In which we meet Ali

We woke early, as in 5:45. I am still waking at 4:15 naturally, so I journaled and then woke the others.

Besides a couple of us suffering mild fatigue, we have remained  healthy.  Our precautions of purifying our water or drinking bottled water and avoiding salad and semi-rare cuts of meat has paid off.
We did some last minute device-charging at the restaurant while the generator was still on. This eco-camp only has power from 5:30- 7:30 in the morning and it comes back on from 6:30-10 pm. Then we grabbed a takeaway breakfast and we were on the road by 6:30.
We drove through the rain, past the Masai ‘tolls’ and John had us at the new speed train station by 12:30.
On the way we experienced our first police bribe. The police road blocks are everywhere on the road, pulling cars  over for ‘safety or speed checks’.

John told us on day one that the road blocks are all about bribes, but up until today we never got pulled over. On the way back into Nairobi, we did!  The policeman seemed friendly and stuck his head in to look at us; then had a quick exchange in Swahili with John, who grabbed out money from his supply for the tolls and said loudly in English as he handed it to the cop, ‘Here let me give this to you for a small drink as you are my good friend.’

A church built by Italian prisoners of WW2 on the way back to Nairobi

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Past Kibera, second largest slum in the world.

9AB07BA2-6B0C-4C4C-847D-FBDCE4CFC3A6 Simple as that, we were free to go, with a hearty chuckle from the cop and an exaggerated eye roll from John.
The new Chinese built speed train station is out near the airport, and I was happy to be FAR away from the craziness of downtown Nairobi where the old train station is.
6662BD47-B806-46D3-AFBB-ECCA82D9B9E5 We said a sad and grateful farewell to our guide and new friend, John.

B1EC2A0A-EC15-4CDD-9B1F-6622179D3056 The security at the station was pretty intense, our luggage went through three X-ray machines all up and then they were laid out for a long sniffer dog examination.
We had no false alarms and after one last passport and train ticket scrutinisation, we were allowed in.
Having first class tickets (the first time EVER having first class tickets for anything, such a thrill) gained us access to the first class lounge.

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It was comfortable and had free tea and coffee making facilities ( with powdered milk, my fave!)and attendants whose job it was to be our own personal Uber eats.
We ordered fragrant meat samosas and disappointing mamdazis.

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I had finished reading one of my two heavy books and with a view to lightening my backpack for the next flight where each bag can only be 5 kg, I left it behind under my seat in the lounge for someone else to enjoy. Twenty minutes later, after we had settled into our seats on the train, one of the attendants came racing down the aisle towards me holding the book out to me with a kind smile.. I had to pretend I was excited to see it.
The speed train travels at 120 kilometres an hour, and the service was sinsular to a budget airline where there is food but you need to pay. The best thing was the power outlets to charge our devices; the disappointment was no wifi.

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Continual announcements reminded us to not litter and to be conscious and considerate of our neighbours.
Half an hour after night fell, we pulled in to Mombasa.
Now there loomed a big stress in my head. The Mombasa accomodation is an Airbnb apartment attached to a resort. But I hadn’t written down anything but the street name of the resort for some absurd reason ( every other accomodation location is written and printed in our itineraries and in my phone notes) and with no wifi I was stuck with a name of a street that has about 15 resorts on it.
I didn’t want to dip into the costly internet again, the stress drowned out everything else as a taxi driver that could fit us, was calling out ‘7 seater only 3500 shillings’ ( 1500 cheaper than we had expected)
This driver, Ali, was lovely but his van was trash, falling apart.
He hurtled us into the balmy night, leaving a wake of honking horns behind him as he proceeded to break so many road rules, even the locals were indignant.
We were getting closer and my panic was sending a hot flush over my entire body. Then I pressed the Airbnb app where it said ‘ call property ‘ and a number came up!
Hallelujah! Ali who had been on his phone throughout our journey, happily loaned it to me and soon we had an address.

We miraculously survived our drive through Mombasa, and I apologetically handed Ali back the door handle I broke right off as I closed the van door 😳
Check in was through the resort and we received a wifi code!
Our apartment is 2 bedrooms, with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen. Most importantly there is aircon. It is not hot here but is is humid.
We ordered pizza and chips up to our room, ate and toddled off to bed.
Now, if you have enjoyed the misadventures on this trip so far, I am about to disappoint you,
For the sake of the family  because I am tired and because we need to save money, a visit to Fort Jesus and then getting a cheap guide to take us through Old Town has been canned. I just cannot handle the thought of more hassling.
So we are spending the next couple days, playing games, resting and swimming.

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1 Comment on In which we meet Ali

  1. Gaz
    December 6, 2018 at 10:30 am (2 weeks ago)

    Sounds like a good decision to regroup, rest, and relax for a couple of days.

    Reply

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