The London Olympics are done and dusted. The names David Rudisha and Usain Bolt will long be remembered in sporting folklore in the same breathe as American runners Jesse Owens and Michael Johnson, Czech long distance phenom Emil Zatopek and our very own Kipchoge Keino.
The whole world having either been enthralled or bored to death depending on how you saw the closing ceremony has now fixed its eyes on Rio De Janeiro where the next games will be hosted. We got an extra interest in future Olympics as Prime Minister Raila Odinga promised that Kenya will be bidding for the 2024 games. The initial reaction from many Kenyans was to find this announcement humerous.
After all the country is still far away from the standards that an Olympic city will need to have with low accommodation. One could envision a Nairobi Olympics closing ceremony with the likes of the Prisons Choir and Katitu Boys band entertaining the global audience with head of TV's Cobra Squad taking the place of James Bond.
The thing is that while it is currently hard to imagine our country and city hosting the games, the people of Nairobi are already starting to behave like you would expect of an international city. In days gone by for instance, people here would restrict themselves to enjoyment which had alcohol at the core.
People would head to the nearest bar after work and start drinking like their lives depended on it. This applied to everything including bonding with friends, first dates, work meetings, family gatherings etc. This alcohol lifestyle has slowly started chipping away as new wondrous things are added to our social menu.
People are still drinking but the drinking is not the core to the enjoyment but is seen as an accompaniment on many occasions which even makes those who are averse to alcohol more welcome. High end coffee houses have flooded the buildings in Nairobi. A whole new raft of events have come through with festivals like Blankets and Wine or the Kite flying festival, camping trips to places like Naivasha and more coming to the fore.
These activities have been fueled by social media with Facebook and Twitter allowing people to show off their latest exploits to envious family and friends. One of the latest things the Nairobi middle class has started to do is climbing high areas. You will hear folks doing hiking trips to head up Ngong Hills or Mt Kilimanjaro for a hiking trip.
The coolest mountain to conquer continues to be Mt Kenya. This mountain adorns Kenyan money and is world famous for being one of the deadliest places to go through so the true Nairobian will want to show just how tough he or she is. The only problem with the resident of this town is while he/she wants to show his/her notoriety with the physical elements, very few will want to go that extra step.
So for those who want to have their Mt Kenya moment will typically head to the closest town to the big mountain which is usually Nanyuki or to a lesser extent Naro Moru during a long weekend. They will then book themselves into a local hotel with decent accommodation and start carousing with those they went with as they paint the little town red. Everyone will know that Nairobi people are in town. They are loud, ordering the bar man to bring cold beer instantly.
Locals look on, wondering what these mad people are up to. They will complain bitterly about the standards of everything, from the service to the washrooms to the food and everything else that can be complained about. They will start arguments with locals to show just how advanced they are as opposed to these little town folk.
All beer from the big brewers will be finished and they insist on the bar owner ordering drinks from other bars. This will happen for all the nights scheduled for the epic climb until the morning of the return. This will be the time they will head to the gate at the Mt Kenya National Park or the base camp where they will take a large amount of photos before heading home.
They will be very careful when they get home to select the ones in which they look like they are heading up the mountain and look least inebriated. These are the images that they will duly post up on their Facebook account showing they not only had a nice time drinking out of town but they also had enough climbing of the deadliest mountain in the world.
PT Lenana Bar Naro Moru River Lodge
This past weekend found me in Naro Moru, a little town town between Nyeri and Nanyuki. I was here to have a weekend away from the madness that is Nairobi at the Naro Moru River Lodge. Whilst here I made my way to the resident bar dubbed the PT Lenana Bar to have a beer before dinner.
There was a counter to the right of the entrance and it was here that I met a friendly barman called Kwendo. I asked him for a cold Tusker, which came to a whopping Sh280, and had a chat with him as I found out more about the place. The whole complex of the river lodge was built decades ago by an Austrian settler and it has changed hands until its current ownership with the Alliance Hotels.
Looking around there was a few seats at the place which looked to be mainly made from wood. There was a TV in the corner to the left where the Olympics was being broadcast and those who must have their sports fix now that football is back will be sure to get it. At the right there was a pool table where some folks were practising their skill at pocketing black ball at their designated destination with little success.
The people in the place were of mixed race with locals mingling in with some foreigners who had come all the way from Netherlands to climb Mt Kenya. It turned out that the lodge was the last place that those who were climbing the legendary Mount Kenya would be seen before they went up. It was also the place where those who came from the mountain would come down and rest from their excursion.
This was evident as all around the pub there were T-shirts and sweat shirts which had been signed by those who had gone up the mountain and returned in triumph. The shirts were from locals and international guest with their triumphs emblazoned on them announcing how they had made it to Point Lenana on the mountain.
A need to visit the washroom after having several drinks and here I found a very clean facility. Now as to whether one can escape in an emergency I have to fancy your chances. The place is on the ground floor and it has several exits that can be used should the need arise.
A quick recap of the venue includes;
Good: Decor that works for its surroundings, superb service, clean washrooms, European sports addicts can get their fix, clean washrooms
Bad: Pricey, a bit inconvenient for public transport users.
My verdict: If you are planning on going up Mount Kenya any time soon you want to sample this place's rustic charms before going up. The less energetic will enjoy the conversation with barman Kwendo as they chatted with their companion or friend.