I ‘d heard about the infamous Diani beach, and seen photos and felt like it was worth a trip
So I hired my pal and piki piki driver George to drive me and my new Kenyan friend Mary to Diani, it was going to be almost a two hour ride, with a ferry trip halfway. In Kenya, most drivers don’t wear a helmet, even though they work as taxis, and carry men, women and children about, even strap a big lounge chair or a cupboard to them and drive down the bumpy roads. People are really skilled drivers, but they are driving and living dangerously. George however, knows I like a moderate speed, no risk taking, and he is a confident driver. Still waiting on his license however…
I met Mary at a Swimming pool near where I live, she was there teaching herself how to swim. We caught each others eyes and got talking after a while, and I gave her some advice. She told me that she grew up in Nairobi, where there weren’t many swimmingpools around, and so she had never learnt how to swim. After hours in the pool together, I went home with her to her place in Mtwapa and had milk and cookies together.
After driving almost two hours listening to each others music and just laughing, we finally got to Diani and George dropped us off somewhere so we could walk along and see. The beach was stunning. It was a really hot day and I was thirsty, but there were no sunbeds there or anything as far as my eye could see.
So we decided to walk along, and check out the beach resorts and ask the price to use their facilities. The first one was outrageous, so we walked on, and found a nice place called Khazkasi or something, where we payed a nice sum to use the pool and the sunbeds. To our pleasant surprise there was barely anyone there… And the pool was big and lovely.
I swam in the pool a lot, trying to teach Mary more swimming, and I also went down to the beach on my own and took a dip in the sea. As soon as I stepped onto the sand outside the hotel property however, there were “beach boys” swarming me instantly trying to sell me safari’s, or to show me their shop. I was the only white person there, which I wasn’t expecting at Diani, so I felt really uncomfortable, and sadly walked back to the safe grounds of the resort again. I must have seen pictures from a different part of the beach.
Had to borrow Mary’s awesome sandals… beads, and in the shape of Africa! how cool? Had to show of my feet as I often brag about them saying that I could be a foot model. Just need a pedicure. We had a nice relaxing day there, smelling the sea, swimming in the pool, talking and laughing, and on our way back, we experienced one of those things I had read about in my lonely planet book. As me and Mary entered the Ferry, I got a call from George who was entereing somewhere else with his bike, that he had been caught by the police. When we went back they sad that they would take him to jail for two days and to court on monday unless he paid a bill of 5000 ksh. As I suspected, those corrupted bastards only wanted to pocket a Msungu’s (white person)’s money and I left poor George with the payment I owed him of a 1000 ksh. We took a matatu home and hoped he would be able to get out with that. And wouldn’t you know, the day after, I met him at church and he had been released after giving them the 1000.
I felt bad, but it is his mistake to drive without having gotten the licence, and no helmet.. To be fair most drivers do the same around here, and he is just another one trying to make a living, but more than anything it angered me how the police had taken advantage. And George and I both agreed that it was disgusting. He said he didn’t want to bribe them, but now atleast he was out, with no fine and no jail time.