Kenya Travel Story - "A week at Tiwi Beach" (page 2)
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(Continued) The taxi driver couldn’t find our beach resort, which was indeed several miles through unpaved roads from the main road, but in the end we found it. We drove up the terrain and …. wow! We felt like we arrived in paradise! There were 5 white cottages there with wooden porches, built in front of a white sand beach overlooking the Indian ocean. There was a bar and terrace with a thatched covering providing cool drinks to the few guests. We got out of the taxi and our friends came down from the terrace, a Martini in their hands. Within a minute we were with them drinking martinis and smoking cigarettes and I feel just fine...
We met the manager, again a young ambitious Kenyan woman – Joan, who ran the place very well. As I’m interested in business and own my own company, I also talked some business with her. She came from a rather poor background but had worked herself up by going to school and having two jobs at the same time. She had a French husband and planned to visit Europe. We liked her so much that we invited her to visit us in the Netherlands and stay at our house.
The bar at Moonlight Bay Beach Cottages, Tiwi Beach - (c) by Kenya Travel Story
We had one of the smaller cottages for 27 euro per night. When our friends left, we took the big cottage overlooking the sea for 40 euro per night. The official prices were much higher (71-77 euro for the big cottage) but Joan gave us a discount, which she probably does to each client as bargaining is the rule in Kenya and all vendors keep some room for that.
The restaurant was really great: superb food with main dishes between 4 and 6 euro (5 and 8 dollars). From 9.30 you could have breakfast there for 3 euro (4 dollars) and the bar and restaurant remained open until the last guests had gone to bed. As usually in Kenya, they had a lot of personnel. During our stay – which was high season - there were more workers there (a separate one for each task, no matter how little) than guests. After sunset – which is between 6.00 and 6.30 PM throughout the year in Kenya – there were 2 guards there, armed with… a bow and arrows! One of them was Mayer. If we would leave the cottage after dark, he would immediately be behind us and shine on our path with a torch. We talked to him regularly. He wanted to become a tourist guide. He spoke quite some German, which he had learned by talking to the guests.
The view from the porch of our cottage - those feet are from the author annex photographer... (c) by Kenya Travel Story
At one point he offered to organize a tour for us. It included a visit to his family and a visit to some park. The four of us agreed. He arranged for a taxi. When the taxi came, Mayer was nowhere to be seen, but when we drove off the terrain he jumped out of the bush and got in the taxi. He didn’t want the manager to see him. We went to his house, a little grey concrete building, where we met his wife, brothers and sisters, and his children. The big event of the afternoon was his brother climbing up a high coconut tree and cutting coconuts for us to drink the milk.
Then we took the taxi to the park. It was a strange place at the beach, with some blacks and whites who somehow didn’t seem to fit to each other, sitting together at tables on a big open terrace. A pop band with handsome young black men in black leather pants were singing love songs in fluent German. It was apparently a place where single young Kenyan men and women could meet with older white tourists – male and female – for some mutual beneficial shorter or longer relationships. Indeed, at most tables were older white women with handsome young black men. We said we didn’t like the place and wanted to leave. Mayer didn’t understand the fuss, maintained that love had no color. Sure, but could you call this real love? Mayer still didn’t understand. Well, it was clear to us that the separation between ‘real’ and paid love was much fuzzier in Africa than in Europe. We went to our cottage...
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