What you need to know:
- I was paying double for not having a travel card.
- The distance from where I am staying to where I was going is less than that from South B to Nairobi CBD. Less than a 30 minutes’ walk and I was paying over Sh300?
- I am not going to Nakuru, I wanted to tell her.
I have now been in Denmark for a month. Despite the length of time I have been here, I had not bothered with administrative stuff like getting a travel card to allow me to go from place A to place B. Primarily because I have not travelled from Place A to Place B, which is not within walking distance or in other instances, taken by car. The wisdom of getting the travel card escaped me as I have been closed up. What would I need it for? I could always get one just before I start doing trips to a neighbouring town for workshops.
During the weekend, hip-hop artist and my friend Aleni Agami gave me two tickets to go to the premiere of Snowden, the new Hollywood movie about Edward Snowden, the American spy now in asylum in Russia. The premiere was on a Tuesday. I now needed to travel but I figured, I could afford to pay for a trip back and forth no problem. My childhood friend Alice, who we refer to as ‘ZimDanish’ because her mother is Zimbabwean and her father was Danish was my date and we would meet at the bus stop.
Aleni had hyped the event. There were going to be some Hollywood types there, he said.
“Like who?” I wanted to know.
“Oliver Stone will be there.”
I looked at him, “Oliver Stone, like THE director Oliver Stone? Oliver Stone?”
“Yes,” he nodded.
Seeing as the only Hollywood types I have ever encountered have been those doing charity and not their work, I decided, on the day of the premiere, that I would make this a special occasion even though I was going with my childhood friend. It is nice to engage with artists about their work rather than their adopted children or elephants.
I brought out the little packet of face mask that I received at some give-away event many weeks ago. It was called White Chocolate Masque. I applied it on my face. It smelled of white chocolate. My curiosity was tickled. I licked my finger because I wanted to know whether the masque tasted anything like white chocolate. I am yet to understand why people in the beauty industry would make a product that smells of white chocolate, is called white chocolate, but tastes like crushed stones. Fail. My face did, however, feel better after the white chocolate that did not taste of chocolate.
The tickets stated that the events would start at 7.30pm so I left an hour before. As we boarded, Alice went before me, swiping her travel card. 12Kr. Then I took out my 12 Kr but the driver looked at me as though I had smoked Ketepa tea leaves. She said something to me in Danish that I failed to understand so I put my best ‘clueless foreigner’ look on my face. When she realized that I could not understand, she spoke to me in English. ‘It’s 24 Kr.’
I was paying double for not having a travel card.
The distance from where I am staying to where I was going is less than that from South B to Nairobi CBD. Less than a 30 minutes’ walk and I was paying over Sh300?
I am not going to Nakuru, I wanted to tell her.
But realised I was holding up the line. So I paid, despite feeling aggrieved.
And on arrival into town, before going to the cinema theatre, I went to buy a travel card.
I was never going to pay double again.
There was a red carpet and lots of Grayce Kerongo and Larry Madowo types interviewing Oliver Stone. The dress code seemed to be smart-casual so I was glad I did not wear the gown I do not have. But there was at least one overdressed person, a man in a black tuxedo. And one underdressed one, a woman wearing a Brazilian football jersey. Stone introduced the movie and then afterwards he and the cinematographer, Anthony Dod Mantle answered questions.
And how was the movie? Well thanks to watching it, I now know that Big Brother America has been watching us on social media, at our workplaces, possibly as you read this and, if you switch off your laptop but leave it open, sometimes even as you sleep. I am not sure whether it will make you change the way you do things. It has not changed the way I do mine. I even bought a travel card which means Big Brother can know where and when I travel while in Denmark.
Zukiswa Wanner is a South African author based in Kenya. [email protected]