May 2017 05
You might miss on some interesting places to see and things to do if you do not follow a guidebook, but it’s much more fun when you go to a place without knowing anything about that place.
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When I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, my couch surfing host suggested me that I shouldn’t miss Mombasa and before I could read anything about Mombasa, I was dozing in the sleeper bus to Mombasa from Nairobi.

So I arrived in the Mombasa city next day early morning and checked in in a hotel close to the bus station.

Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city after Nairobi. It is located on the Eastern coastline of Kenya bordering the Indian Ocean which has made it a popular destination for its beaches.

I started my day in Mombasa with a walk along the Pirates beach where I met many Somali people who taught me how to chew khat like a pro. Khat for breakfast was a good idea to kick-start the day as it makes you euphoric.

Few minutes later I found the euphoric me wandering in the bazaar of Mombasa and negotiating for a thawb. A thawb for $10, I think was a sweet deal and I could not resist from trying it out right there itself.
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So there I was, slightly uncomfortable carrying thawb but all set to get lost in the lanes of Mombasa to discover all it has to offer.  I started clicking everything that amused me. The beautiful architecture, the bustling bazaar and the warm people. I noticed that at times people would cover their face if they don’t want to be clicked. I tried my best to click from the hip and be as stealth as possible. With brown skin, thawb and DSLR,  I was definitely an odd one out there and I was noticing being noticed.

It was all going well until I saw a gang of women furiously abusing and chasing me. They had noticed me clicking them but I wonder if I had committed any crime. I started walking away and at the same time I did not want to miss clicking more pics of this beautiful gang chasing me. So it was click – click and run. They were abusing me in Swahili and I was looking around for someone who could translate that for me.

Seeing all this, a group of teenagers were having a laugh. They said something to those women that made them wonder and smile. I could feel that they felt sorry for bothering me unnecessarily. I thanked both the groups and asked teenagers to explain to me why they were after my life.

“Haha, they thought you are a muslim since you are wearing a thawb and you know it’s the month of Ramadan. They were cursing you for you are a bad influence and you are committing sin by clicking women when you should be fasting” , one of them said and offered me a bunch of khat leaves.

That evening was as euphoric as the day!

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