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Politics and the Surface of Nairobi

"Where are you from?"
"The United States"
"Ah, are you fighting for Obama?"
"Ha ha, yeah."
"Do you think he has a chance?"
"Yeah, he's well-spoken. The people like him."
Touching the back of his hand, "Do you know he is black?"
"The best, Kenyan blood, what's not to like?"
Smiles as he ushers me into the Kenyan National Archives.

Nairobi swings with rocks, dirt, and people. The city's broken sidewalks wind and curve around hundreds of low end shops. Luggage, cellphones, suits, and chicken: To understand Nairobi through an American comparible you best think of New York -- west 34th or there abouts, the knockoff district as I call it. Take this and expand it to a decent sized city. Keep the volume and rush of beautiful people, but here they are black. This is Nairobi.

A city where many men where suits fit of Jamie Foxx in the 90's, but not as colorful. And the women are phenomenal in equally formal attire. This most certainly is not the showy peahens and 'cocks of San Francisco, of which I am one. The one man in Nairobi wearing a hot pink t-shirt inside-out. Here you will see women in head scarfs far more than any U.S. city that I know of, not the majority but a nice noticible presence. There are even a few in full attire, showing only the the slit for the eyes. This of course increases the power of eye contact a thousand-fold. And it negates those physical presumptions almost entirely. What that, what have you? You are left to recognize religious and social bounds and pass intot the hurried crowd of others so beautiful. Streets lined with club berring blue policemen, askari, banks, skyscrappers, matutu yelling bustle: a warm day walking the surface of Nairobi.

Comments

Carlasays's picture

The knockoff district

Is mostly *below* West 34th St. :)

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