Idiots Bahati Ya Mjinga Episode 7 Mombasa

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Idiots Bahati Ya Mjinga Episode 7 Mombasa

Postby jgh » Jan 22, 2014 8:49 am

Idiots Bahati Ya Mjinga Episode 7 Mombasa Moments Part 1

The Idiots arrived at the Mombasa train station about 10:30 AM… 15 ½ hours after leaving Nairobi. Thus ended their slow ride on The Night Train To Mombasa. Glad they did it once -won’t need to do it again…

Most tourists don’t actually spend any time in Mombasa. It’s old and shabby and sometimes a bit dangerous… kind of a backwater city… still important as a business center on the coast but not very attractive as a tourism destination. Tourists usually depart immediately for the beach resorts to the north and south of the port city.

The Idiots had made some adjustments to their itinerary, so in order to do the night train they had to leave Nairobi on Friday and return on Sunday… leaving just the remainder of Saturday to explore Mombasa. The most common Kenyan response to their itinerary was “You’re doing WHAT?!”

But they wanted the night train experience, and the travel allowed them to view a big slice of Kenya in a short time, even if through the windows of trains and buses.

And the decision turned out great – the Idiots really enjoyed their time in Mombasa. They wished they’d had a couple more days to wander the old city.

Emerging from the chaos of the train station, they grabbed a taxi and headed off to The Lotus Hotel - an old, but very well kept and managed establishment with bargain prices and not far from the sites the Idiots wanted to visit. They checked in, took a quick nap, and headed off looking for lunch.


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Built to celebrate Kenya’s Independence and the end of colonial rule in 1963, the giant tusks over the main road graced many postcards as the identifying landmark of Mombasa. Nowadays they look a little quaint… a little run-down… a little removed from modern sensibilities… appropriate as one can easily apply the same descriptions to the city as a whole.


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The impetus for taking this photo was originally the sign for The Bahati Book Centre Ltd. As one looks a little closer the question arises as to how “Bahati” (lucky) the place really is. Upon further observation one notices that the foreground contains a pile of building rubble topped by some inexplicable shoes This is located on the main street of the city.


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When in Rome… Mombasa is on the sea – so the Idiots were off to an old seafood restaurant in Old Town. Note the cheery lobster on the door. Two gentlemen at a nearby table ordered the lobster dinner for two and the raw lobster was brought to them to examine and approve. It appeared to be about 3 pounds. They had some good fish and headed off into Old Town.


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After lunch their first objective was to tour Fort Jesus. This fort does a good job of illustrating the history of Mombasa. It was built by the Portuguese in the 1600’s. The city and the fort were later operated by Arabs who dominated the region. Still later the British claimed it as part of their Empire in Africa. When the big walls and cannons became militarily obsolete, the walls were repurposed to keep people in instead of keeping them out – it was used as a prison. It is now a national historic site and is considered the one “must see” in Mombasa.

The fort is almost impossibly photogenic. At every turn one is faced with colors and textures that shout out age and history.



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The Idiots’ first glimpse of the Indian Ocean… the port of Mombasa from the fort.



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Thank goodness for digital - the Idiots would have gone broke shooting film…



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No longer a prison… but it still has its jailbirds.



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One interesting exhibit features graffiti – drawings done on the walls in carbon by bored Portuguese soldiers centuries ago. Another wall was built in front of the drawings, preserving them until they were exposed by modern reconstruction. They give a glimpse into soldiers’ lives. Most remarkable – there are no off-color drawings or comments. It is mostly ships, shipwrecks, and battles… but note the pierced heart in the middle of this panel – perhaps evidence that soldiers everywhere and everywhen pine for their loved ones at home.



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A meeting room that probably served as a church for the Portuguese and British shows evidence that it may have served as a mosque for Arab soldiers.



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Like the city itself, the fort is a little sleepy place. The museum seems to have been built 50 years ago with little changed since then. A few Western visitors wander through along with a few Kenyans interested in exploring their history – or just interested in whiling away a little time on a hot afternoon.


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Mombasa Moments continued in Episode 8
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Idiots Bahati Ya Mjinga Episode 7 Mombasa

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Re: Idiots Bahati Ya Mjinga Episode 7 Mombasa

Postby GrannyNanny » Jan 22, 2014 9:17 am

I and my trusty Canon T3i are both salivating over those photo ops! What a riot of color for "old walls". Where does that bright red come from -- the rocks it was built with, or some sort of paint that was applied centuries ago? Whatever it is, it's spectacular. The wall of ship-themed graffiti reminded me of a photo I have of some of the rock art in the US Southwest -- the colors of the rock behind it are very similar, but the images, of course, are not turtles, herons and priest figures, but of those who "go down to the sea in ships." What a treat to see your photos. Send more! Phyllis
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Re: Idiots Bahati Ya Mjinga Episode 7 Mombasa

Postby Haricotsv2 » Jan 22, 2014 11:15 am

Great photos! Thinking of you guys and Bob is planning pot roast as soon as you're home!
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Re: Idiots Bahati Ya Mjinga Episode 7 Mombasa

Postby thy » Jan 22, 2014 6:03 pm

Beautiful pictures of the old fort.
Have a passion on old forts ect. even I often dislike the history :wink:

The bright red is sienna,, a crushed very iron filled sone type known from southern Europe, what is puzzling me is the very dark red... Special for the area ? Do not think so caurse then I expect it would be found on very expensive houses / castles around Europe... then thinking I have seen it before... In Venice it is... may be sienna mixed up with animal blood for strength :wink:

Weird to think... You and Sheila may have been looking at the Indian See at the same time my son looked at it from Australia. Cant wait to see his pics from Freemantle
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