First, a disclaimer. I am not a story teller. That position is held by the likes of Tish and Ark. I don’t think it is even possible to train me to be a story teller. The saying you cannot teach an old dog new tricks must have been said with me in mind. And so, I own that saying. Having made the above declaration, we can now go ahead with my retelling of my trip to Mogadishu.
The airline we flew to Mogadishu, must, as was observed by my colleague, have a contract with a funeral home. We flew an EMB 120, which felt and looked liked it was the first to be made for commercial flights and when the many owners got tired of operating it, African Express discovered in a plane junkyard and put it back together. However, to their credit, the crew managed to take us smoothly to Somalia. I slept most of the trip and when I was not sleeping, I was reading or eating or drinking something.
There was no incident at immigration, thank goodness.
Now, I don’t know about you, but for $150 in Kenya, a taxi could take you for a journey across counties, say Nairobi to Nakuru and back and if you were to hire a car, that would be sufficient for two day hire and fuel to and fro Kisumu. And if it is one of these Toyota cars that flood our market that seem to only smell fuel, you could save some money for simple accommodation on the way. If you are in Mogadishu, that’t the fare from the airport to a hotel 300m away, no kidding.
That’s the boring part. The interesting part is we were picked up in an armored car, with an outrider and chase car. At the hotel, we had the option of wearing bullet proof vests, an opportunity I let pass. They looked too heavy, the heat quite a lot and I don’t think there was anyone who would want to kidnap a broke ass Kenyan who the government may not even miss. So we drove through backstreets and main roads like we owned the place, a feeling I am yet to place. Sometimes they even drove on the wrong side of the road if traffic was slow, it felt like being VIP, or maybe they were trying to justify the $1200 fee we were going to pay at the end.
For $150 a night hotel, we got cold showers. There was the option for no water in the room, though my friend refused that and had to be moved to a smaller room. While I had water, the amount paid meant the shower does no drain. I didn’t ask if there were additional charges for working sanitary fittings, maybe for the next trip.
I think electrical engineers and electricians in Mogadishu need a few lessons on how hotel guests use rooms. For $150, I want a bedside lamp, a ceiling rose not a fluorescent light bulb.
To their credit, they serve very good tea. Their breakfast is hopeless, I mean, really hopeless.
For this trip, I will not mention the two times my bag was searched by a dog, first as you enter the terminal and second in the departure lounge just before boarding. It’s called not taking chances with your security.
A travel report is not complete without pictures, or as they say in our cycling group, if it is not on strava, it didn’t happen.