathtubs because that means lying there for over 30 minutes and surely what kind of man would I be if I bathed for 30 minutes? What am I soaking? I also never weigh myself because weighing scales in hotels are like politicians. I love the telephone though, because you can call for room service at 2 AM when you have lost sleep and are tired of reading and tired of your thoughts and the loneliness is closing in on you and nobody in Kenya is awake on Whatsapp.

“Hello, room service. How can I help you, sir?”

“Quick one, is it possible to send someone up to me room to just chill and talk?”

Pause.

“Uhm…I’m sorry, sir?”

“Someone with a soothing low voice, like Sade. Female would be my first choice but I don’t mind a man either, but as long as he doesn’t have a soothing low voice. Probably a smoker if you can get one…”

“Sir, what number are you trying to reach?”

“Is that room service?”

“Yes, sir, it is.

“That’s what I thought. I need someone to come up and just sit and we shoot some breeze for 30 mins. I don’t suppose you are very busy now? It’s not like people are ordering steak and eggs at this time, are they?”

“Well, I don’t think we can do that, sir.”

“Do what, make steak and eggs?”

“No, your request, sir.”

“I’m sorry, is it too extra?”

“It’s…” he chuckles. “It’s not a service we offer.”

“Service? Oh no, no no, I think we might have misunderstood each other. I’m not looking for that kind of service. Just someone I can talk to. Actually they will do most of the talking, I will listen. I’m a good listener.”

He’s lost for words.

“I will pay. I’m happy for you to put it on my tab as pancakes or something,” I say. “Or it can be off the books. Whatever works.”

He laughs.

“Sir, it’s impossible. I’m sorry…we just..can’t.”

“Would maintenance department be more open to this idea, after all this is part of maintenance, software maintenance, right?”

“No sir. I’m sorry, I can’t help you, neither can they. Is there anything else you would like us to assist you with?”

I sigh dramatically.

“Okay, what about sleeping pills?”

“No, we don’t sell, prescribe or dispense any type of medication drugs, sir.”

“What about hard drugs?”

“Haha. No, certainly not!”

“Well, that’s not what I heard.”

“What did you hear, sir?

“That if you really talk nicely to someone from room service at 2am they can always slip a sleeping pill under your door.”

“Ha-ha. No, not in this hotel.”

“Oh well. Isn’t that a shame. What’s your name?”

“Tito.”

“Tito?”

“Yes, sir. Tito.”

“I like that name. Are you from Congo?”

“No, sir. Ha-ha. I’m from Bloemfontein.”

“I know a Tito Biyombo. He’s from DRC and I don’t think he would have a problem slipping sleeping pills under my door if I was suffering from insomnia on foreign soil.”

He laughs again. “Is there anything else sir?”

“Well…No, nothing for now….but, eh, Tito?”

“Yes, sir?”

“If you change your mind about those sleeping pills…”

Unless I’m writing or sleeping I will hardly ever linger alone in a hotel room. Because it feels lonesome and claustrophobic. It doesn’t matter how swanky it is. I will always throw on a jacket and leave to seek human interaction. It would either be to wander the neighbourhood or go down to the hotel bar for a drink. It’s amazing how many people you will find at the hotel bar in the evenings after a day out shaking the bushes. Business travellers, mostly, with permanently creased brows. Or people who are there to decompress, you know, the me-time crowd who just love their own company. They all gather at the bar, always at the counter, elbows on counter, heads bowed, some with books others with empty looks. Most are on their phones, sending home tepid pictures of their drinks or bitings or the exciting things they saw during the day. It’s a convention of souls that wandered far away from home. A business herd of the plane-wrecked.

I always pick the person who looks least like me to strike up a conversation with. Which means anyone who isn’t black or doesn’t look like they come from East Africa because I never want to talk about our traffic jams or a wildlife. I always prefer to talk to men because there is less pressure to come across as non-threatening. The loneliest people I have met during trips are those who are on business. They eat alone. They sleep alone. They drink alone. They think alone. They are alone even if they are not feeling lonely. Some Skype from bars. Others just sit there smiling at the barman not even knowing they are smiling. And it’s mostly in the evenings when their brains have been utilised during the day by the paymasters. These evening brings with it that cold gust of solitude that not even a jacuzzi in the room can fill.

But eventually everybody has to go back to their rooms to face themselves. Back in the room you take a quick shower, brush your teeth, kill the AC if it’s a cold city or adjust it if it’s a hot place, then jump into bed with a book and the mocking silence. The sheets will be clean and fresh and crisp but sleep will evade you for a while. You will hear the distant ping of the opening elevator in the distance and voices spilling out, laughing or wine- induced giggles receding further into the carpeted hallways. At some point you will remember that you didn’t pee, walk to the loo and pee. When you turn you will catch the reflection of a naked man as you switch off the lights. Maybe you will go to the window and stand there looking out. Maybe you will get back in bed and read some more. Then when your eyes are getting heavy you will turn over and switch off the lights but not all the lights will go off. There will always be that one light that won’t go off. So you will get up and fiddle with several switches not knowing which switch puts it off. You will roam the room naked, like a night runner, switching lights on and off.

Eventually you call housekeeping and ask, “Where do you switch off this one small light directly overhead my bed?” They say, “At the back of your headboard is a switch, sir.” Some genius put the switch behind your headboard. You put if off and finally there is darkness and relative silence save for the occasional pinging of the lifts and the odd voice of someone talking on the phone as they pass outside your door.

Then you sleep.

Maybe you lose sleep at 2am and call room service. Maybe you don’t.

I like, on the other hand, how most women approach hotel rooms with enthusiasm and curiosity. How they open wardrobes (as if they might find a new dress in there), sit and bounce on the bed with a smile, take pictures of the said bed and of the whole room and the bathroom, pick a strawberry from the complimentary bowl and walk to the balcony and lean on the rail and sigh as if they are at the bow of the Titanic.

When the day comes to leave you pack up quickly (and forget your wet boxer in the bathroom) and when you drag your suitcase out the door, you find the cleaning lady with her trolley stuffed with new beddings and bottled water and brooms and detergents in spray cans. She’s motherly with pudgy gloved fingers and she smiles without looking into your eyes when you say hello and you think to yourself, this woman folds clothes and cleans after us and we don’t see her or know her name yet maybe she’s schooling a son in university, someone who calls her mom and remembers her birthdays and thinks the world of her. So you tip her (always tip the mothers more because it does more) and when she receives the money with two open palms it stirs strange emotions in you.

You walk to the lift as she dusts and cleans and changes beddings and scrubs and puts new shower gels and face towels in the bathroom and replaces the stationary. When she’s done the room will be clean and white. But she will never be able to clean off the loneliness you left in that room. Someone else – another plane-wrecked suit on business – will be coming into that sediment loneliness and also will leave their own brand of loneliness behind.

Ps: One of the editors – Linda – who normally cleans this up in the morning had an emergency. I think she has had a wardrobe malfunction. Her heel broke so she has to go buy new shoes. She’s probably currently hobbling about in a mall with one shoe in hand. So if you pick a “there” instead of a “their” in this story please just sit on it for today. People have bigger problems.

149 Responses
  • Biegon
    13.03.2018

    Good morning blessed people

    8
    • Owa Papa
      13.03.2018

      Good morning back. Rains are back, cabbage is cheaper, milk is flowing, traffic is back (or is backer), umbrellas abound and we shook hands last Friday. Good morning.

      66
      • Owa Papa
        15.03.2018

        ….and Uncle Flooding is overstaying his visit…

        11
  • CGate
    13.03.2018

    The loneliness of the traveller leaving his sediment behind him like the silver trail of a slug…….

    29
  • Alexander
    13.03.2018

    Its repeated thrice.

    • bikozulu
      13.03.2018

      Hi Alexander, Kindly help us out, where are you viewing the post thrice? ^YN

      12
      • Barbs
        13.03.2018

        I viewed it thrice too!

        1
    • James Frank Kokeyo
      14.03.2018

      I highly doubt if this is really Biko, I know Biko’s handwriting.

      9
      • Jetoloxd
        16.03.2018

        Its him alright, the crazy dialogues are his modus operandi

        1
      • Nigel M. Nassar
        17.03.2018

        I think it’s him, just that he decided to go the novel way this time. Initially I didn’t think it him. But then I saw him spring back at the para where he describes the ‘intruder’ — “The man was the short portly type that…you know the type, don’t you?” Also the imaginary dialogue is typical. Anyway, personally I liked the piece. Perhaps because I relate with that hotel loneliness a lot! I found the description exact.

        1
  • Adebisi
    13.03.2018

    I wonder who’s first to comment today..what a long post!

    1
  • Rosko
    13.03.2018

    Haha…
    Today’s voice is a bit strange!

    21
    • A
      13.03.2018

      I thought so too.

    • Keishe wa Karamuzi
      13.03.2018

      Very strange!

    • Olive
      13.03.2018

      Quite strange

    • Mushie
      13.03.2018

      I even thought it was a guest writer.

      7
    • Riziki
      13.03.2018

      very true! i had to read the first paragraph twice to get the gist of the story

      2
    • F
      13.03.2018

      Very strange I agree… I really pushed myself to finish reading

      4
    • Jullian N
      15.03.2018

      I stopped halfway. Writing can be exhausting, reading this could have been too.

  • Ian
    13.03.2018

    Did I just read the same story thrice? What shoe size does Linda wear anyway?

    26
    • Iam Xhara
      13.03.2018

      thought so too scrolled up n down thrice. but i refreshed and found it been edited!

      7
    • Jacque
      13.03.2018

      Phew! I thought biko had cast a spell on me…lol

      1
    • Kimani
      13.03.2018

      Biko is a generous man he tipped the porter thrice but again Linda had to hobble in equal measure.

      12
      • Mim
        28.05.2018

        Hahaha uve killed me

  • Harvey
    13.03.2018

    Convention of souls far away from home..

    2
  • Fiona
    13.03.2018

    Is it only me or biko decided to type thrice?

    3
    • bre
      13.03.2018

      Yap, he has posted more than once

  • QS Vosty
    13.03.2018

    Why do they put so many pillows on those beds anyway? Next time I might arrange them in a semi circle in front of me on the bed and vent to the poor things about my day.

    51
    • Ice
      13.03.2018

      I normally arrange them on the other side of the big bed, then when I wake up in the middle of the night at least it seems there is another person before I work out where I am and realise I am alone. So true about the loneliness. Usually end up talking to the bar man, wonder if part of their training is having conversations with lonely travellers.

      3
  • Njoki
    13.03.2018

    Nice read…

    1
  • Joy
    13.03.2018

    Nice humour Biko. Nice Humour

    2
  • Cindy
    13.03.2018

    What a nice read for an early morning. The way you describe that man though.

    1
  • Eddah
    13.03.2018

    Linda needs to be here as early as yesterday…

    4
  • Wanjiku
    13.03.2018

    Mexican standoffs….. tihihihi….we definitely need Linda, the story is posted three times

    3
  • June
    13.03.2018

    The story has been repeated thrice… Linda where are you?

    7
    • Zippy
      13.03.2018

      Biko said you si on it. Linda got a wardrobe malfunction remember????

      2
    • Grace Yaa
      13.03.2018

      I almost thought my mouse had a malfunction as well.
      Linda, please come back hahaha

      1
  • Irene
    13.03.2018

    People have bigger problems indeed

    1
  • Mushie
    13.03.2018

    So if you pick a “there” instead of a “their” in this story please just sit on it for today. People have bigger problems….haha
    #Savage

    13
  • Mushie
    13.03.2018

    Leo Biko ameamua turevise hii article…Issokay

    Linda you need to come back quickly..

    16
  • Dickson
    13.03.2018

    This was definitely more than a there in place of a their. Patia Linda simu

    1
  • abdullah omar
    13.03.2018

    you have bigger problems!

  • June
    13.03.2018

    And yes women love that loneliness in those work trips… I personally do…it’s called the only me time you can get…away from been a wife, mother and home keeper for awhile…it is actually refreshing…Not that we don’t love our families but a break once in awhile is very very very very important!!! and awesome!!!!

    39
    • Val
      13.03.2018

      Or just enjoy the continuation of being alone 🙂 Sigh, loner things 😉

      5
    • Josephine Nduta
      14.03.2018

      I agree totally.

  • Biegon
    13.03.2018

    The voice was a bit strange today. Great read as always……I’d love to be in this trips someday and be lonely taking a beer alone. Then Biko comes in to strike a conversation

    1
    • Ben
      15.03.2018

      Are you non-east African. He doesn’t want to talk about wildlife or jam with East Africans

  • Mukiri
    13.03.2018

    Oh shit. That shit photocopied itself infinite times.

    1
  • Ritah
    13.03.2018

    Doesn’t Linda have an assistant?
    Stationary—-> No comment. I will focus on the bigger problems.

    4
    • Sare
      13.03.2018

      I caught that one too.

  • Kwamboka
    13.03.2018

    Linda should come back quickly. The article is posted three times!

  • eriq
    13.03.2018

    Good things come in threes right? Nice read

    4
    • June
      13.03.2018

      Hahahahahahaha

  • Nyar Oyando
    13.03.2018

    Can we have Linda pack an extra pair of flats in her bag, it will save us the trouble of reading the story thrice.
    Awesome read Chocolate man.

    7
  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    13.03.2018

    I hope Linda found new shoes. But she could also be brave and show up at a coffee lounge with her laptop, one shoe in hand and one shoe on feet and edit the piece. Much like a boss running on coffee. You can really do anything with enough coffee. Reminds me I went to buy shoes yesterday and even though I didn’t get to buy them, I realised I forget just how many people there are in the CBD. Walking up and down these streets is an extreme sport. It makes me want to travel to places with hotel rooms overlooking eerie forests or dewy grass. I will not mind calling room service at 2 a.m. and ask for illegal stuff. Maybe I would even lie to a barman that I am a biologist and make up stories with the little biology from high school. Like talk about ventricles and shit.
    Good read.

    33
    • Lydia
      13.03.2018

      Only to find that the barman is acloset biology enthusiast who will will call you out on your shit after you are done spinning tales of ventricles and vascular constriction.

      13
    • Nairobae is super crowded. It is a sport wading through the crowds of people, but what surprises me is that sometimes people get fed up and find it easier to walk on the roads, speeding matatus notwithstanding. Nairobaens are seasoned jaywalkers, I tell ya.

      5
    • Tracy
      13.03.2018

      Hahahaha. Walking along the streets of Nairobi is an extreme sport, especially with this rain.. Rubber stamped by yours truly

      1
    • Josephine Nduta
      14.03.2018

      Hahaha

  • Davi K.
    13.03.2018

    Where is Linda? Bring back Linda! I got dizzy while confirming that the story has been repeated twice!

    2
  • Kariuki
    13.03.2018

    No condos in Paris. Maybe a chateau. Also an outdoor shower. Not outdoors

    2
  • @clif_the_tall
    13.03.2018

    This story reminds me of an incident i encountered last year in some hotel in Jo’berg. Was given a room that had someone in. I opened the door only to find an old woman inside. She began screaming and thought that i was a thug or something. Told her it was a mix up by the hotel. I apologized and went back to the reception and told the receptionist what had happened. Got an upgrade from the manager on duty as a result of that.

    We have read the same story twice? people have bigger problems indeed. Hehe.

    28
    • Owa Papa
      13.03.2018

      Reminds me of a friend, it was same seat on this flight and this tough cookie had to have a window seat and was breathing down the neck of the pretty Hostess….not that from Ams to Nbo you see much at night; Tough Cookie won the window seat and my friend lost…..by way of an upgrade to Economy Comfort. I suspect the hostess was just expressing slight spite…

      4
  • The Granny's Corner
    13.03.2018

    This post takes me back to a time. I was sitting on the floor somewhere in the Eastlands. One of my first months in Nairobi. Straight out of high school. Big siz calls to inform me to announce KCSE results are out.

    So I sent the text to some 29**** number with my index number. People have bigger problems. I had even a bigger problem. I had flopped. And those guys sent me 3 texts. same text. (Am I the only one who is seeing 4 repetitions of the post or Am I losing it. Again) With the same horrible news. A headache started. An emptiness. And despair. To continue for a couple of months.

    What a terrible time it was. But He never sleeps. He never slumbers. Not even on those crisp fresh bedsheets.

    19
  • Chesiyna
    13.03.2018

    Biko please ask the editor to grab bathroom slippers and come back to work!

    3
  • Jennifer
    13.03.2018

    Linda please come back !nice read n hilarious.how you describe that guy hahahahahaha

    3
  • Stained Soul
    13.03.2018

    What I dislike about those strange bedrooms is waking up befuddled in the night and you can’t remember in what direction the toilet is, then missing the missus on her side of the bed and finding a pillow there instead. You almost dial 999 on your phone to report your wife stolen then you remember you are nowhere near home.
    You start wondering whether she remembered to sign their school dairies and you almost call Tito …

    39
    • Mushie
      13.03.2018

      Hahahahaha…
      That happens to me every time I am in a new place…You start questioning who you are,where you are and how you got there. Those 15 seconds when you are in panic mode..woi

      10
  • tleny
    13.03.2018

    copied and pasted twice. I can see your people are not around today 🙂

    1
  • Ehud Kibet
    13.03.2018

    Siku hizi Biko’s blog is such a routine. When its Tuesday the first thing I remember is lemi go check up on his blog. Nice humour.

    3
  • Wango
    13.03.2018

    Why were they pointing at tomatoes?

    That 2 am conversation with room service! Its not the reason Jesus died… He must have died for a better one!!!
    And you have decided to give us a tatu/kumi story??

    9
    • Nimo
      14.03.2018

      Was wondering about the ‘pointing at tomatoes’ as well and why it was typical for them to do that

      2
  • Sabby
    13.03.2018

    I hope Linda gets a good tip if her absence means you write the same story thrice…’pun intended’…great story as always!

    7
  • justkidding
    13.03.2018

    Just kidding. Siti Down. Oops!!

  • Brian Tarpei
    13.03.2018

    Great piece , I hate hotel rooms because I hate loneliness .

  • Judy
    13.03.2018

    Hahahaaa.. Biko, you shouldn’t do without Linda. Tell her to hurry up!!!!! Thrice? Come on now! Anyhuu for a moment there I thought would end up cursing yourself for taking someone else’s room or maybe find out that it is your room and after confirmation from the hotel, you end up showing the the guy of import and export your tongue just like a two year old…as usual, you made my day!!! ( My Linda is on a tea break)

    4
  • Linna
    13.03.2018

    I make myself comfortable when reading your posts because I know good shit is coming.

    PS.. You really need Linda, don’t you.

    6
  • Nava
    13.03.2018

    lovely as always *3

    1
  • Linda needs to surface pronto. The bigger problem here is not ‘there’ and ‘their,’ it’s that brother Biko has written this post twice or is it thrice yawa.
    Interesting though.
    I don’t think hotel rooms are set up for travellers to lounge in. I agree. If you’re exploring the city, at the end of the day, you’re pretty much exhausted and insomnia has nothing on you.
    The times I’ve been in a swanky hotel room, I’ve struggled with working futuristic looking microwaves, or shower knobs. It’s nice at the beginning, lying clotheless in a big bed with crisp white sheets and many pillows, but after some days, you yearn for familiarity and a home-cooked meal, or a different city.
    As much as possible, I travel with my daughter. You get super lonely if you’re a solo traveler and the bonding opportunities are priceless. She’s got stories, never a time to feel bored but she whines alot when we have to tour the city, and complains when I ask her to take different pics. She’d prefer to swim in the pool or soak in the bubble bath or watch TV even if there are no subtitles and it’s in greek or romanian. For that reason, she seems to like posh accomodation as opposed to hostels.

    8
  • Lydia
    13.03.2018

    Hehehe bigger problems. Still Linda needs to edit this ASAP

  • Sal
    13.03.2018

    Someone get Linda her shoes coz someone is definitely on a copy-paste roll

    2
  • Misheck
    13.03.2018

    You tip the cleaning lady. No Biko! That is not a tip. You pay her to collect your wet boxers. At their 40s, some folks have not yet mastered the art of wiping their butt. Imagine how stomach-churning it is to collect an underwear with a photo of Che Guevara on them, and the chap don’t know how to wipe his ass.

    10
  • Bilha
    13.03.2018

    People have bigger problems indeed

  • TheCode
    13.03.2018

    Great read. I had a similar situation where i was allocated a room belonging to someone else. This someone else was a police officer. You don’t want to know how that turned out.

    You should have definitely waited for Linda

    4
  • Marete
    13.03.2018

    Nice read. Not so sure that Hotel Lamanda in TZ is on the sea front though….

  • Dottie
    13.03.2018

    Did i just read the story thrice….indeed people have bigger problems and Biko you are very hilarious
    “i didnt have time for a staring contest mmhhh:-)

    1
  • Nkatha
    13.03.2018

    Whatever your smoked at that hotel… I want for this week…

    5
  • Sila's
    13.03.2018

    Well, Linda, see what you made us go through? Season 1, 2 and 3 of the same story. Sigh.

    2
  • Sare
    13.03.2018

    This article … I donno, it has left me hanging. I guess I was waiting for an interview, for a moment there I thought it was going to be the cleaning lady. Or Tito from Bloemfontein. Never know what to expect.

  • Shix
    13.03.2018

    I can totally relate to this, the loneliness you go to the Bar and find more emptiness there, my phone my solace.

    2
  • Jesse Loishorua
    13.03.2018

    Bring Linda back. You can’t post the article 3 times, Biko. This is a bigger problem already LOL

    1
  • Nyarkobura
    13.03.2018

    Hotel rooms can be lonely especially when you travel alone

  • Edith
    13.03.2018

    Liiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnndddddddaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Please come back. Just order another pair of shoe online..Chocolate man needs your editing skill ASAP.

    1
  • Asha
    13.03.2018

    Good read. It amazes me how you so vividly paint pictures with your words. And, Linda, please carry an extra pair of shoes on posting day.

    3
  • Anne komen
    13.03.2018

    Too many typos Biko. Linda is truly your gem. Ever consider hiring a standby editor? I’m here whenever you need one.

    1
  • Waithera wa Mbugua
    13.03.2018

    Hahaha!
    I so relate to the AC, lights, naked person in the mirror bit…

  • Marion
    13.03.2018

    Loved it. Even with all this talk of loneliness, I can’t wait to travel… sleep in hotels…order room service and tip the motherly ladies who clean up

  • Thai
    13.03.2018

    Linda! Biko needs you.

  • Jabali.T
    13.03.2018

    Awesome read Biko.

  • Suleiman
    13.03.2018

    It didn’t sound like Biko initially, then I started seeing the forehead which grew bigger to complete the image of Biko.
    Nice read as always.

    6
  • Iyanna
    13.03.2018

    Hehehe i had to reconfirm whether you had posted in 3 times or i was seeing my own things. Linda needs a pay rise if this is what happens when she’s away 🙂

    1
  • T.Otieno
    13.03.2018

    Strange indeed sounded like stories within one story…Good read though.

    2
    • Asha
      13.03.2018

      yeah, it’s like Biko had enough stories to tell, but it had to be done in one. Isn’t that how life is though? We experience different scenarios in any one moment.

  • T.Otieno
    13.03.2018

    Strange indeed sounded like stories within one story…Good read though.

  • Rehema Zuberi
    13.03.2018

    Oh Linda, please deal with your urgent emergency and come back quickly, a man is suffocating with words without you. Do not let that balcony at a hotel deceive you into staying too long munching on strawberries…

    Che Guevara, Mandela, Madiba. South Africa, Dar ( My favourite place!) and of course Kenya. The tour was lovely as was the Historical journey. A beautiful girl with a poor taste in men…at least she has a nice bag…
    I have not been to a hotel yet but when I do, I will not call Room Service at 2 am, for 3 am is a better hour. I will ask for a guide round the hotel premises, that way, whoever is sent, will have no choice but to strike a conversation.

    Another Tuesday, not to be lonely!

    5
  • Ray Phoi
    13.03.2018

    I just came back from Ramada Encore Hotel on Sunday. I should have looked for you Biko. And yes, it’s true, hotel rooms especially when you’re travelling for work are very lonely. I find it very hard to relax and enjoy any of this.
    You will also find all kinds of spirits in hotel rooms. Dead spirits, good spirits, bad and evil spirits. People even set up altars for the period that they are in those rooms. It’s always good to pray when you check in.

    2
  • Faith Chege
    13.03.2018

    I honestly struggled to finish this one. I enjoy most of your articles Biko, but this one…Nah..

    1
  • Jennifer
    13.03.2018

    Biko you know I can help out when Linda is held up.

  • Linda
    13.03.2018

    My problems are not big enough to ignore beddings instead of bedding.

    3
  • Kash
    13.03.2018

    Could totally relate especially the switches part…LOL- travelling for work is not sexy, you just do what you gotta do… I had had it with the editing when i saw “stationary” but as people have bigger problems…we shall deal

  • David Mwenda
    13.03.2018

    Tell Linda to grab herself some rubber shoes. Also somethings happen I don’t blame you. Also DONT call room service to disturb them at 2 am people sleep at 2am Biko they sleep!they sleep at 2 am

    4
  • Collins
    13.03.2018

    Nice read, that zero always saves the cold lonely nights…especially when the moon is out…

  • Philsoft
    13.03.2018

    Good read as always. I like your choice of words and description of events.

  • Diana
    13.03.2018

    Today’s read was just ‘there’.Sincerely Biko,was that you? There was no that hysterical humour.ama you were having one of those writers block???The writing was neither here,nor there. Just saying.

    3
  • swoz
    13.03.2018

    The first few paragraphs did not sound like Biko at all… I sincerely had to trudge on till Bikos voice appeared somewhere! is this what you sound Lindalessly?

    • Millenial
      15.03.2018

      lindalessly hahaha!!!

  • Marmanet
    13.03.2018

    Indeed there are bigger problems

  • P K
    13.03.2018

    I so feel you but you made me tear with this description. Cant stop laughing. waa

  • P K
    13.03.2018

    Biko lucky for me I got to read this post after the thrice manenos had been sorted. But might you be the reason I missed a room in Ramada earlier this month? Had to make do with Landmark which is trying to be a Ramada. (I spotted a ‘Gavna’ there with his first lady mwirru.)

    Ever heard of strange bed syndrome? That is what you and all the ones saying they feel this, suffer from. You have described my woes and am a lady. So FYI not all ladies love the hotel rooms or wander in to check out the closet. except for a robe or house slippers… I will always talk to house keeping on my floor. Not over the phone hehehe you never know who is listening. But I can chat them up depending on their current affairs. But the sea view does it for me. It has a calming effect and so I get to sleep after 30 minutes of listening to the AC humming. So please; demand for a sea view room even if it costs more. (abbrasive please intended 🙂

  • Humphrey
    13.03.2018

    I can relate to this perfectly…

  • Wa Mso
    13.03.2018

    Great read. Loved it.

  • smokebuccaneer
    13.03.2018

    Biko, what a humorous exchange of words between you and the hotel attendant at 2 a.m.! And yes, I agree that Linda is a very significant part of this production.

  • Njeri Njui
    13.03.2018

    lovely,this piece made me L.o.l

  • Dave
    13.03.2018

    Thanks Biko for great stories. Always great.

  • Njeri
    13.03.2018

    Travel diaries.

  • Ruth Cherop
    14.03.2018

    Hi,
    I purchased the book ‘Drunk’, Tuesday last week, and i am unable to access it. It just keeps loading and loading…could i just get a copy sent to my email?

  • snookerly
    14.03.2018

    I swear Biko keeps on changing every day! Lets see what is in store for us next

  • Mimi
    14.03.2018

    Well, this didn’t sound Biko…Didn’t smell him either. I know his scent

    2
  • Jane G K
    14.03.2018

    I’m obediently sitting on all the typos I came across.

    “There is a look wives have and she didn’t have it. She seemed too excited to be in his space to be his wife.”
    Really Biko ?

    1
  • Quasimodo
    14.03.2018

    True, people have bigger problems.

  • General Zod
    14.03.2018

    One of your -not so good – works, Biko. I also thought you should have ceded the room without the drama. Maybe you had it in for the other gent since he had a hot girl and you were solo and lonely?

    1
  • Che Guevaress
    14.03.2018

    Biko you’re 40 years old and still can’t stay alone comfortably. You have to go to the bar and observe us poor people who are grinning at the barman without knowing it, or have our heads buried in a book. Hit me up, I’ll teach you how to meditate. Not the professional meditation where you murmur Hummmmm repeatedly. Just the kind where you sit and dream while smiling at the barman.
    When I started reading Man’s Talk way in the back when (I missed the Oyunga Pala’s Man Talk either because I was born late or because the occassional newspapers that wrapped our fish went straight to the jiko so yaayy I loved you straightoff with no bias) I used to see that kapicture in that kabox, you know, the one with this straight black nose that looks like it belongs to a straight black guy with a thin upper lip and no facial hair, or even scalp hair, with sizable masguembes interrupting his long legs ending in long toes, like a grave digger’s, and it matched the name Jackson Biko so much my 10-year old self fell irrevocably in love with dark guys? Yeah that kapic. When you turn to switch off the lights in the hotel bathroom and catch a naked man in the mirror, is the big forehead seated atop a 5 foot-something man with a paunch or a 6 foot-plus guy with an Adam’s apple the size of a 5-year old’s fist? ¡¡Important!!

  • Francis
    14.03.2018

    I am on the other side of the hotel room. I mean, I am part of the team which cleans the rooms, takes the two a.m calls, and finds those boxers still hanging in the shower….The stories we can tell! Do believe me when I say the fish doesnt grow bigger, all are true and in fact the more bizarre the truer it is. From tantrums thrown because the hotel did not have a sea view yet it is in Nyeri, through couples you definitely do not want to see together to Dead people. Hotels are where human beings coalesce their lives and expose their inequities. I personally love old hotels, the ghosts keep you company as you sleep.

    1
  • Tracy
    14.03.2018

    There is this book I am reading – a memoir – where an American couple went to Japan for a vacation. Then their room was broken into on their first night at 2:00 freaking am. Turns out the couple that was breaking into this couple’s room had lost their key and because I think they were intoxicated or something, they broke the wrong door. These things happen Biko. Hehehe.

    Also that 2:00am room service call looks like something I might try. LOL.

  • Francis Wachira
    14.03.2018

    This one I didn’t feel at all. Maybe next week you will have the wow factor.

  • Catie Njeri
    14.03.2018

    Haha ladies opening hotel wardrobes as if expecting to find a new dress. Absolutely true.

  • Sash
    14.03.2018

    For a moment there i thought this story was about the import-export guy and i was really waiting for the confrontation… But i loved the 2:00 am conversation; it was hilarious.

  • Zalipher
    14.03.2018

    I kept waiting for the story to start then it ended.

  • Nomzamo
    15.03.2018

    the voice was strange at first, i had to scroll down to ensure I was not the only one feeling this way.

  • Bells
    15.03.2018

    “There is a look wives have and she didn’t have it.” LOl – I wonder what look that is ……….boredom, irritation ,impatience, tolerance
    And it is true , women love that loneliness in those work trips. It gives most of us an opportunity to have some me time .
    I think hotel rooms give people the chance to remove their masks of daily life and be incognito. If only for a while .

    1
  • Joyce Mbingo
    15.03.2018

    Let me not comment about the room service call…your level of sanity is out of this world….WHAT about Lamada hotels…same thing happened to me!!! In 2015 everything i had asked for was exactly same……services so great, i even recommended a friend…Second round in
    2017, i got very poor service. i didnt get a corner room, i had booked, my sister didnt get a crib for her baby…these bookings had been made 2 months earlier and confirmed 2 nights before checking in!..upon asking at the reception, the lady simply brushed it off by saying we dnt have extra cribs..sorry…..YES, the drama that followed made a crib to be availed….
    Something should be checked…

    BIKO…if you havent gone to Sea cliff, try it anytime…and make sure you have an infant..like 1 year old…you will love the all-round service…

  • Nyokabi
    15.03.2018

    Too funny…I’m not sure if it’s being cold (what a damp and dismal day it has been in Nbi) but I found this refreshingly comical.

  • simon
    15.03.2018

    The cleaning lady bit, reminds me of my first hustle as a “clean boy” as biko would put at Brackenhurst Hotel and Conference Centre. I recall a cool lady from Ghana gave me $100 as tip…

    1
  • Gloria.K
    16.03.2018

    The last two sentences, story of my life.

  • winston garfielf
    16.03.2018

    this is totally awesome

  • Lil
    19.03.2018

    Absolutely !! People have bigger problems and a their instead of there, is not one of them Lol

  • Princess Maggie
    20.03.2018

    Kumbe it was posted thrice eeh…..That explains why i finished readind today

  • justkidding
    21.03.2018

    For those who do alot of travelling.
    Here is something tou may want to look at.
    http://bobarno.com/thiefhunters/pickpockets-con-artists-scammers-travel/

  • Humourjunkie
    25.03.2018

    I also thought today’s voice was a bit strange

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