Miscellaneous Ramblings by TCB

Posted on February 2nd, 2017
Categories: News


A small niggle, but a growing one that I need to share.

Coming out into traffic from a Java Coffee House recently, I was harassed by a white Land Cruiser with red number plates. The traffic was heavy; he’d have to wait his turn. Then with blaring siren and red and blue flashing lights he made his case to push-in, I then made my car as wide as possible, as one does. Mounting the curb, and missing me by inches away he went.

Well, I’m assuming it was a he; these armoured Land Cruisers have a heavy tint on the windows so you cannot see the driver or the occupants.

This same lot, run a convoy system of at least of two to three vehicles, with sirens a blaring and lights a flashing, without regard for the rules of our Kenyan roads. If there was a Kenyan police escort perhaps I could accept this behaviour, but there never is. Who do they think they are?

Can you imagine our Ambassador in Washington DC behaving in this manner?

On a similar subject a new Embassy near the UN compound, has built three huge speed bumps outside its premises. In retaliation perhaps our Ambassador in Rome could do the same. I don’t think the Romans would allow it, so why should we?

The Kenyan business and tourism fraternities no doubt welcomed the recent announcement by Emirates, increasing their flights to/from Nairobi with an additional daily flight.

More businessmen and women, more tourists, more cargo capacity for our horticultural exports, more of everything really. After granting permission the Minister of Transport has done an about turn and told Emirates that he has withdrawn permission to operate the additional daily flight. A similar scenario to Qatar Airways wanting to fly into Mombasa in 2015.

While a number of meek excuses have been offered by said Ministry of Transport the bottom line in this writer’s humble opinion is protectionism plain and simple. In that this action protects the governments interest in Kenya Airways, albeit that it only holds a 25% shareholding.

Why sacrifice the prosperity of a nation and its people for a minority stake in a failed enterprise?

You don’t grow a nation by using protectionist policies such as this.

Emirates is the worlds largest international airline, their reach is massive, they fly from almost everywhere on this planet of ours to Dubai and from Dubai to almost everywhere else. Kenya Airways in turn has minimal international reach; at last count less than 10 international destinations outside of the African continent.

Kenya has lost out again to shortsighted inward thinking.

The beaches of Kenya were at their very best over the festive season, my family and I holidayed as we always do in the village of Watamu on the north-coast.

We chose to drive, and as much of a pain as it is, we arrived safe and sound taking all of 7-hours southbound and 9-hours on the return to Tigoni.

Those who ridiculed our driving plan and flew instead suffered at the hands of Jambojet (see editorial page 10). Many friends flying home from Malindi ended up being bussed to Mombasa, which generally took an uncomfortable 4-hours, for their flight to Nairobi. All taking more time than our drive-times above. Those further up the coast in Lamu, had an unimaginable 12-hour bus trip to Mombasa, some in the dead of night.

Oceans Sports at Watamu is hallowed ground for a lot of Kenyans. It sits on the best beach in the whole wide world, and in days gone by was where a lot of us grew up, literally. Some still are, growing-up that is. I have often derided OS over the past few years for not getting its act together, always running out of cold beer, dreadful service, dodgy food and over the holidays a coupon system that drives me crazy.

Well, I’m happy to report that except for the dreaded coupon system all is good at OS, actually it’s very good. New Years Eve always a right of passage was this year limited in numbers and evidently enjoyed by all, only to be usurped by their New Years Day party.

What a party, all the good and the great were there, the best chat ever, the beer ice-cold, the food excellent, the music fabulous – and best of all you could see everybody!

We stayed in the grandly named Directors Cottages right behind and part of the Turtle Bay Beach Resort – not to be confused to the similarly named villas across the road. Brand new, with 4-bedrooms and their own pool – with direct beach access through the Resort. We’ve booked for next year, they were that good.

One last parting shot of all things Watamu, the Hemingway’s sea wall. It’s not a pretty sight but they are rebuilding it with very posh scientifically thought through building blocks. So while it is intended to ‘fit in’ I still have a big problem with it. At high tide, in December when they are at their lowest, you cannot walk in front of the resort with the waves crashing against the new sea wall.

What this will be like with the big spring tides of July and August I can’t imagine.

While Hemingway’s is rebuilding they allow passage through their property, which is a nice gesture – never to miss an opportunity you are handed a sales brochure of what it will all be like when finished later this year. But given past experience, given that Hemingway’s terms itself as an exclusive resort, I don’t see this right-of-way continuing once the resort is finished. So, what to do?

February-March 2017 Cover

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