Tuesday, 26 July 2011

So Much to Tell! Mombassa Story

Hi All,

well as many of you will now know I am laptop less and back to the cyber for email writing although my friend Julian left me with his touch phone so I can read incoming ones!!!

My last email was out we visited Kenana Knitters on Monday the 11th July! Which was also the day that on the return to Nakuru Julian and I went to the station to buy his ticket from Nairobi to Mombasa by train for the 15th, after we went through the whole process of her phoning through the booking to Nairobi and she filled out the receipt, Julian suggested that I went too as his guard to make sure he wasn't pestered and he would cover the costs.   Sounded like a good plan to me and it was decided, the lady phoned Nairobi again and booked me on she then re wrote the receipt. Nice lady, she even gave me a nice new pen to keep as mine had leaked inside my bag!

The following day I had arranged for Julian and Henry to go with Nick to Lake Nakuru, I headed off to Scann to cut out more of the show costumes for the sewing lady as I would not be around on Saturday to assist her with cutting out. That evening I had heard that there were to be visitors to Scann so I headed home, tried to prepare dinner, power was out and it was pouring with rain, so a quick omelet and Julian and I were in a taxi headed in the dark to Scann which also had a power cut but they had eventually managed to get the generator to start supplying the hall with power.  The boys performed beautifully with songs, dancing, acrobatics and karate show.  We managed to get a lift home and had a nice early night.

13th July ...... got Julian a number for a dentist as his temporary filling for his root canal had fallen out. I headed to Scann for more alphabet painting with Emma and Julian was picked up by Nick for his appointment and would join us afterward. Emma and I had a good time painting it was starting to look great now the colours were being added.  Julian appeared no worse for his appointment and we gave him the job of decorating his own short wall with shapes, triangle, square, circle etc he did them beautifully and I got him to add his name and date at the end for prosperity! From there we headed into town, then home for a quickie dinner as it was salsa night and also a PJ party at Guava afterwards.  Well salsa was good fun and Emma joined us too we laughed so much it was great, we then left and stopped off to change en route to Guava, we looked a sight, I was in bootie stripped slippers - from Anna, black cycle shorts and black vest top not sure what else as cant remember...... oh Virgin eye mask covers for my hair band, and a teddy bear.  Emma had on a pair of black leggings and top which I added to with my brother-in-laws Wallace and Gromit PJ boxers, together with a Virgin Toothbrush in her hair.  Julian had on a T shirt and lightweight trousers with my lovely sisters silky blue wrap dressing gown, he looked lovely!  We had such a fun night so many people came in fancy dress it was a laugh, many bad bad photos that I can't share with you! I think we got home about 2.30am a late one for us. 

14th was a bit sluggish did some washing and sorting before our trip. Had coffee and lunch in town at Guava Lounge it poured with rain on the way home got totally soaked.  Cooked dinner and sorted clothes out.

Packed things in the morning as couldnt find a back pack big enough so ended up packing a wheelie bag.  Got a taxi into town as Julian had all his bags as would be leaving from Nairobi to UK on the way back from Mombasa.  We took the Mololine shuttle to Nairobi and our plan was to arrive in Nairobi find Jenga and go to an afternoon show at Bomas of Kenya a cultural show of music and dancing.  We arrived late and managed to grab a pizza for lunch before being picked up by Paul one of Jengas drivers who took us to Karen where the Bomas were.  I had no idea how fab the show was to be, we entered and sat in a huge circular theatre, no idea the capacity but it became full to bursting.  The show began and I was so pleased that after this long I had actually managed to go and see it. A must for any music / dance enthusiasts it was amazing.  We left there and headed for a coffee before being taken to the train station.  The traffic was at stand still and we were worried we would miss the 7pm deadline for the train so in a frantic effort the taxi driver found a parking place and walked us to the station, I have heard of schools doing walking bus but walking taxi is something else.  

We had to fight our way through to the station past a huge bus/ coach station, it was bustling to put it mildly, we arrived and were pleased to see the train was still sat waiting for us.  Actually we should not have worried, we walked the 15 carriages before we found ours and then sat waiting for quite some time before we set off.  The First Class sleeping compartment that we had, may have been first class at some stage but not then.  It comprised of two bunks, I had the upper one as more agile (we seemed not to have been given a ladder!) There was a small sink, what was labeled a wardrobe for jackets, a fan.  It had definitely seen better days.  We were just settling down to a good old chat when we were disturbed by the 'bedding boy' who dropped off bags with bedding and said he would be back to make up the beds.  Sure enough he was, as there was no room inside we waited outside the compartment while he deftly made up the beds, sheets and blankets with pillow.  Sometime later we were called to dinner by the dining car with someone going down the carriages clanking a spoon and metal sugar bowl lid together summoning us for dinner delights.  

The dining car was made up with crockery and silverware, tables were a bit cramped for 4 people to a table but we managed. Many eager diners sat waiting to see what delights we would receive.  We had mushroom soup and bread for starter followed by rice and veg casserole, or chicken and roast potatoes.  Considering it was mass produced it was not bad, this was followed by a cuppa, bottles of soda and alcohol were available during dinner at a supplementary cost.

We retired to our compartment so that the next sitting could partake of dinner. The toilet facilities were as expected a hole in the floor to be used when not in a station, not in the sleeping compartment I would like to point out! I cleaned my teeth with the bottled water I had carried with me in anticipation of being required then clambered on to my bunk to settle down for sleep, or so I thought......... the train was so old and clankey that I tossed and rolled all night listening to all the noises. This together with Julian's snoring made for a sleepless night add to that the need to get up and use the toilet but not wanting to disturb Julian beneath was a problem added to by the lack of ladder.  Luckily at some point Julian himself got up for a wee and I leapt at the chance while he was awake.  

We were told we would arrive in Mombasa at between 7 & 8am being a 12 hour duration if no problems. We arrived at 11.30 am after being awoken at 6am for breakfast!!! Not funny!  I had the number of a Taxi in Mombasa thanks to my friend Tim.  He collected us and took us to the hotel via a supermarket for water, alcohol and provisions!  We had a nap as soon as we arrived as I was so tired I couldnt think straight. We then headed to the beach for a walk before finding somewhere to eat, I knew just the place. Unfortunately the tide was very high which meant we were splashing round up to our knees on our walk making it a little difficult to make good headway.  We walked back and had dinner at El Covo which was lovely the same place Kimberley and I had eaten, same seats too when she had visited, then back to the hotel for more sleep catch up!

17th Sunday, up for breakfast - the weather was rather overcast a contrast to our arrival yesterday it was so hot. We sat at the pool whilst trying to work out what was wrong with my laptop / hampered by the fact that the internet wi fi at the hotel was not working.  A rather large group of young conservationist volunteers appeared at the pool which was time for us to head off for a walk along the beach, the sun was beating down and the tide was back where I was used to it being, definitely OUT!  We stopped on the way back for pizza at a restaurant looking over the beach together with a few drinks, it was lovely. Early night as the sun was tiring us out that and the walking.

Mon 18th July, had breakfast then walked on the beach, talked a boat owner into taking us to the reef in his dhow for snorkelling, it was a bargain especially as I managed to use my Alien card which was out of date to get me a good deal on the pass for the reef, also lied a bit and said my husband had forgotten his card, but I had beaten him that morning to make him remember next time. The guy laughed and accepted my story so we made a good saving.  The tide was way out so we had a bit of a walk to reach the Dhow, I am sure it had seen better days but it performed beautifully, against the motor driven glass bottomed boat which was the alternative, needless to say we had the best option, it was amazing and so well handled by the two guys with us. They took us out and one of them escorted us snorkeling as I explained I could not see without my glasses, it was actually quite clear, I managed to see many of the fish. Especially those that were in front of my face when I was giving them bread from my fingers, I actually had to swim backwards so they wouldn't bump into me. The colours were amazing, wrasse, parrot and star fish, a sea snake and so much more.  I was so pleased that we made the effort to haggle and went for the sail.  On the way back to shore we discussed lunch and decided to head to the public end of the beach which was miles away, I knew that there was a fish market and they would cook your fish there and then on the beach. Considering I dont like fish it was a fabulous experience, we had white snapper and it was delicious, we were sat surrounded by many cats enjoying our meal, that Julian photographed being prepared and cooked. The guy who cooked it came and sat with us chatting and obviously happy that we were pleased with his culinary expertise.

We walked slowly back along the beach, had a drink on the way and then headed for a nap planning on going out later, satisfied and pleased with the days events and the lovely people we had met. I crashed and slept all night, leaving Julian chatting on hot mail to Kimberley, I think the snoring and bar next door had been hampering a good nights sleep for me.

Tuesday 19th, we woke early and headed straight to the beach for a long walk before breakfast as today we headed back to Nairobi. We actually walked and watched the sun rise, it was beautiful and there were no looky looky people on the beach at that time, no stall holders pestering us for buying their wares, and guys trying to sell us boat trips or safaris, it was peaceful! We walked past the fish market where we had eaten the day before to the complete end of the beach, we passed a hotel which promoted no smoking or alcohol..... give that one a wide berth on the alcohol front!  On the way back we stopped for a coffee where we had had pizza, people were just appearing and setting up their stalls on the beach. I chatted to a lady called Lucy who had a story to tell.  We headed back for breakfast checked out, put our bags into the store cupboard and sat by the pool.  We headed back to the beach so Julian could interview Lucy on video for his Kenyan experience stories.  She was only too happy to be interviewed and as the beach was so windy and becoming busy she took us to a small shed that was used as a church and was where she attended service.  From there Julian and I headed for some lunch back at El Covo I had pasta in ham and cream sauce and Julian had ... cant remember but it was delicious a contrast from the fresh fish from the day before but none the less yummy.  We went back and killed time by the pool, I had a swim then the taxi came and picked us up for the return journey, not something I was looking forward to.  It was basically a repeat of the way down still no sleep! 

Jenga tried to pick us from the station in Nairobi but the traffic was still bad cluttered with buses and coaches, so I told him we would start walking towards where I thought he would be.  We met at a roundabout where he parked and loaded us on board.  I told him to drop us at Java Coffee house as I had a huge need for coffee. The coffee was needed and hit the spot. Now the plan had been for me to get the shuttle back to Nakuru and for Jenga to take Julian around to the Giraffe sanctuary (it was too late for the elephant orphanage unfortunately as the train was late arriving!)  I ended up agreeing to go the the Giraffe sanctuary as had not been before.  It was some way out of town but the ride was smooth and full of traffic, time to chill.  We enjoyed seeing the giraffes up close and feeding them, then returned to Nairobi, Jenga coursing his way through the nightmare traffic to drop me off at the shuttle, I actually leapt out along the way as the traffic was at stand still grabbed my wheelie suitcase, hugged Julian, told Jenga to look after Julian and headed off to the shuttle, I tried to nod on the way back to Nakuru but just couldn't manage, unfortunately I was in the last seat available and was in the blazing sunshine all the way back to Nakuru, sweltering hot, a good job I still had plenty of water with me.

Got home, said hi to Henry and the animals, dropped my bag, grabbed a sandwich and a coffee, a shower and changed and headed to salsa with the girls, having promised that I would be back early enough to go with them. Fun was had by all but not quite as much as last week with the PJ party afterwards!

Hoping you are all well. My trip to Mombasa was lovely but now back to lots of work with Mama Sweetie and washing bedding from my visitors and clothes from my trip.  Found lots of sand in my shoes............ reminds me of a song!

Love and kisses to you all.  Nearly caught up but not quite, my fingers are aching and time to go as I can smell it is raining again outside.


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