One thing that can make Nairobi look like New York is a quick transformation in weather. New York is indeed a city that never sleeps and so is Nairobi but let the rain pour down and you will think Nairobians have been induced with Valium. It’s the best weather to sleep and the worst time to work. With the temperatures dropping as low as 17 degrees Celsius in the morning and goes only a degree higher at night, everyone remains paralyzed throughout the day.
It is only here where someone’s face can tell the temperatures being experienced. Believe it or not, it’s actually true. In the cold season, one almost never smiles at any instance; it is apparently to avoid the teeth from becoming ice cubes and the mouth a freezer. Then all the facial expressions are similar, whether its smiling or frowning one has the same facial reaction. It is called Mwai kibaki fever. This reduces the surface area being exposed to cold; yes indeed, Physics is everywhere.
Apart from limited facial connotations and almost void reactions, Nairobians have discovered other forms of greeting. If somebody greets you by either handshaking, kiss on the cheek or bear hug, just know that guy is gayer than Ellen DeGeneres. No one in their right mind dares to expose their hands to cold, or bump cheeks with old mamas as a sign of respect. Tradition at this point is not even thrown out of the window; it is given a further notice. A simple head nod is more than enough for anyone.
So apparently fashion knows no weather; to know a good fashion icon or stylist just wait for the cold season. Trend setters have most definitely impeccable taste when it comes to clothing. In other words their fashion sense is not seasonal; whether baba is away or he is here, it remains the same. Most city dwellers suffer from the same syndrome but some are not exactly correctly dressed when it is cold. I am not referring to freeze and shine. This unfriendly time, it is easy to determine who exactly runs the trend world. Unfortunately everyone embraces almost similar taste in clothes; from trench coats, to gloves, to boots and scarfs.
Visitations also have become limited; with everyone using the same root every day and heading straight home afterwards is great. I am glad I haven’t seen my neighbor Brian for two weeks now, that guy practically had a room in our house. He ate, slept and sometimes called my mum, mum. Who steals somebody’s mother? Apart from him, I am sure everyone else is restricting their excess travelling. This month has practically zero sleepovers, almost no get-togethers and most importantly no boring visitors.
This weather brings the good and the bad out of people but most importantly it brings family together, excess tea consumption and zero tolerance to water. Ironically the name Nairobi centers on the idea of water.