From the outside looking in, nothing could have convinced me that Geco Car Wash had a buzzing, vibrant, eclectic cafe nestled inside its compound.
A couple of weeks ago, during my birthday celebrations festival, my partner gave me a brief: get dressed, I'm taking you out. Nothing strange about this brief, other than my facial expression when I saw him put on his indicator to turn into Geco Car Wash.
Geco café outdoor sitting area
Driving past the car wash is evidence of a well kept non-secret: Geco is not just an automated car wash in Nairobi, it's got a café and live band culture that is alive and well.
The outdoor sitting area was completely chock-full of people, so we begrudgingly went looking for seating space indoors on a beautiful, sunny Nairobi afternoon.
We had just had lunch so we went straight to drinks, and I present to you the piece de resistance:
Long Island Iced Tea
I don't even like Long Islands - some places make them with whiskey which I have written off in this lifetime and the next - so ask me why I ordered one and I'll point you in the direction of the little devil tap dancing on my shoulder.
Geco Café indoor sitting area
When it comes to celebration, I think cocktails. So the first cocktail that came to mind is what I ordered, and yes, it tasted like regret which I knew as soon as it hit the table.
The live band inside the café, especially the saxophonist, made up for the sickening taste of whiskey in my mouth.
The café got busier as time went by, and when we were joined by some friends, we had to scramble for space and chairs.
As I've confessed earlier, the rest of the night is a blur but I do remember some shrieks when one of the patrons decided to Fast & Furious their way out of paying their bill.
In case you're reading this and wondering why there's a café at a car wash, let me let you in on a big fact about Kenyans: car washing is a culture here. It's not uncommon for car owners to visit a car wash more than once a week to escape horrific Nairobi traffic, wash off the omnipresent film of dust on their cars and generally catch up with friends. It's really a thing.
Definitely a night to remember at Geco café, if only I did.