East Africa Day 23+24 – Kenya (Mombasa)

Woke and had a lovely breakfast in the colonial splendor of the restaurant, overlooking the busy Moi Avenue.  I had lots of tea, and bought a newspaper.  Reading the paper, I realized what a chaotic, disorderly and lawless country Kenya can be in certain places, especially rural Kenya.  Stories of cattle rustling, tribal wars, police bribery, corruption and murder abound.  There were stories of stolen land, of people displaced by tribal warfare and living in IDP camps.  It certainly made for interesting reading.

I decided to go to the beach today, so called Shadia to see if she wanted to join, and I felt like company anyway.  She did, so I picked her up, and she brought her younger brother along for the ride too.  We headed to White Sands beach resort.  A woman working there stopped us walking through the resort to the beach.  She said we’d have to pay Ksh 1,000 each!  No chance.  Went around the side and got down for free instead.

Had a great day on the beach.  It was very crowded, as today was Kenyatta day, a public holiday.  Hundreds of kids running around, playing in the sand and on the beach, jet-skis, dhows, power boats, restaurants, hawker stalls, camels…..it all made for a very satisfying day out.  We sat at Pirates bar and restaurant and started drinking.  After 3 bottles of pilsner, I decided to head for one of my customary long walks, a 2 hour stroll up and down the beach.  I bought some necklaces for Ksh4000, then realized it was a lot of money and I’d been heavily ripped off.  I bought a mask, then headed back to Pirates for another drink.  Sat and watched the beach as camels strolled by, kids ran by, crowds of Kenyans picnicked, the muslim crowd struggling in the hot sun under their black bui-bui, their husbands parading around wearing just their shorts.

I went back to the hotel by Matatu.  Had a very enjoyable evening.  I decided to check out the notorious New Florida nightclub and casino.  Full of prostitutes, so I took refuge in the casino, which is where the Chinese population of Mombasa were also hiding.  Lost a little (Ksh4,000), but enjoyed the game.  The taxi driver who took me was waiting for me to take me back, so I got back to the hotel tired, a little sunburned, and a little less financially well-off after the casino.

I woke up and decided that my last day in Mombasa would be a lazy one.  I met up with my ‘bus-friend’, Winnie, and went shopping for some new sandals.  Spent a lot of time at restaurant in Castle Royal, writing postcards and drinking coffee.  Went to Bella Vista in the evening to watch the footy.  Gave in to temptation and visited the casino in my hotel, where I played roulette and had some free drinks.  Broke even this time, which is pointless, but I enjoyed the game.  I love casinos.  I hate them too.  It was time to get to Nairobi, for the final leg of my East African adventure!

Author: Neil

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