Back from Mombasa!
Having finished the most insane race against time ever, I am now back from Mombasa.
The dreadful container that had overstayed for too long at the port, is now on the road and approaching Kisumu, where it is to be delivered.
Getting that container out before the deadline expired has been a nightmare to the extent where even Franz Kafka would have called it surreal. Kenya Customs is the worst bureaucracy I have ever experienced in my life!
The race culminated with me storming the office of a top customs official, interrupting a meeting, in front of crowd of at least 30 people who had waited all day to see him. I am proud of that, in case you wonder, because it worked!
Reckless driving, lots of running, and sitting in people’s offices, bluntly refusing to leave before I got what I needed was part of the magic required to beat the intransigence of the Customs Department, but it also worked!
Finally, the work was crowned with success, as the container left Mombasa on the 29th, one day before the deadline!
Mombasa is usually a place where I go to relax at the beach, but these 2 days had been nothing but an insane race, with little time to chill out!
In dire need of a night at a beach hotel, and with slim chances of getting a flight back to Nairobi that evening anyway, I called my friend Janet, who owns the increasingly famous travel agency Exotic Expeditions, the one and only agency to use if you want max quality at the best prices! less than 5 minutes later, I was booked in at Severin Sea Lodge, at a giveaway rate!
Severin Sea Lodge is a 4-star, very decent beach hotel with great rooms, true to the traditional Swahili Coastal style. With very good rates (KSh 7800 for a deluxe room), this is place is also a real bargain!
After a quick walk along the beach after breakfast, the taxi was waiting to take me to the airport, so hopefully my next trip to Mombasa will be more beach-focused!
Staying in Mombasa Town for the first 2 nights of the visit, I had made another nice discovery, though. contrary to common beliefs, all the nice hotels are not just outside Mombasa: There is also one in town called the Royal Court.
This place also has the modernized, streamlined Swahili-style wood-and-white walls design, and loads of huge paintings by Kenyan artists. It also has a very nice rooftop restaurant that is open for as long as you want to stay there. At KSh 6000, this is a real bargain.
So the next time I’m in Mombasa for business, and I need to stay in town, I’ll know where to stay. Hopefully, the next trip will be on a weekend, though, and not for business! Revisiting Severin Sea Lodge reminded me of just how much I’ve missed a real Kenyan beach holiday!
A detailed account of the container saga will follow soon!