The Oasis That Is Olepolos
It was on a Saturday evening that Jazz and I decided to go to Olepolos Country club. We had previously had very busy days each and thus decided to have a small getaway out of the hustle and bustle of busy Nairobi. We met at 6:30 pm and were off on an adventure. After putting my bag inside the car and strapping my seatbelt in, we were off into the unknown.
Previously we’d been tired from the day and traffic didn’t make things any easier; only worse. As our designated driver, Jazz got so frustrated because traffic kept us feeling stagnant for the two-and-a-half-hour journey. To ease the tension, I made the atmosphere less tense by trying to play “21 questions” and playing a nice variety of Indie music to calm him down. I took on my role as self-assigned co-driver to help Jazz meander through the madness. There were random crazy hooligans on the side of the road as we drove by. Jazz quickly put up the windows and locked our doors, the music in the car numbed the outside commotion as we slugged our way through the congestion.
As we got further away from Nairobi, the roads got much darker; almost pitch black due to lack of electricity. It felt as though anything could pop out in the middle of nowhere and an accident was prone to occur. The road was so thin and as a co-driver, I needed to guide Jazz through oblivion. Cars were seen only through the squint of an eye. Their indicators to the left side of their car would be the only sign to show the width of the car to avoid any accidents. The road began to curve and sway closer to the hotel; blind spots and near dead-ends that made us both weary.
Luckily, we got to Olepolos country club at 9:30 pm after three hours of struggling on the road. Jazz had told me earlier to carry a jacket because of the cold, I’m glad that I listened. The first thing that tackles your fragile body after being warmed up in the car is the wind. It is unforgiving and unkind. It hits you like a pile of bricks on a construction site. Being so petite, I thought my body would be swept away into the wild. With one quick motion, we both got out of the car and wore our jackets which acted as protective armour to shield us against our harsh adversary.
Amos, who works at the vicinity, was handling us during the trip. He gave us the room keys to put our luggage inside before we ate dinner. We went to drop the car close to the room. To my delighted surprise, the rooms were a manyatta. I’d never stayed in a manyatta before and was so excited for the experience. The manyatta was painted clay yellow and red with a flat roof at the top. Our bed was queen size placed on the right side of the room. A “Masai shuka” was placed on top of the beddings with the brand logo “Olepolos Country Club”. There was a compartment to put luggage on the right side. The bathroom was made of dark hard rock and clay. It was a quaint, quiet place to get away from civilization and unwind.
Due to the extreme environments on the outside, Jazz and I found ourselves getting lost in the darkness. The path wasn’t clear, and we were struggling to see in the night time. As an expert in direction, I led us to our salvation, the restaurant. Olepolos has a famous reputation of having the best tasting meat for miles around and that’s exactly what we ate. Their speciality, “nyama choma” was scrumptious. Jazz and I devoured the food because this was the only meal we consumed the whole day. It tasted like heaven. He chose to order ugali while I opted for a bowl of chips. A kilo of meat costs Ksh 1000, the ugali cost Ksh 70 and the bowl of fries was Ksh 100. I stuffed my mouth to a point that I couldn’t sit comfortably. Sleep, my dear friend, swept over me like a broom. My eyes were submerged by the power of sleep. After such a long day, I knew that all I could do was hit the hay.
Forgetting the adversary on the outside, the wind crept up my spine. The wind had intensified, and our bodies were as vulnerable as a lamb awaiting slaughter from a hungry wolf. Our bodies began to shiver. Everything felt flimsy and uncertain. One step after the other to our home for the night; the only refuge we could get from this ungodly wind. Our manyatta was so warm, welcoming us from the treacherous natural battle from the outside world a few inches away.
The daytime posed an antithesis to the nighttime. It felt like we awoke to a different location altogether. I’m not a lover of surprises but this was a beautiful twist of fate. The sun was shining, birds were singing and the whole atmosphere seemed more alive and eager to welcome us into this new day. Apart from the appeasing sun, it was also blazing. Hovering unapologetically over our heads. Walking from one place to another felt like a daunting task.
Jazz’s cousin, Kinyanjui, bought us lunch. Relaxing with Jazz and his family was a relaxing way to spend the day. We ate another kilo of meat with three plates of fries, kachumbari and a plate of ugali for Jazz. I ate until I didn’t have space to breathe anymore. We spoke of the art of photography and how it’s essential to Kenya in the modern-day. Since it was my first time visiting the property, it was only fair to embark on a tour. Jazz offered to take me to the slaughterhouse, but I found it too horrific to stomach so we opted to go to the playground to sightsee. Kinyanjui’s family owned the property and he disclosed to us that they had planted five hundred trees on the property over twenty-one years thus acting as a wind barrier. I thought to myself how much worse the wind could’ve gotten if the land was bear.
Jazz recounted the splendid memories he had with his cousins on the cemented slides when he was young with a smile on his face. The wind was a stagnant force in the environment but at the top of the slides, I could finally view the effortless environment that surrounded us. Olepolos is located on top of a valley. The land weaved its way harmoniously around each other, hill after hill. Coming to such places reminded me of the magnificence of nature and how small we were as humans in the larger spectrum of the ecosystem.
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