Thursday, August 03, 2017

Of Beauty and a Smile

OK - I'll admit it: SA isn't half bad (looks like I have a Jerkyll & Hyde thing going on with this place). It can sort of grow on you.

To start off with, the country is beautiful! Whereas in Nairobi we seem to be climbing over each other to cut down trees and replace them with unsightly high-rises; be it outside City Hall or within Karura forest. Johannesburg, which is argued by some to be the largest urban man-made forest in the world, is breathtaking in its scenic beauty. The greenery is accentuated by the well though out architecture as well as the gentle rise & fall of the land giving way to breathtaking views. Whereas Nairobi folds within itself at about 700 square kilometers like an old woman trying to hold all her five cats within her tight embrace for warmth while all the time coughing up a storm and turning her back to the night's cold, Johannesburg stretches itself wide, like a prepubescent lad full of energy and purpose, as though yawning to all its extent at about 1,600 square kilometers (if google is to be believed) and with ample space and good planning, comes to good looking living anyway you look at it.

What Nairobi lacks in ambiance, it more than makes up for through the abundance of friendly people. We manage to shove around each other in that tiny town, while always having a story and a smile for the stranger. I know Niarobians don't believe this, but it's true. I had some business in Nairobi CBD in mid-July, which was my first trip back to Kenya this year, and I was almost taken aback by the number of security guards outside buildings chiding me in a friendly way seeking to get a smile out of me (perhaps it's my perspective that's changed .. I think I used to find them annoying). There was the wealth of Uber guys I exchanged so many stories with, it was like meeting long-lost classmates. There were the long-lost classmates met unexpectedly in serious meetings. There were the women in the market who would announce triple the sale price to make you feel you've reached a good bargain when you managed to haggle it down to half the stated amount. What can I tell you - all this is priceless!

So there you have it - experience of beauty both in & out.

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