Ahw – Mombasa. It is only 450 Kilometer away from Nairobi. 450 Kilometers that wrench your nerves!
I bought two tickets to Mombasa roughly a week ago with Simba Coaches. The first weird thing was, that our tickets actually say “Royal Coaches” as a company. When I asked them for a reason, they said they a run out of tickets from Simba Coaches. On the day of departure, at 5am, our taxi driver could not find a bus at the station that is neither run by Simba Coaches nor Royal Coaches.
Challenge 1: Which is our bus company?
Eventually we found, that our tickets are for Chania Bus Company. Unfortunately, when we entered the bus, we realized our seats are occupied by two rather not-friendly-looking people who were not at all willing to give back our seats. The rest of the bus was full of passengers already. A man with a red scarf, who hectically checks his booking lists, shifted us to a new bus.
Apparently Tobias and I were not the only people who were meant to be on this bus but could not find a place to sit. ´Cause as we kept going towards the new, empty bus, so did 40 other angry people as well! The ran over the bus driver and tried to get into that bus even with violence. I told Tobias to step aside, just when the crowd started fighting with elbows and fists for their seats.
Challenge 2:Where can we sit?
There came a third bus, at around 7 am. Fine. We got our seats. Short discussion about our luggage, which they wanted to put inside another bus! No way, Sorry! We waited for half an hour, super excited that we are finally going to Mombasa. Two hours delay is not too bad, come on! But then somebody told us to change the bus again due to a problem with the engine. At that moment – still no coffee or food in our stomachs - we were let´s say a little bit super extremely pissed!
Next bus. Same seats. We start driving. Wuhuuu. But we did not make it very far. Let´s say a 100 meter, when two tires busted. Seriously? All hope is gone again. I complained so heavily at the bus counter where I bought my tickets.
Challenge 3: When do we leave Nairobi?
I asked them to give me back my money and all that stuff. Out of fear that I might call the police, they transferred us to another bus company with hopefully better maintained buses. After a fight for our seats, which had become normal to us already, we were full of hope to eventually leave Nairobi.
The bus driver checked all tickets again and was confused when he saw ours. Obviously we are now with a different bus company and have no ticket for it. When we explained our Odyssey, the driver made some phone calls but nobody confirmed to him that we were actually transferred to them.
Challenge 4: Where are our tickets?
After other passengers got involved in the discussion and after we made more than clear that we are not going to leave that bus, he finally accepted. We left Nairobi at 9am.
Conclusion: A lot of hassle, 14 hours of journey and 6 buses later we have reached Mombasa. Thank God. After another hour we eventually arrived at our Hotel in Diani Beach. It was all worth it! So much. All the pain from the bus ride is already gone as I´m sitting on my balcony writing this blog entry and cannot decide what mirrors the sun better: The pool or the sea ;)