Saturday, July 31, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I have just come back from a 'holiday' in Kenya. I use the word 'holiday', opposed to 'travelling' , or 'backpacking' for a number of reasons: although I was travelling around a little (not doing a 2 week stint in a hotel) and I had a backpack,  I was not 'backpacking' or on safari. Forget the actual translation of the Swahili word 'safari', most people think when you go to Kenya for a holiday, animals will at the top of your priorities. Not this 'holiday'- I was going to the coast to relax, so on 'holiday' I was.

I carried a backpack, when I couldn't find a man to carry it for me (!) but I can definitely say that my backpacking days are over...if they ever began! This is not to say that I 'roughed' it during my holiday. I did stay in a couple of hostels and guest houses but they were all very nice and for one week I stayed in a great self-catering villa. The villa came complete with all the usual necessities; a private pool, sun loungers, a BBQ, a coffee maker and  staff! As there were only 3 of us staying in the villa we did wonder what we would do with all the young men! Men that came in at least 3 times a day to do the dishes, light the braai and clean the coffee filter...they did occasionally miss patches when putting on my suncream though!!!

The bit of the 'holiday' that I had more difficulty coping with was the transport!!
Buses, boats, bodas, taxis, trains, tuk-tuks and mutatus!
At one stage my friend and I were very tempted to say, 'sod this' and jump on a plane out of Lamu, rather than face being in a rattle-cage of a bus for 20 hours...something that Jo and I also did in Mexico.(Actually the only reason why I didn't resort to flying whilst in Kenya was that there was no space on flights with such short notice!)
However, if I had not travelled on public transport I was have missed out on the opportunity to share lots of little anecdotes. If I had not got the bus from Mombasa to Nairobi I would have missed the travelling salesmen; they buy a ticket and dressed in the Sunday best proceed to 'sale' lotions and potions that cure all ailments and diseases. If I hadn't got the overnight iron-snake through Tsavo, I wouldn't have been able to experience the sit-down silver-service meal.. I commented how thoughtful it was that they stopped the train while we had our soup...we hadn't then realised that it was the first of a couple of unscheduled stops! This one was due to a train ahead de-railing, the next was because our compartment was on fire!

From now on all my 'holidays' will be to somewhere I can fly to or drive my own car to.
Please remind me!!

Oh, and for my holiday to Scotland...I'm leaving the backpack in Uganda and taking my dolly-trolley!