Arrived at around 5pm at our stop for the night. We’re off early tomorrow morning at 6am, yes, 6am. The place was in the middle of nowhere and way off the beaten path where tourists never venture. There was no tourist infrastructure, it seemed, but canny Oasis Overland managed to winkle out a “motel”, inverted commas intentional. Probably the only resemblance to a motel was that it looked like a forgotten carpark in a not very salubrious part of the inner city. Or maybe a car repair yard in the same area.
But, it was just the sort of place I love to travel to or stay in. Something completely different from what I’m used to.
When we arrived, it seemed the whole village had gathered in a huge shed-like building watching a Kenya versus Tanzania football match on a large TV. There were lots of kids around who looked like they’d like to talk with us but their shyness kept them away. They were so natural looking. I often wonder what’s happened to kids in the West who lost their birthright of childhood. It’s a struggle to find a shame or blame free explanation. As a psychological therapist, of course I have ideas.
Anyway, the place itself looked more like a 1950s Connemara farmhouse with collections of buildings. The buildings contained rooms. By a stretch of the imagination, you could call them hotel rooms. They were pretty shabby with no running water.
My bed was a double but had a mosquito net for a single bed so not much use. The mesh size was quite large and would allow a flotilla of mosquitoes to fly in, wingtip to wingtip. Also, on top of it, were the mangled remains of several insects. Remnants of the dinners of the big spiders living in the moulding in the plasterwork just above my head.
I didn’t bother with the net and plastered lots of deet on exposed skin, hoping that this would repel all invaders, be they mozzies, spiders or bedbugs. It seemed to work.
The staff prepared a meal of local African food on an open fire in a lane next to the rooms. It was incredibly tasty. The rice was amazing as was a beef stew.
After the meal, I stayed to chat with the young Brazilian couple on the trip and with Scott from the UK. I went to bed around 10pm as we had an early start the next morning.
I really enjoyed the experience of staying in this place because it was so different to my usual experience. It was also a slice of the genuine Africa.