domenica 30 dicembre 2012


At the end of my short Kenian vacation I spent a week end in Mombasa because I prefered to fly to Nairobi instead of repeating a long bumpy and unconfortable bus trip. At the beginning I thought I just had bad luck not to find a flight direc tly from Malindi, but I soon realized it was a great opportunity for a short visit of Mombasa. Once more I asked Aisha to be my travel buddy and despite it was also her first time in Mombasa, she was an excellent guide. We found a decent and cheap accommodation in the 5th floor of the Safari Coast hotel, a simple hotel next to a big market area, not very safe at night time but ok during the day. Mombasa, like Lamu, is situated in a island and has a charming old town and a Portuguese old fortress, Jesus Fort. We spent all the morning visiting Jesus Fort and old Mombasa with a local guide (I had to bargain hard in order to drop his price to 100 KSH, but in general his service deserved not much more). The fortress was built in 1951 with a cross plant by the Italian Giovanni Battista Cairati for the Portugueses, then conquered by Omani arabs and finally by British empire. it combine some interesting features of the different conquerors like an old water cistern,  Portuguese and British cannons and  imposing old old 18m tall walls with a superb view of the Mombasa bay.
I do loved the old town with its narrow roads, small shops, terraces and old mosques that reminded us how deep is the Arabic influences in this part of Africa. Even the food we experienced in the Island Dishes restaurant was a superb mixture of herbs and ingredients of African and Arabic cultures. This is a totally safe and inexpensive part of Mombasa which is a place I would love to return (along with Lamu, near the Kenian border with Somalia and Kampala, this last in Uganda). 
As for the beaches, I had no time to experience them nor am I a beach addicted, anyway I have been told that the most beautiful and "wild"ones are sited on the south side of Mombasa like Galu or Diani beach whereas the most lively ones(bars, clubs and restaurants) are on the north coast: Bamburi and Shantzu beaches.
Mombasa nightlife is great, especially in the weekends. We spent a super saturday night to Florida club (entrance fee is KSH 300 for men and KSH 200 for women). Florida is at 15min by taxi from our hotel and is well sited just along the seaside. There are several bars with different music styles to satisfy clients coming from India or Chine or Europe and also a nice show where beautiful dancers show how charming and athletic African women can be. Drinks are not expensive at all and there is a very fine and friendly atmosphere. Other 2 good clubs are Casablanca and Bella Vista with live music.

sabato 15 dicembre 2012

Finally some nightlife!

Once we settled in our apartment and started to ramble in Malindi I wondered if I could finally enjoy a kind of simple nightlife I was dreaming about since my first day in Nairobi. Although November is still low season, I was quite satisfied of the local night scene.
Just to mention one of the greatest day I had in Africa, I would talk about my good tuesday.
We bought some beans, potatoes, mangoes (probably the sweetest of the world), eggs, honey, homemade yogurt and full grain millet bread. I started to cook a kind of omelette with too many   previously fried vegetable and although the result could have been much better we really enojoyed the result, noone left a spoon of our dinner.
I enjoyed my Polcino Oasis stay even thanks to a big smimming pool attac hed to the beach, where I could swim and relax with no hassle of the too many hawkers and rastas on the beach, but also because I could play with some wonderful, sweet and full of energy kids living there with their parents, often italian-kenian couples.
I remember with great pleasure a tuesday night while I asked to my new friend Aisha (this one, a more open-mind and relaxed muslim girl), roommate of Aldy's girlfriend Hadija, this last a Guinness beer lover.
I asked Aisha if I could do her some Shiatzu massage and with no surprise she happily accepted, confirming once more how open Africans are toward physical contact, just as scared most of europeans are confusing all the time massage session with "raping session".
After a pressure massage and a stomach balance, Aisha was sleepinng so deeply and when I woke her up she said she could sleep on until the following morning since she was in a kind of paradisiacaly state. I was so proud, content, satisfied and glad that my tiny shiaztu skills could get such a good result. Not enough I suggested to my friend to also experience a new Tao based energy circulation between our bodies following the teachings of Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams: once more we had to look at each other with open eyes and hands contact, to have no prejudices,  to have a deep and low breath, to visualize and feel her ying and my yang circulating from our 2 bodies, to forget what else was happening outside our small bright universe and have no prejudices at all. Once more the result was stunning, we did something great and she thanked me for this new experience. It was finally time to head to Malindi town center where there are lot of small nice bars and small discos: Starts and Gatlers, Kienieji, Fermento, Star Dust, Melting Pot, Pata Pata Beach Bar or Club 28. We opted for the first one to watch a difficult, vibrating Champion's Cup defenders of Chelsea. Juventus won with an impressing 3:0 and I thoughts...this was a "perfect day".
The following night we went to Melting Pot, also nice bar, with a soft atmosphere and the usual bunch of local beauties looking for a aged "mwazungu" client eager to exchange a night/week of love with some financial help. As far as I understood Kenya has a much stronger and strict sexual habits than for example Senegal or Mali (the many different churches that found fertile sole in this country probably is not by chance) but there are so many young mothers who have not any kind of financial aid by their kids' fathers and sell themselves for little money. I don't blame them at all, in their place I would do exactly the same, saying or thinking something different would be pure hypocrisy.

lunedì 10 dicembre 2012

Welcome to Malindi

Finally after a very long and uncofortable (but still better than my trips in Mali and Senegal) we arrived in the early morning in Malindi. It was still dark but the air was warm, rich of flower scents and welcoming, I was so curious about  Kenian coast and about Malindi where too many Italians decide to spend their holiday or...their life.
We found a nice furnished apartment at Polcino Oasis Village, an old tatty residence where most apartments have been sold to italians. I enjoyed the lovely garden, the big swimming pool attached to the beach but really hated those tiny persistent hungry Kenian mosquitos who used to assemble every night to have dinner mostly with my blood and sometimes with that of my friend Aldy. No mosquito net, no repellent seemd to discourage them, Aldy tried other products with very little fortune.
The beach of Malindi is wide and long, a white sand and pristine warm water but has a thick layer of long seeweeds that your feet should get used to in order to enjoy swimming there.
There are many hotels and resorts, some of them luxurious ones and of course the over protected villa od Flavio Briatore, the most famous muzungu of Malindi. We used to do a 1hr walk on the beach twice a day, getting until the Marine Park, pity that every 10 meters we were stopped by local sellers, hawkers and idlers who consider Italians as the best clients/friends/helpers. That could be funny the first day, OK the second, unbearable from the 3rd!
As usual I did prefer to mix with local visiting the small streets of old town, where we met by chance Camilla, an Italian woman who moved there 13 yrs ago with her husband. They bought an old mansion in the Arabian area and restored it in a magnificent B&B arabian style, Swahili House. She is the first non kenyan certified safari guide while her husband is running a scuba diving center. She was extremely worried because Malindi has experiencing a very low number of Italian tourists this November,caused by the huge financial crisis who made many Italians unable to take their beloved vacation to Kenya.
In Africa you can repair for cheap almost everything you would have to throw in the rubbish, that's why I succeed in having my old but tough Nokia repaired for a few bucks. While doing searching for the right shop we found by chance a great place, Jabreen Cafè, probably the best cafè of Malindi, surely the beloved by me and Aldy. It was working almost at every time with locales and tourists, serving delicious simple food (beans, pees, a kind of boiled spinach called Mchicha, a nice chapati, a white maiz flour polenta called Ugali but also eggs, chicken and fried fish). WE never spent more than 2,00 euros and always exited full and happy.
I also met a sweet lovely mobile phone shop assistant, Aisha. It was so nice to chat with her and to understand her strict muslim way, I even invited her to visit with me Lamu but she needed a friend girl chaperon as well as she told me she NEVER goes to any bar because considered immoral.