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Whatever ... 2011 ... this must be # two

 

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Coastweek -- The view looking over 'The Moorings' Restaurant, Mtwapa Creek.

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The 'Matatu' Fan Club

You squash in with your fellow passengers, and
pay your fifty bob as the matatu hurtles wildly
and erratically in the direction of Cinemax

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Coastweek -- You probably hate matatus.

You are undoubtedly completely right to hate them as much as you do.

But I come from London and unless you have seen the public transport there, you can have no idea of the utter joy that is the matatu.

In London, getting a bus is like going on a long pilgrimage.

You must walk first walk many miles, then wait with millions of other pilgrims (or office workers and tourists) at the place of the holy sign (or bus stop) and pray to a vengeful god for a bus to appear in your lifetime, and preferably by 7.30 a.m. so you can get to work on time.

Once you do get on a London bus, your fellow passengers will be either angry, miserable, mad or all of the above.

The bus will drive round the houses for an hour and, at the end, you will be no closer to your ultimate destination than when you set out, so will have to embark on another pilgrimage until you finally arrive, your spirit broken.

Imagine then a matatu that actually picks you up from wherever you are;

even better, one that will brake sharply, slam into reverse for fifty metres to where you are walking on the off-chance that you might want to go somewhere.

"Are you going to Cinemax?" you ask.

"Yes, yes" The conductor says confidently and shoves you in.

Excellent!

You squash in with your fellow passengers, and pay your fifty bob as the matatu hurtles wildly and erratically in the direction of Cinemax.

It is this point that you find out two truths about matatus.

The first is that the passengers are the most lovely people on God’s earth.

Your neighbour says to you discreetly:

"This isn’t going to Cinemax."

"Oh no, really?"

You check with the conductor.

But conductors live in their own world of carefree optimism.

"Yes, yes, Cinemax."

But he’s not really listening to you - you’re on the bus, you’ve paid, you’re yesterday’s news.

The other passengers join in:

"No, but you can get off at Nyali, and get another one from there which will take you direct."

So, the other truth you discover is that there is no public transport in the world that will take you where you actually want to go.

To me, matatus are a cut above.

A matatu starts off like a personal limo service making you feel like royalty, before turning into a wild rodeo horse and you become just another greenhorn cowboy thankful simply to have been booted off in one piece.

But it doesn’t matter; you can always get another matatu.

Meanwhile, you have found passengers who are kind, helpful and who actually talk to you.

You wouldn’t get that on a London bus.

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