04.16.2017 30 °C
Salim, our taxi driver, was early to pick us up, and he was so sweet and friendly the whole drive. We drove through Diani and through all of the little villages on our way to the ferry. On the ferry Salim walked us through our Swahili and tried to teach me new phrases, though I forget everything instantly. I am learning that new languages are not my forte; Josh, having learned Swahili twice before, picks everything up very fast.
Driving through the villages was eye opening again. So many homes and huts are built out of what seems like scrap material and colourful paint.
We got into Mombasa and we agreed it was probably best we book our bus ticket to Nairobi before we left the city to get to our hostel in Bamburi. We tried a couple of coach companies with the help of Salim, all of which were full. Finally a local helped us find one that wasn't, and we happily purchased our ticket. On the way out of town the street kids hounded our car for money. They say, "Madame, Madame, please, I have nothing in my stomach, Madame please". It was heartbreaking, but Salim explained that if we give a street child this money he will continue to beg on the streets and never seek better for himself. Just before Salim explained this Josh had rolled down his window and had given one child $1 USD. Well that led to like 6 more kids tapping on our car window in the middle of traffic and a crazy roundabout to continue saying through the glass, "Madame, please, my stomach is empty". We said "Pol-eh sana", which means I'm very sorry.
We finally reached our destination and our little backpackers hostel is so, so cute. It has a pool, bar, volleyball area, outdoor sports tv area, poker area, and even a rooftop gym. Take a look at the crazy equipment!
We quickly changed from being in a cab for close to 3 hours and dipped in the pool. Afterward we got back into our clothes and walked up the street to Bob's Bar held in a parking lot. It was mid afternoon so not busy but I could see how the vibe would be late at night. After Bob's we walked to the mall; on route we saw some more goats being herded.
Once there we ate lunch at a little cafe. I had a carrot juice and a hummus plate that was so, so good.
Once finished we went to the local store and got some snacks and water for our bus ride. We were stopped once again by a man claiming to know us (they always call Josh their tattooed friend) who wanted us to buy rice for the kids at a school for Easter. What he was asking for was about $30 Canadian worth of rice. We've decided unfortunately that we just cannot donate to every person who stops us (because it's constant) and that we're going to donate to the kids orphanage where Josh used to work as we'll see the money put to immediate use there. This fellow was claiming he'd send us photos, and he probably was legit, but unfortunately you just never know here.
After this we stopped down at the beach by our hostel. The sand was silky smooth but it quickly changed to seaweed and coral at this beach and the weather was getting stormy so we didn't stay long. Made for good photos though.
Finally we headed back to our hostel where we had a few drinks and pet all of the cats and the dog, named Shots, who live here. I met a solo traveler named Patricia from Argentina, now living in London, who has travelled quite a bit and even just came to Mombasa from Nairobi where she stayed at our same B&B we have booked there. She had lots of tips and tricks about travel and what to do and not to do in Nairobi. Josh chatted with two guys, one from London who lives here now, and one from Germany. Lots of Germans at this hostel.
After a few more drinks we decided to wander out in the dark to find a small dinner. We found an Italian place and had pizza, and then we wandered back to our place. The back alley we walked was mostly lit, and I was a little tense in the dark spots, but both the security guard and the front desk girl at our hostel assured us it was safe to walk.
We came back and the pool table was open so we played a round of pool. We both SUCK at pool. There we chatted with Edward, a Kenyan who comes here for the weekends sometimes. He works in the back office of a bank, sorting and balancing, sounds like Intria back home. Through our game of pool a guy named Gerald kept correcting our rules, which I appreciated since they were mostly in my favour. He and his friend Quincy were also Kenyans who come here for the weekend as they grew up here and Quincy's family home is the neighbour of the hostel. They are both farmers in Nairobi, and Quincy also goes to school for marketing. They were awesome to talk to; we talked politics, economy, banking (their mortgage rates are around 13%). We talked about Nairobi and Josh's time there. We talked about wedding rituals - the dowry is still a thing here even for a modern, liberal Kenyan. We talked a lot about government and corruption. And we talked about the blatant racist we've witnessed and how the colour of our skin will get us preferential treatment in Africa because it means strong currency.
We talked about Canada and the price of things there versus here. The guys asked us if it was true that in Canada you leave your car doors unlocked in case of a bear attack so you can just jump in and be safe. We said no, and they laughed and said an American had told them that about Canada.
We shut the bar down, although I'm sure the other partiers from the night had just moved on to other clubs. The four of us chatted until almost 1am before we said goodbye and exchanged numbers. Quincy said he'd show us the good spots in Nairobi (the club that Josh raves about is NOT cool anymore hahah) and that he has a plan to find me some vegan Kenyan food.
We slept under a mosquito net for the first time last night. Our hostel has open windows and I had a few bites from being up so late last night. (Fingers crossed for no malaria). It's thundering this morning, and I'm hoping the storm holds off as we have a few things planned for the day before we head out on our overnight but to Nairobi.