as far as overnight busses go i would rate our experience between nairobi and mombasa as not the best experience ever, but not the worst one either. interestingly enough, we left about an hour late but still arrived in mombasa earlier than expected. there is truly nothing like sitting on a bus at 5a.m. in mombasa wondering what your next move should be. especially when you are five white girls in mombasa with huge backpacks.
after waiting around until about 5:30 we disembarked from the bus, waited to claim our packs from underneath the bus, and began to look for two tuktuks to take us to a little cafeteria and internet cafe that i remembered from mel’s and my adventures the year before. sadly, the blue room wasn’t open yet…it was still too early! one of the tuktuk drivers said he knew a place, and dropped us off at a local hoteli. we were all standing in the street, taking in the smell of all things fried for breakfast when i spotted another familiar place from my last tour of mombasa: the castle hotel. a swanky little number that we cannot afford for sleeping, but can for eating.
we schlepped our things the extra block and a half and plopped down around our table. we confirmed that we are not guests at the hotel, but were still invited to eat breakfast at a decent price. we complied. coffee and good breakfast foods were had. trips to the bathroom to freshen up as much as possible happened.
housemate did a bang-up job securing our bags being kept in the bag room. this consisted of her laying on the guilt to the “man with the key.” the first time she went to the desk, the person there said “no problem! sure thing!” but we waited too long. the night people went away and the day people came on. so when she went back to start putting our things in the luggage room, the person at the desk said that the “man with the key didn’t want to help” us. in a stroke of brilliance, she turned to him and said–i imagine with doe eyes–“you don’t want to help us?!” i’m told he floundered a bit. she persisted: “you don’t want to help us?!” doing her best to look lost and sad. and he said he’d help us! our bags were then safely stored in the luggage room, and we even were given a proper luggage ticket for when we came back to claim them. brilliant!
one of our group had taken some sleeping medication for the bus ride, and at one point had woken up, thought we were still far from our destination, and took another one, only to quickly (within that hour?) find out that we had reached mombasa… the effects of the pill were still taking their toll on her as we began our half-day trek around the city. as we walked past the catholic church we noted the mass times, and that another one was starting in about 15 minutes. after a short discussion we decided that we would go to mass. (it is advent, after all. and, it would give sleepy a chance to go ahead and sleep off some of the sleeping pill in a cool-ish place. it was a win win situation!)
much to my delight, the setting being used in mass that day was the uganda setting, so i knew all the songs and the liturgical tunes. there are more reflections to come on the psalm of the day and some of the songs that we sang. say tuned.
post mass we found ourselves needing a little pick me up. sadly, dormans-mombasa wasn’t open yet, but we managed to find diet coke and stoney at a food court near by. sated from the heat we journeyed on to fort jesus. we took the tour of fort jesus, learned about the architecture and history of the place, drank lime juice and ate baobob fruits (yum) and did not purchase gifts at the gift shop. many photographs were taken, and good times were had by all.
and in the heat of the day we took our small little walking tour of mombasa, kind of led by lonely planet. only no one had the book out as we walked, so we really just kind of wandered the twisty streets of the old town. it was seriously steamy and hot, however, and we lost our go-juice fairly quickly. we pushed our soaked selves back to the hotel, attempted to freshen up a bit in the bathrooms again, collected our bags and were off to find a bus to malindi.
our tuktuks were separated in traffic–the two who arrived at the bus first were just beginning to wonder if we’d been taken elsewhere when we last three rolled up. tuktuks were paid, questions to the conductor of the bus (who was very ready to go) were asked, bags were stowed under the bus (again) and we were off on the 2 hour bus ride up the coast.
this is the hottest bus ride i have ever experienced in my entire life. i was sweating so much that my sunglasses kept slipping off my nose. normally this wouldn’t have been quite so annoying, but as you may recall–we had taken an overnight bus from nairobi to mombasa, and then spent the morning and early afternoon walking around in the like 3000% humidity. i was zonked. i would fall asleep well enough, but wake up when my sunglasses were at the tip of my nose, trying to fall off my face. the routine went something like this:
dry face with hankie
dry sunglasses with hankie
put back on face
for now i will leave you in this little pattern of slipping sunglasses. look out for the next post: ECOCAMP!