Getting Started


So my phone’s dead, I can’t remember the exact address I was given since I was relying on googlemaps. I can’t call my host either obviously, and even if I find a pay phone, I didn’t write his number anywhere. It starts to drizzle, and I start to walk, making a racket dragging my suitcase behind me.

I ask a few people. Nobody knows where Rhymney Street is. All I know is that it’s about 10 minutes walk from where the bus dropped me off.

I have been walking back and forth looking for a restaurant or somewhere I can charge my phone.  I come across this huge beautiful building, it looks like a museum, and right next to it there’s a map of the city. Excellent, I see Rhymney street on the map. I write the directions on a business card I find in my wallet. I finally find the left I knew I was meant to take after the bus stop.

My host said they were throwing a party. So I see a supermarket and go in to get a 6 pack of Heineken (drinking Heineken in Kenya means you are a sell-out). The guy insists on seeing ID (it’s a rule, unless maybe you look 50) so I have to hunt for my passport inside my bags. I had my ID in my wallet, but it didn’t occur to me to give him that. I hold the queue for like 7 minutes. He knows where Rhymney Street is, tells me I’m on the right track.

I follow his directions, under the bridge, up the hill. I reach a dead end, and a bus stop. The bus stop has a map, but no Rhymney street. I see these 2 kids walking past, I ask them, and one of them is actually going there. Great!

He’s a very shy kid, but he tries to make some awkward conversation, it’s laughable, and nice. We take some hidden stairs I had passed just a minute before, and we are on Rhymney Street. The kid says bye and quickly enters his house like he’s running away. I walk on trying to remember the house number.

A really hot blonde, dressed to party, runs in the rain to a house nearby. That must be the house, I think approaching (albeit happily due to perceived occupants). But then this big guy carrying a bottle also comes through wearing rugby kit and enters the next house. The blonde’s house is quiet and his is noisy, so I choose his. Finally some more guys in kit open the door. I’ve never actually met my host but I’ve seen him on Facebook so I recognize him even with the painted whiskers and cat nose on his face when he comes to the door. They usher me in and up the narrow stairs to my floor for the night.

His girlfriend comes to say hello, I know it’s his girlfriend because I have seen her on facebook. (This is why I’m leaving Facebook, knowing who a stranger is and what their role is before you actually meet them is annoying).

She’s nice, I like her immediately, and she gives me a warm hug, eager to let me feel welcome. She’s the save-the-world-naive  kind of chick, I deduce from the volunteering she tells me she does and some rainforest project she wants to join. She asks me a dumb question about Africa, but she’s really sweet so I indulge her. (If I didn’t like her, I would reply with a very derisive snort and impromptu somewhat harsh lecture about the 55 countries that constitute Africa).

She’s also in rugby uniform, it’s the theme apparently, so I’m suited up too, for the first time wearing those really tiny shorts. I go downstairs into the kitchen where the rest of the people are sitting around a table drinking.

I shake hands, forgetting names and forming opinions at each handshake. The last hand I shake is the classic loudmouth ‘kind-of-an-asshole-at-first’  type. He makes a quip about my shaking hands, because these types usually try to intimidate. I love shutting down these types, they’re usually harmless, and sometimes cool, but bullies if you let them.

I’m going to be a short person in the UK it seems, cause I’m looking up at everyone except the girls. I feel like a short old man, cause they’re all around 21, the best year in my opinion. At 21, you are an adult, but you can still get away with doing stupid stuff, like breathing in laughing gas, which was delivered to me in a purple balloon.

They are a great bunch though, as they encourage me to drink (the beer I brought). This clearly is a strictly BYOB culture I note. As I amusedly watch a guy enjoying himself licking the floor (he spilled his beer). This is my abode for only a night or 3, but I make a mental note to settle for a house with older folk like me. Partying like this on a regular might kill me. Wayward foe, remember your epic party when we were 21? 😀

The party goes on, I lose track of time, blame it on the Heineken. Photos are taken, fun is had. Suddenly there’s a queue in the house, and someone tells me to get into the waiting cab. We end up on another queue this time outside a club in the rain. One of the guys I’m standing with (he’s the guy that was coughing), picks up a 5 pound note. Apparently that’s only 2 beers… 10 points for ‘developing countries’.

We get into the dark club, I just follow anyone wearing rugby uniform. We end up at the bar, I heard someone talking about VIP, haha, clearly the fad is not just a Kenyan thing. The coughing guy hands me a beer, in turn I buy some test-tube drinks.

They’re playing electronic music, the bouncers are friendly (so strange!). A girl in a black dress comes up to me, she shouts something in my ear, something about me looking like someone. I don’t know who he is, so I ask if he’s a cool guy, she says yes, and asks me to take a picture with her. Jungle fever, helping black immigrants in the UK since World War II.

They actually play D’banj, even though they call him D-Burn-Jay.

Welcome to Cardiff, Wales. I best enjoy myself.

Tagged , , , ,

7 thoughts on “Getting Started

  1. Angie Kagume says:

    This piece is awesome. So well written I can just see the house, the club and the people. I feel you on the house…move kama huwes mek! Partying like 21 has an expiry date for sho!

  2. WairimuM says:

    huraaah!!! keep them coming Jeremy!

  3. Princess Achieng says:

    please post a pic of you in the rugby uniform please please…he!he, made my Monday morning

  4. wayward foe says:

    i remember the party, that was something, anyway it reads like you got a nice start to your stay in wales, can’t wait to read the rest of this adventure

  5. […] crashed on someone’s couch my first night in Cardiff, and the next morning, went house or rather room hunting. I had already set-up a couple of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: