Sept 15th(2016), Mombasa
As we arrived at our hostel in the evening we had just enough time to drop our bags in the room and hop in another taxi. The Manager had invited us to a Sunset at English Point Marina ( A Luxury Hotel, though very affordable at $80 USD for a standard room, we only stopped by for the priceless views). I regrettably FORGOT MY DAMN CAMERA! Without a doubt the karma gods insured incredible views of old town, Jesus fort, first hospital; old port; first entry; all highlighted by the massive African sun setting in late summer over an old city with a marina in between us. Behind us in a light blue sky not yet darkening was a near full moon. A scene which would be limited to only our memories and these descriptions scribbled in my notebook (or the internet) . We sat and had a “You Can’t Even” Ice Cream brownie sandwich. Accompanied by our hostel manager, who at the time was only 25 years of age, and 3 young Germans. The conversation somewhat led to how Americans are so blah blah blah. Had to let that one pass as we were enjoying the ice cream too much.
Sept 16th, Mombasa (from my notebook)
Walked the beach during the day. The sand felt as if it were made of powdered sugar. Clear water. Maybe only 4 other westerners on the entire beach. A majority of the beach goers were Kenyans who would approach and walk besides us. They would then start a conversation for several minutes before eventually trying to sell something. This happened 75% of the time. One particular individual offered a boat ride and later showed up at hostel to see if we had changed our minds.
Back at the Hostel we sat at the poolside bar drinking Tusker Lager. Several locals were playing a game of Fifa15 via a playstation on the bar’s tv. A game I once could never get enough of.
Also at the bar were two of the young Germans from the previous night, a Brazilian guy around our age who was traveling through Africa via a bus tour, and an Anthony Bourdain dopelganger with a British accent who loves Africa and loved to tell stories of his time here. He claimed to have once sat down with Genereal Butt Naked, and described him as the essence of evil. (A quick google search wouldn’t disagree). The British gentleman, who came off as either once being an arms dealer or government influencer boasted that there is nowhere in the world like Africa and it will never be tamed. When describing the city we were to visit next “Like Amsterdam, Bangkok, and adrenaline all rolled into one. Thats Nairobi.” Later the conversation drifted towards something about AIDs & prostitution but I stopped listening, there were finally decent players having a good Fifa match an I debated the merits of asking to play next and leaving the wife stuck with a conversation she could live without…
Another day another walking tour! We are quite fond of them. Our Guide, along with a 22 yr old tall German, a 33 yr old Brazilian, Siobhan and I took two tuk tuks into the city. We did not spot a single other (western) tourist the entire day in the city of mombassa. That was weird.
We visited the vegetable market; a spice market; a bazaar (if you’ve seen one you’ve sen them all. Interesting to note venders would shout and yell at our guide. Later he would tell us they were often mad at him because he would not stop and encourage us to buy)
We also visited the fish market, a tea house, & Fort Jesus
ending our tour at a restaurant located inside an office building’s first floor and had mis-quoted and mis-spelled American presidential quotes on the wall. One had a Lincoln quote regarding the internet.
The tour or dinner had run a bit late and our guide was becoming obviously nervous that the evening had snuck up on us so quickly. As we were walking a young local college student came up to Siobhan and I and introduced himself. After finding out we were American he was even more excited. And reacted in the typical fashion as other Kenyans we had met. “Obama Obama!” He then asked us who we were voting for in the coming election. To which he replied “A woman can not be president, that is crazy!” I was amused, Siobhan not so much.
Our guide stopped a Matatu, a mini van turned local taxi-bus, payed our fare and instructed the driver at which corner to drop us off. Matatus are intense. They are old mini vans with a driver and a conductor. The conductor, with the sliding door open, hangs out of the van calling for riders. If someone is standing on the side of the street he’ll call to them to see if they need a ride. If there is a group of people standing, he’ll tap the roof of the van signaling the driver to pull over. He’ll yell something, perhaps the route they are going or a destination or a price or I have no idea, he was speaking Swahili. The van is already packed. I feel bad for the tall German with his knees at his chin. More passengers cram in. I guess it hadn’t been as packed as I thought. The driver is blasting some hip hop and doesn’t really care too much about picking up more people. The conductor often has to slam his palms on the roof repeatedly to get the driver to pull over. Occasionally the conductor shifts his body inside the van and tries to remember who has payed and where they wanted to get off, if not he will ask again. He holds a giant wad of cash in one hand while the other grips him to the van. The vans are colorful or elaborately painted, Siobhan’s favorite was half red and half blue with Crips and Bloods as well as murals of famous rappers affiliated with either gang beautifully painted on a Matatu.
Mombasa is a gem, unfortunate for us our the final day would be spent at the Hostel because I was becoming ill. Possibly from the restaurant. Disappointed that I was becoming sick without having even tried the street food yet! The illness would cary over to our next stop, Nairobi. Will I survive the trip? Will Siobhan have to continue on with out me? Stay tuned to find out!