Photographs and Story by Neville Cole
Yellow orange hues of dusk fill the sky outside as I wake from a much needed nap. A hot, Kenyan breeze is blowing steadily. The window slats are rusted permanently open and a flimsy, green curtain is fluttering parallel to the floor. I go the bathroom to splash water on my face. It consists of a sink, one tap, a toilet, and a shower nozzle. I could conceivably sit on the toilet, brush my teeth in the sink, and take a shower all at the same time. This could considerably speed up my morning routine. Somehow though, I don’t see myself ever being in that much of a rush. Not at the Oasis Club anyway.
While I dozed, a crowd gathered by the pool, which was actually a natural hot water spring, consisting of two self-circulating ponds connected by a waterfall: the oasis from which the club draws its name. Feeling stable again I wander out for a look. I find John splashing around naked with a bunch of fat old guys.
“Neville,” he yells. “Get your togs off and hop in! And look like you’re having fun, we’re trying to get the girls to join us.” On the far side of the Oasis, under a darkened porch, I can just make out a few young women sitting and smoking. I rip off my shirt and shorts and leap into the pool with a childish whoop.
John is floating blissfully around on his back. Two of the fat, naked guys are doing the same thing. They all have their pricks exposed to the night air. “This is Jean and Michel,” John says with a nod of his head. “We’re going to have some party at the old Oasis tonight! Especially if we can get those mademoiselles to lighten up and enjoy themselves.”
“Wolfgang, tell us you were at the Florida 2000,” Michel said with a devilish grin. “Did you have the Nairobi handshake?”
“Nairobi handshake?” I asked. “What’s that?”
“I’m not sure you’d remember even if you did get one, Nev.” John says with exaggerated good humour. “It’s a special greeting the girls give you underneath your shorts.”
“I think I’d remember that. Besides, I was wearing jeans.”
“Too bad for you,” grinned Jean. “We get the jungle fever, both of us.”
“How nice.” I smile and dive under the water. When I come up for air I find two stupendously tall models looking down at me. John wastes no time in sending a graceful splash in their general direction. “Come on in ladies, the water’s fine!” he laughs.
“I don’t know,” the tallest of the glamorzons shoots back. “By the looks of your things that water is pretty cold. Besides, the bar is open.”
I watch very close to dumbstruck as Giselle and Natalia, for those are surely their names, parade up an imaginary catwalk to the bar. Is it possible that John’s horrible flying has dropped us into a parallel universe? Perhaps I am actually still asleep and dreaming. God, I hope not. I can’t make sense of this. I am naked in hot spring on the edge of the world surrounded by supermodels. How did I get this lucky? Then I remember the supermodels are heading to the bar and I am still in the hot spring with a bunch of fat, old guys.
“You like our girls, my friend?” Jean laughs. “I will put in the good word at dinner if you like.”
“Yes,” Michel adds. “You missed out on the Nairobi handshake last night. Maybe you will get the Oasis blowjob tonight.”
Jean and Michel, it turns out, work for Canal 4. They are in the middle of a five year shoot on five different continents. They have come to the area to shoot an episode that includes Dr. Leakey’s discoveries on human origins, the fashion photography of Peter Beard and more than a little extreme sports action. Neither Jean or Michel speak particularly good English so I have some difficulty following the entire story concept; but I don’t really care; the Oasis Club pool on a warm African night tends to make everything unimportant. Well, almost everything…the fact that there are several beautiful models waiting to join me at dinner is pretty interesting; but still, thanks to the healing waters of the spring, I am feeling quite human again and ready to face the night head on.
If there is anything better than a dip in a natural spring after a long, hot day travelling across Kenya; it has to be hopping out of the water and heading up to a bar full of supermodels for an ice cold Tusker. I’ve always said I can travel anywhere the beer is good and fortunately for me, beer is good just about everywhere. I would add that I can also travel anywhere the supermodels are good but that seems to go without saying.
Putting the supermodels aside for the time being we all decide to start some serious drinking, except John who spends a good five minutes toweling himself off at the edge of the bar. I am pretty sure he believes this is of interest to the girls but it is perfectly clear to everyone else it is not. We beg him to “f’christsake put some clothes on!” Wolfgang even threatens to take him off the dinner list. He points to a sign above the bar that clearly states: NO SHORTS, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE (females excepted). John finally relents and gets dressed but not before he manages to slip in what appears to be the well-worn first line to a famous local vaudeville routine.
“So, what’s on the menu tonight, Wolfgang?”
“Well, it just so happens they caught a couple of Nile Perch fresh out of the lake today.”
“You don’t say. Well, that’s a stroke of luck for us!”
“That’s right. You can have anything you want for dinner at the Oasis as long as it’s Nile Perch.”
Jean and Michel move off to join the girls and the rest of their group, leaving John and I alone at the bar with Wolfgang.
“So where is Justin?” John asks while prying the cap off a fresh Tusker.
“He’s still in the village. They had a little trouble with the El Molo today.”
“Trouble? What kind of trouble would the El Molo cause?”
“These guys blew down half their village. It was amazing. They flew in that enormous fuckin’ Russian helicopter to drop some gear down by the lake. Well, you know the El Molo huts, a couple of sticks leaning against each other. The helicopter came down and blew them all to buggery. Justin’s been there all day with another guy from the crew trying to sort things out.”
We drink steadily and generally socialise until the final members of our party arrive. The first I take to be the aforementioned Justin Bell from Arusha. He carries himself with the confidence of a man who has lived the kind of adventures most of us just dream about. He is obviously cut from the same cloth as John, born and raised in Africa, though it is immediately clear he is far less gregarious than John and has a serious and studious nature. The other dinner guest is quite an intriguing sight: a tall, lean and very tanned, long-haired, bearded stranger wearing some kind of kaftan. I am just drunk enough to believe that we will be eating dinner with Jesus Christ himself.
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