There’s something fishy about the couple on the opposite table. Like they shouldn’t be together but are anyway. The mamaa, probably in her mid-twenties, has a better taste in fashion than she has in men. Her make-up agrees with her face. The long eyelashes, pink lipstick and slender facial structure make her look like a Nyanza Barbie.
On the other hand, the chair being sat on by the man is about to give way. No one needs a weighing scale to tell that he is way above a hundred and one kilograms. He keeps looking at us, collectively and individually, at our fish, like doing so would win him some medal. They ordered his a while ago, but it seems the waiter couldn’t find the fisherman who was sent to the lake on a fishing mission. I am guessing the five fish that were brought to our table were in the last batch.
The lake is the finest of mirrors, never showing exactly what is above, but converting it into an image so beautifully smudged and broken. The weeping willow, docked boats and clouds above all become a Monet-free for the looking. Green grass laps at the blue waters as if it is the land that kisses up to the lake, a certainly breathtaking view. The clear blue skies make a good impression. The sun’s scorching hot like it always does in Kisumu, but the gentle cool breeze that’s blowing is mitigating the situation.
It’s a good day to be in Dunga. Well, save for the fact that we couldn’t find parking space on the premises of this establishment whose name I choose not to say because no one pays me smackers to market them. It was already filled to the brim, sporting German machines like BMW’s, Mercedes, and VWs; an apparent reiteration of the fact that this, ladies and gentlemen, is Kisumu Dala, The first of its name. The land where nothing is ever done ordinarily. Have I mentioned that waiters here use tablets to take orders? Yes, tablets.
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Our order took a while too before it arrived. By the time it did, I was both hungry and angry. The fish came in fish-shaped plates. Heaped on top of the fish are kales I bet were chopped with a panga. Or a sickle. The fish I was served is so huge, it must have been a descendant of the one that swallowed Jonah.
“Fish is eaten with a formula yawa, ” Jaduong finally bellows when he can no longer take the sight of five Kalenjins and their thirty-eight teeth each chewing through the spine of the fish.”You start with the head, and especially the eyes and then the body follows. Also, you shouldn’t break the bone structure of the fish.”
“Are you visiting? Nyinyi ni wageni hapa eh, Nyako?” he asks, this time looking directly at me. There’s a big chunk of food in my mouth, which I quickly try to swallow and that reminds me of Owang Sino.
“Yes, we are only visiting. Is it apparent? Are we like fish out of water?” comes my response.
He snorts – because I am funny like that.
“From which part of the country do you come from?”
Their food finally arrives and his attention immediately shifts to his fish: good riddance. He begins dismantling it swiftly and surely. The fish head goes empty in a matter of seconds. The brains, he says, is good especially for men. He’s lolling the fillet out like you would peel a potato. As if the bones of the fish he’s eating has a sentimental value. As if it’s more important than the meaty part itself. Jaduong better eat the fish with formula or he dies. (Insert laughing emoji.)
Five minutes later, he’s done and dusted. He looks at the fish heads on our plates with dismay. He tells the waiter not to clear the table until we finis the fis. Also, read as fish brains and innards.
PS; I can’t decide what side note would go best with this article. Quite fishy if you’d ask me.