Saturday, February 19, 2005

About this blog

This blog was created from paper journals maintained by Bobby during his holiday in Kenya between January and February 2005. The dates and times of each post reflect the date/time of the entry in the paper journal.

The holiday was special for two reasons: it was the first time that I had been in Africa and it was my 25th wedding anniversary (to Margaret).

It is best to read this blog from first post to last (go to January archive and then scroll to bottom) since that's the way that the paper journal was written and that's the way it will make most sense.

Friday, February 11, 2005


We arrived in London at 6am and went from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 for the flight to Glasgow. The FlyBMI flight was due to leave at 8.45am but actually left at 9.30am. We arrived in Glasgow at 10.30am and got home at 11 o'clock. It's quite a journey - 22½ hours from door to door.

The first thing that struck me as I waited for a taxi outside Glasgow Airport was that someone had left on the air-conditioning.

We had a wonderful time in Kenya.

Flight to London

The flight has been uneventful. I managed to get some sleep so I don't feel too bad. The lights have just came on and breakfast is about to be served. We're due to arrive in London at 6am (15 minutes behind schedule). We're currently flying over Marseille.

Kenya Airways are fine. They're on a par with BA. Everything has went smoothly. The only problem has been airport security - your travel documentation is checked endlessly which gets wearing when you're hot and carrying bags.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I went for a swim at 1pm and we had lunch before returning to the house for a shower before leaving. We checked-out at 3.30pm and I settled my bill. The bill was lower than I expected (you put everything on your room so all of our drinks and shopping were "on account") which reflects the low prices in Kenya (60p for a drink and 50p for cigarettes).

The journey to Mobassa Airport was hot. Really hot. I was dressed for London which didn't help. We saw a bit of Mombasa town on the way to the Airport. There's an Old Town and a New Town. The new bit consists of office blocks and the old is... well old - and a dump. The place was heaving with people.

We arrived at the Airport at 6pm. The flight to Nairobi left right on time (8pm) and we arrived at 8.45pm. We had a few hours to kill and spent it shopping in the duty free shops in Nairobi Airport. Prices were great (1 litre bottle of vodka - £5). Our flight to London leaves in 10 minutes.

Mombasa city centre

Margaret and Bobby about to leave.

Check-out day

It's check-out day. I've just packed. We get picked-up at 3.45pm this afternoon.

We got up at 7.30am and had breakfast followed by a game of backgammon. Margaret won - again. I've been on a losing streak lately.

The last day of a holiday is always a bit of a lost day - although we have a few hours in the Sun to look forward to before we leave. Speaking of which, it just came out. The butterflies have also returned. We haven't seen them in the same numbers since the day we arrived. Sitting here, on the porch, in the Sun, overlooking the golden sand and blue sea, is a sight to behold. This time tomorrow, I'll be in London.

I plan on having one last swim this morning.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Last evening in Kenya

The meal was great. We ate by the pool. We bought some champagne to celebrate our last evening in Kenya and listened to some African music. There was also a fashion show - done by a disabled workshop in Mombasa. The MC was hilarious: "Miss special girl Sophie is wearing a 100% cotton thing." Clearly, a man after my own heart.

We returned to our house at 10pm - with the remainder of the champagne. We sat outside, sipping champagne, watching the stars. They were spectacular. As I sat there, I realised that this was a special moment in my life.

I finished my book ("The Sun: A biography") when I went to bed. It was an interesting book written in an uninteresting way. It was a struggle to finish.

Low profile

After yesterday's sunburn, I was low profile today. I had a siesta at 1pm for a couple of hours and ventured down to the pool at 4pm for an hour. Some Russians arrived. All men, aged 35-45. They were loud and took over the pool. I presumed that they were part of the Russian Mafia and made sure that I didn't get in their way. The hotel is full of Europeans - mostly Dutch, German and French with some Brits - but very few Americans. Maybe the Mombasa bombing scared them away. The security around the hotel is quite tight. There are guards at gates and security men patrol the grounds.

This is our last evening in Kenya and it looks like we're going to get a barbeque this evening. No doubt, another seven course monster meal is coming up.

The staff at the hotel are mostly helpful and friendly. I guess any job in this place is considered a good job by Kenyan standards. I have a nagging doubt that beneath the friendly exterior, there's a raging black man, furious at the flabby, lazy, decadent, white infidels who they have to serve. But I'm probably being paranoid.

Margaret at pool.

We leave tomorrow

We were meant to do a Mobassa City Tour this morning but the bus didn't arrive. So we got up early (6.30am) for nothing. But I didn't mind. Who would complain about an extra day in this place? Especially since the tour sounded more like a shopping trip.

We spent the morning pottering around. The couple who lived in the next house to ours were getting married. There were no family or friends - hotel staff acted as witnesses. It was a lovely ceremony in a truly beautiful setting.

We've just been told that we leave at 3.30pm tomorrow afternoon. Our flight out of Mombassa is at 8pm so it looks like we will be hanging about the airport for a while. The holiday has been well organised by Kuoni but they're all the same deep down: "Thanks for your money. Now fuck off."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dinner was the usual high standard. But the time between consuming and dumping is decreasing at an alarming rate. I expect to sit on a toilet tomorrow evening while I'm eating my dinner.

More sunburn

It was a bad idea to sit in the Sun this morning without sunscreen. I've got more sunburn. I didn't go for a swim this afternoon because I was so sore. In fact, I spent most of the afternoon reading in the shade. I completed Screen Burn which was very funny.

I've now showered and applied some after-Sun and feel a lot better. Time for dinner.


Horrible feeling

We slept a little later this morning - until 8am. Then breakfast followed by a game of backgammon. I'm writing this on the patio, where I've been sitting in the Sun for the last hour - without sunscreen. I hate that stuff - it's so tacky against your hair and skin. But it's time to put some on. My token resistance is to wear low factor sunscreen. I'm currently using factor 4. I'm already sunburnt. But, hey, I'll look good when I get home.

Speaking of which, I'm beginning to get a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach - that feeling you get when something horrible is going to happen - like going home. I'm really not looking forward to returning to a cold, Scottish winter.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Avoiding the Sun

I spent most of the day in and out of the house, avoiding the Sun. I was determined not to get any more sunburnt that I am already. I went to the swimming pool at 4.30pm and had another game of beach volleyball. This time it was three-a-side. And since two of the players were women (Dutch lesbians I think which is a pity since one was a real looker), I wasn't the worst player today. We won one game each.

Then the usual evening routine - shower, read some of my book, drink at bar then dinner. I'm not coping with dinner. We no longer eat any lunch so I'm pretty hungry by dinner time - but nothing prepares you for the seven course monstrosity that the hotel serves up. By the third course I was full; by course five I was feeling sick; and by seven I felt ill.

Tonight's entertainment was a group of Masai Mara warriors. After their dancing, it was the usual hard sell. Margaret bought a necklace and bracelet.

I was in bed by 10pm - feeling like I'd eaten a cow (it was a lamb actually).

Margaret writing her journal outside the house.


I awoke to the sound of rain this morning. This is very unusual. Kenyans like rain and said that it was "lucky". But the Sun was out when we went for breakfast at 8am. We played backgammon before we ate. I won - again.

I returned from breakfast in a hurry. When you need the toilet, you really need the toilet if you know what I mean. It comes over you very quickly - and you have about one minute to find a toilet before you lose all bowel control. I made it - just.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sun burn

After breakfast I did some sun-bathing and reading. I've nearly finished The Sun: A Biography and I've just started Screen Burn which is a collection of TV reviews that Charlie Brooker wrote for the Guardian. It's hilarious. Vicious in parts but laugh-out-loud funny.

I had a siesta at 1pm for a couple of hours. I felt a little sore with sunburn. Although this morning was cloudy, I think I got burnt anyway. So I kept out of the Sun for most of the day. I had an early shower (5pm) and pottered about until dinner. We ate at 8pm. Another five course job. My stomach was bursting.

There was English football on TV. Most Kenyans follow the Premiership (they mostly support Manchester United or Arsenal) and tonight's game was Chelsea versus Manchester City (it finished 0-0).

After dinner the sleep disease struck - eyes like lead, head flops and you desperately need to lie down. I think Margaret is drugging me. We were in bed by 9.45pm.

Margaret walking on beach


We got up at 6.30am this morning to walk along the beach and take some photos of the sunrise. There were lots of boys fishing in the sea with large nets - it looked like a scene from Biblical times. Margaret took some great photos. It was nice to stroll along the beach without being bothered by boys trying to sell things. Normally, within minutes of stepping onto the sand you are approached by young men selling wooden ornaments. The Hotel has obviously struck a deal with them - they can sell to guests on the beach but mustn't leave the sand and enter the hotel area. Still, they're a nuisance. Now for a game of backgammon...