5 Things To Look Out For In Kisumu
The rugby caravan that is the Stanbic Bank National Sevens Circuit is back on the road and this weekend, it will make its penultimate stop at the lake side city of Kisumu for the 15th edition of the Dala Sevens.
While most of your eyes will be on the rugby as Homeboyz, Mwamba and maybe KCB battle it out for the Dala title and in turn the overall series, here are a few things to look out for, beyond the walls of the Mambo Leo show grounds, in the beautiful (and very clean) city of Kisumu.
I happened to spend a couple of weeks in Kisumu and noticed a few things that you might want to look out for. This one is especially for the guys who are not residents of the City, who will be on tour, but the residents as well.
1. Kisumu is HOT– No as in really, Kisumu is hot and not in the cool way Mombasa is, as in hot hot, hot HOT! The kind of heat that would fry an egg on the tarmac. No wonder nothing starts any earlier than 9AM and almost always ends by 4PM, you really can’t survive in that heat for long.
However the hot sun brings with it some beautiful sun rises and sun sets, especially the sun sets over the lake.
2. Round a bouts – Kisumu probably has the highest number of round a bouts per Kilometer of tarmac road, and they come in all shapes and sizes, rectangular, triangular, hexagons, name it, they have it. There is one right at the Maseno University town campus that is the size of a soccer ball, and guys still diligently go round it (Apart from the boda bodas, obviously). Directions on the main nerves of the city are purely given in reference to round a bouts, “Enda hivi straight ukisa fika kwa ile round a bout ya KCB, enda tu bado straight, alafu utafike kwa ile round a bout ya Naivas…”
3. The Sherehe – Kisumu has a very interesting night life, especially if you are from the hustle and bustle of 047. First, the ladies impressively dress up for a night out, unlike huku mnatoka shule na kazi ka mmeingia sherehe, ama mnaingia club na t-shirt ya Safaricom, hoodie, jeans na bata ngoma. Not that it is a bad thing, but the ladies here take time to dress up for the dunda, no wonder their night spots start filling up at 11PM.
Interesting to note, one of their best night spots is literally a kiosk and a road. If you do nothing else in Kisumu, make sure you go for the reggae on Sunday night at Signature, thank me later. A small bird just whispered that the Tusker after party on Saturday will be all types of flames.
4. The Food – the food, no the food is something special, apart from your everyday stop at Lwang’ni..there is a spot at Railways that does kuku kienyeji..(Mwa nye mwanaa Mule!) that kuku is for world cup. Then there is a breakfast joint, right opposite the KCB bank, that serves some soft sweet chapos that zinateleza bila hata mate.
They take their food very seriously, there is this one place we stopped by looking for a quick bite, asked for the basic chipo, the waitress replied, “Aiii uku hatuserve chipo peke yake, kunywa hata na soda..” So we proceeded to ask for the small soda, again the waitress, “Apana, uku wanaume hawakunyi soda ndogo..” That is how we ended up taking chipo, soda nusu na sausage mbili.
Contrary to popular belief, fish is quite expensive in Kisumu.
5. Kisumu residents are a passionate people – While we know about their passion and pride in sports, politics as well as every other thing they do, it is interesting to see how this passion manifests in the smaller things. Like for example, it is not surprising to see a lady walk up to you on a night out and ask in these exact words..”Wewe, wapi Tusker yangu, huoni nakupenda?”
In another instance, my friends and I sat down at a joint one evening after a long day, ordered 4 Tusker Lagers and 1 Black Ice, the waiter left confidently with our order and moments later came back confidently, with a tray holding 4 Tusker Malts and a Balozi. On inquiring further about how he could have messed up everything on our order, he quipped..”Ah nime enda apo kwa fridge nikakosa hizo mulikua mumeitisa, sa nikaona mtawesa tumia hizi..”
Make of it what you may, I chose to see it as an undying passion to complete the job, no matter what the circumstance and giving your customer a good laugh while at it.
Whatever you do this coming weekend, make sure you enjoy the City as much as you do the rugby, tupatane hapo Mamboleo basi ama?