Pinotage Bar serves tranquility amid floods

The rain came down in long, sharp shards. Like little angry spears. I ran from Coffee and Bagel next door to Pinotage Bar And Restaurant along Lenana Road to find better shelter. My car was washed, which is very counterproductive in the rainy season. Soft music was playing. It felt warm inviting and safe.

A Chinese man sitting alone, head bowed, sat at a table eating what appeared to be peanut sauce. I had heard of their menu so I walked over to the buffet even though I wasn’t hungry. It was 4:00 PM. There was peanut sauce, traditional vegetables, chicken, cassava, pumpkin, dried meat in sauce, beans, rice, plantain, chapati…

For no reason at all, I ordered the plantain-groundnut sauce because I didn’t know when I would find it elsewhere. There must be a name for a man who eats when he is not hungry. I sat in the corner of the restaurant and ate slowly while watching the chaos the rain was causing outside. Traffic on the road grew. Windshield wipers waved furiously, like lovers going to war. It felt like it wouldn’t stop raining. That we would live like this, in the rain, until the end of time.

After the meal I sat there thinking, ‘This was such a great meal. I should come back here one day.” The Chinese guy ran into the rain. I walked to the bar in the next room. Music was playing.

There was a couple drinking and sitting so close together that their heartbeats may have been beating at the same time. I sat at the bar, where people eat when they don’t have to sit, like Bogi Benda. There I ordered hot water and lemon and listened to the rain above the music. I wished I had taken a book from my car to read. It is a scathing book about President Kagame, written by a white man. (Can you tell I’m a Kagame fan?)

Later, much later, the rain stopped as suddenly as it started, just before dusk. I even heard the relief in the voices of the evening birds.