Oh Mombasa! How beautiful thou art
In Mombasa, tourism is supported by Infrastructure and highly trained personnel who show integrity.
It was the first time I would be visiting Mombasa, the second largest city in Kenya. It is a port city with openings to the Indian Ocean. The giant metal bird that conveyed us from Addis Ababa to Mombasa on 20th November, 2018 had to circle the airport several times before being cleared to land. The air traffic was heavy. Mombasa is Mecca for tourists.
I was in the town to attend a Financial Management Workshop. The organizers killed two birds with one stone. Getting the job done and affording attendees a vacation. Really, after each day’s business you just find yourself in vacation mood. You didn’t even need to make any effort!
I saw many single mothers there. Please don’t kill me! I don’t know how else to describe young ladies most of them with a child each who had come on vacation and were apparently there at their own expense for their own enjoyment!
I was inspired to give another try to learning how to swim when I saw children, the age of my future grandchildren, swimming effortlessly in the alluring swimming pool that pervaded the entire grounds of the resort. So I spoke to a life guard and asked if he could teach me how to swim. We agreed on a fee for an hour daily for four days.
At the end of the day I could only attend for 45 minutes on the first day because we had a planned boat cruise dinner on the River. My stay in the water gave me flu and I had to abandon the planned sessions for the remaining days. However in that 45 minutes, I learned how to swim. For the first time in my life I floated in water. Before then I had always sank like a stone!
I learnt two lessons from this. First is that it is never too late to learn a new skill and second is that if you have difficulty learning a new skill it is because the right technique had not been applied. My trainer was so good that his simple explanations and guidance had me swimming with confidence although just within a radius of a few metres within 30 minutes. All I need now is to practice.
By next morning I had developed symptoms of a severe cold. I braved it through the day’s work session and went to town in the evening having gotten an AU Doctor, Col. Dr. Achamyelesh from my Division to write a prescription for me. I knew I had to deal with the cold aggressively so that I would be strong enough for my assignment coming up in Abuja immediately after the Mombasa outing.
I phoned Reception from my room and requested for a taxi to take me to town. I was told taxis were waiting at my convenience. On getting to the reception I asked for the taxi and I was told to ask the Concierge at the entrance of the hotel.
“Mr. Concierge, where is my taxi?” I asked the man in red overcoat. “Just a minute, sir!” He walked to a Phone fixed to a pillar and punched a bell. Seconds later an SUV drove to the hotel entrance.
“That is for you, sir.” He smiled at me. I was bewildered. “I didn’t ask for a luxury vehicle…” I began.
“It is the standard sir. Very affordable.”
I jumped in. At first I was quiet, listening to the soft music from the stereo, then I turned to survey the driver. He was clean shaven and neatly dressed.
“How are you?” I asked?
“Fine, sir.” he replied.
“Why have you been quiet? I am used to drivers chatting nineteen to dozen whenever I board hotel taxis!”
“That is not how we were trained, sir. I had to assess first and know whether you are in the mood for conversation or just wanted a quiet ride to think through issues that may be on your mind”!
Wow! Just Wow!!!!
“Were you trained by the Hotel? Does the Hotel own the fleet of taxis?”
No, Sir. Private individuals own the taxis, but when the hotel accredits a taxi, the driver has to undergo a training organized by the hotel on how to relate with their lodgers.
“Are you a graduate?”
“No, sir. School Certificate holder”
Not only did he speak very good English, he was also knowledgeable. I observed that the road was being dualized and he remarked that Government should have done this ten years earlier!
I asked why most buildings in the town were painted in white and blue. He said it was a directive from the authorities to symbolize love and peace which the tourism city stood for.
At the City Mall he directed me to where to locate a Pharmacy. I quickly got what I needed and he took me back to the hotel.
The next morning I went back to the pharmacy. Its drugs were very effective. I was feeling stronger already. most of the symptoms had disappeared but I still had runny nose. I told the pharmacist that I just needed something to stop my nose from running. She said I did not need anything else. I should take one tablet of clarithin from the drugs I bought the previous night.
I said but the dosage said one tab per day and I took one the previous night. She said that was for yesterday. I could take another one for today. It was not a must that I took it at night as prescribed because it was non-drowsy. It wont disturb my work.
Wow! First time in my life I would see a professional turning down the opportunity to make extra money or sales. I followed her advice and it worked. By the time I arrived Abuja on Sunday, 25th November, I had almost totally recovered.
God bless Mombasa.
God bless Nigeria, too!
Article + Pic by Remi Adeoye
Cover Image: Google