Wednesday, 6 February 2013

How to get around in Kenya... NOT LIKE THAT!

For anyone who hasn't been to Kenya before, there are three main types of public transport, all equally dangerous, fast and a LOT of fun. Today's essay blog will explain in more detail:

1. The matatu

As Mombasa doesn't have public buses, the main transport comes through matatus, or minivans that theoretically should seat 12 people as they have 12 seats. Go figure. However it's not uncommon to have more than the maximum capacity and strangers sitting on your lap. You have to forgo any concerns about personal space and leave them at the door. In the matatu you have to climb over people to get to seats - literally CLIMB.

I am clumsy, I have hit at least 20 people in the face on matatus so far.

Plus, I always forget that wearing a skirt in matatus + climbing over people = pants flashing! MUST STOP WEARING SKIRTS ON MATATUS.

The best thing about matatus is that at night time, they pimp the matatus so that every angle of the vehicle is decorated with a string of rope lights, so they look like freaky skeleton/badass/neon slugs. That is until they drive past you pumping Britney Spears 'Hit me baby one more time' at full volume and you fall about laughing.

Did I mention that most journeys cost 30 shillings which converts to around 15p???? CHEAP, man.

2. The tuk-tuk

These three wheeled menaces aren't afraid of anything, and I flipping love them. The engines are so noisy that  conversation is ruled out while they're in motion but the drivers are hilarious and you can trust that they know the dimensions of their vehicles to the nearest millimeter. They're more expensive than matatus, but handy if you have shopping to carry home.

3. Boda-boda/piki-piki

I've saved the best until last... the forbidden fruit... my motorbikes! I'm not actually supposed to go on them as they're apparently so dangerous, but feeling the breeze in your hair is just so amazing on a hot African day. I have a very nice driver called Rashid who likes to tell me about his family as he drives, but he has a scary habit of turning his head to talk to me, so I don't talk that much on the bikes... JUST LOOK AT THE ROAD PLEASE.

So there we are. A mini guide to how to get around ON TRANSPORT in Kenya.