After my return from Maasai Mara, I decided to visit Mombasa, at least for a couple of days.
And, once again, I found myself near the water. :=)) Soooooo………………yep, I liked it there!
Well, maybe not “everything” about Mombasa was good. While I was on the beach, I decided — in my infinite wisdom — to ride a camel; something I’d wanted to do for quite some time. So, I accepted the invitation from one of those camel-drivers. Despite being a newbie at this, I was careful enough to negotiate a price before hoisting myself onto the poor, underfed beast.
(I guess you see where this is going, don’t you? Haha)………………..
After the short ride (about 10 minutes, no more), I told the camel-driver to stop the animal, and let me get off. But, nooooooooooo! The thieving prick wouldn’t let me off! Why not?? He wanted more money.
Yep, I’d heard of this happening to tourists (mostly in Egypt, but I guess it pretty much happens everywhere there are camels). I don’t know why I thought Kenya would be any different.
Anyway, I wasn’t waiting to be let off. I jumped off the animal, and promptly offered the scoundrel-driver the agreed fare. He refused, and proceeded to yell abuses at me (in Swahili, of course)………..which attracted attention from other people on the beach!
No novice to scams, I made it clear that I was NOT going to pay his extortion money. Things got heated after that. A lady passing by, who spoke excellent English, pulled me aside, and quietly told me: “He’s a thief, yes. But, they’re all thieves here. Just pay him, and let him go. Otherwise, it could get violent!”
I heeded her advice. I counted out his money, and tossed it down onto the sand, turned, and walked away. I asked the lady if she would like to join me for a drink, and we walked off to a nearby cafe.
That incident pretty much ruined my mood for the whole day. The lady saw this, and did her best to cheer me up. For which I was very grateful. Instead of a drink, I treated her to lunch, and we ended up chatting for hours.
So, all in all, Mombasa wasn’t a complete disaster (LOL)
But, to those of you future travelers, a word of advice: if you’re ever planning to ride a camel, DON’T! I would say: “Be careful to negotiate the price first”, but, as you can see, I did that, and it didn’t help any. You can live the rest of your life without a camel; you don’t need one (haha). So, find something else fun to do.