It’s a chilly Saturday evening, driving through Waiyaki Way. There are hardly any cars at this time, apart one or two, probably heading out to some club in Westlands to turn up or hurrying up home to watch Man United give a killer thrashing to Sunderland. My driver, hums all the way to the CBD to the song playing in the stereo, Adelle’s Hello (wondering what was in his mind).
We get to the bus booking office just in time to catch the bus conductor calling out our seat numbers. And there she was, parked in her majestic glory, draped in orange and white colors and with an “O2” logo embalmed at the back. She’s a new one, joining tens of other buses of the Modern Coast fleet. She offers class and that VIP treatment, ensuring your journey is as smooth and uninterrupted as possible.
Seat belts fastened, bags loaded safely in the bus luggage compartment, the ‘pilot’ gets in and, “Evening Ladies & Gentleman, my name is **** and I will be your captain for the evening. Kindly fasten your seat belts and we shall be gliding at a speed of 80kph. We shall be in view of the majestic coastal city in 8 hours.” And with that, we were off.
I managed to sleep for a great part of the journey with moments when I woke up to find still enveloped in darkness with no car in sight. At some section of the journey, the driver engaged emergency breaks, just in time to avoid knocking down a family of elephants crossing the road from the nearby Tsavo National Park, and disappearing back in to the cover of darkness.
At the break of day, bits and bits of the coastal city came to view. The bus glided through the streets of the city stopping at the bus stage, where we disembarked and made our way to our home for the next two weeks. Hungry, tired, and sleepy, we checked in to our rooms and all in my mind was food, shower and some great length of sleep. My comrades got rooms next to mine, and planned to meet up in the evening for late lunch (or early supper) after we had some nice rest.
The first week ran by pretty fast and by Friday, I had #TGIF written all over my face. Putting in mind the following day I’d be working, I made plans to rave at the famous Casablanca Club (you don’t wanna know what it’s famous for), catch up on the football matches of the day and gobble down a few bottles of my favorite Heineken beer.
6 pm and my laptop is shutting down, enough money in the wallet to last me a great part of the night and ready to get to my room to freshen up. With dinner down, looking fly and smelling good, my colleague and I made way to the club, leaving our beautiful damsel colleague to have ladies night thingy (makeup definitely!) by herself in the room.
10 pm, and the club is yet to get full. Pulchritudinous (but slutty) women are in plenty, many going from one male patron to another, hoping to get some free drinks and probably later on, whoring in the back street. A few came our way, smiling from ear to ear, offering great memorable company but they go away sulking with just the sight of our non-interested.
Five beers down, and sleep is taking a heavy toll on me. My colleague, urges me to soldier on with an offer of two more beers on his count, but I turn it down, reminding him the task that lay ahead of us the following day in the office. We both sip the last of our beers, pay our bills and head back to the hotel.
Saturday morning, and the sun is shinning brightly in my room. I’m late for work! And late to prepare for a surprise birthday for my colleague Christine. I text my team leader that I will be late for work, flag down a tuktuk and sped off to the other side of the island to one of Mombasa’s famous bakeries, Fayaz. Saturday drifts by swiftly and once work is done at midday, some of our colleagues sneak into the manager’s office to prepare to surprise Christine. Once all is set, one of the business executive’s enters the office with others in tow, singing birthday melodies with the surprised look on Christine’s face worth a million buck!
As the cake settled down in our bellies, my team and I got into making plans for the weekend. We boarded a matatu, crossed the Nyali bridge
alighting at one of Mombasa’s oldest markets, Kongowea (also known as Kengeleni). Our objective, buy beach wear for the following day’s hangout at the beach. One thing I got to appreciate with the market was the abundant supply of nearly everything – shorts, lingerie, sandals, baby clothes, polo shirts – name it. I mean this is like walking into a tailor shop and having everything you need all at once.
After what seemed hours in the market (shopping with a lady in the market can be tiring, she stops at every stall to ‘check’ something but ends up not buying anything), we headed for our hotel room, our legs barely accommodating our tired bodies. A quick cold shower and am fast asleep.
After breakfast the following morning, we flag down a matatu that would take us to hangout for the day – PIRATES BEACH (actually it’s known as Kenyatta Public Beach but Pirates is more catchy), and an hour later, the sky-blue waters are in perfect view, with the sun beating hard us on our backs, the perfect time for some swimming. We identify the perfect spot to change into our beach outfits and leave our valuables at the hands of a soft-speaking lady, whom I noted old age had done some bit of justice with her.
The waters were just perfectly warm; diving in and out and the fresh breeze beating against my wet body. A boat rider comes by and offers to take us on a small tour of the ocean to where we could see waves beat against a small island of corral reefs. The boat glided through the still waters, gradually picking up speed with the increasing speed of the wind. All this time, I was scared to my bone marrow, with my life jacket on and holding on strong a side of the boat. Half an hour later, we were back to shore. Tired, we opted to change back to our clothes and have a snack before heading back to the hotel.
Our trip back to the hotel was uneventful and quick, opting to skip dinner and hitting the sack after a nice long shower.
The preceding week sped through uneventful, with two days of endless meeting with the company’s clients, concluding on incomplete work and signing off on the assignment.
Ring! Ring! My phones buzzes indication of a new text. I check lazily, sleep still heavy on my eyes. It 0530 hrs and the text was from the bus company indicating a delay and a reschedule of our bus. What a relief! More time to sleep. I wake up four hours later with bangs on my door; my colleagues calling me down for breakfast before we head out to the bus terminal. Few minutes later, am dropping down the flight of stairs, heavy bags on my back.
The bus terminal is full of anxious travelers, most of them couples, guessing have been in the coastal city for a honeymoon or weekend getaway. A few ‘sponsors’ and their ‘sponsorees’ (hehehe this is actually a new word in the Kenyan version of the dictionary) sat lazily a few benches behind us in the lounge area. Our bus sneaks its way into the parking lot, in its majestic glory, truly indicating it’s the king of the road. We safely tuck our luggage in the bus carriage, have our tickets marked out and board the bus, which is half full of “wazungus”. And as the last time, the ‘pilot’ speaks to the microphone as am enveloped in deep sleep…
This Guy Muto