Tales of Geneva and its Ear Whispering Men
An Eventful Night
Geneva is known for the international organization it hosts and for the expatriates who move to the city to work. So you can understand my shock when my beautiful night in Geneva ended with irking ear whispers tickling my ears…read on…
Growing up, I always thought Geneva was a country. I did not imagine that a country such as Kenya would have a Mission to a “City.” I was an ardent admirer of Ambassador Amina Mohamed and she was the then head of the Kenyan mission to Geneva. Google was not yet my friend, so I did not ask her whether Geneva was a country. I call Google “her” because she seems to know everything, doesn’t she?
This is not a story about expatriates, or Google… but I digress; a lot I might add. Every August, the typically-suited-up expats in Geneva shed their serious-down-to-business looks and indulge in the frivolous two-week festival, the Fêtes De Genève. This year (2017), I was lucky to see this side of Geneva.
Image source: ankhe.cat
International cuisines are paraded by the lake every day for people to indulge. Kenya was well represented. Of course, mukimo and muthokoi were not on the menu, but loads of coastal dishes were.
These international cuisines blend seamlessly with the night life, open air cinemas, and fireworks display.
Being from Kenya, fireworks displays are a big deal for me; so big, they make me feel like a little girl who has just discovered ice-cream. I shamelessly put the fireworks display memories on my InstaStory, and post #tbt pictures weeks later. I remember it too well; the mother of all displays was on 12th August 2017.
I arrive by the lake early enough, phone fully charged, waiting for the show to blow my mind, and yes, it did! So much so, that after the show I sit by the lake for another hour adorning my red Maasai shuka, reminiscing on the just-ended glorious display with a new friend I met on CouchSurfing.
Being abroad alone has made me appreciate how the internet has revolutionized our social lives. Story for another day…
Image source: my Switzerland.com
I bump into a couple of Kenyans, and we instantly become friends – the person missing home can turn you into. They are on their way to a reggae concert by the lake. My new friend and I join them. I do not listen to reggae, but I am tired of Latino music, punctuated by Selena Gomez. My new friend doesn’t care for reggae music either but he is new in Geneva as well, and just wants to have a good time.
Back in college I attended a couple of reggae parties, so I am not too rusty with the dance moves. Surprisingly, since I came here I have become quite the dancer. Well… not really, but in my colleague’s words ”Africans and Latinos have the moves in their body, it is natural”. So let me rephrase that, I have become quite the confident dancer. Same moves I was mocked for in Nairobi, I shine with in Europe. So we dance, and dance.
Dancehall music blazes from the speakers; records I haven’t heard since I stopped going to Red Carpet in Ngara four years ago (I think it was renovated and renamed to something like Shadows, not sure though, doesn’t matter). At some point the djs say they are taking us to Africa. I get excited, I scream, I jump, hoping for an hour of African hits. My Woman plays for a minute, and back to Jamaica. Bummer!
At 2am the concert ends, they move the party to a club in town. We follow, looking forward to more dance. We end up in Chat Noir, first time for me but quite local for our new Kenyan friends. They order their beers, I order my lemon water and as soon as I gulp my first glass I hit the dance floor again.
I spot someone I had seen at the concert in a white shirt with African print at the front. I subtly signal that I like the shirt. He comes over for a dance. He’s French, speaks very little English. He mumbles, ‘beautiful girl, I see you in lake, me like [sic]’. Tells me he is in Geneva for the festival; that is the much I understand. My French goes as far as bonjour and bonne nuit, sadly. We dance, he whispers in my ear, singing along to every song, and humming to those he doesn’t know the lyrics to, all in my ear. Poor ears. Should have kept the shirt compliment to myself…