The choice of The Hague as the home of the International Criminal Court was an inspired one. The place is grey, soulless, occasionally rainy and unrelentingly dull. It is marked by narrow streets lined with uniform brown-red architectural eyesores…It’s just the sort of place where you would want lawyers to spend years squabbling over intricate legal points for years on end – with the suspects enjoying little entertainment in between.
The Dutch are a generally friendly lot and it’s quite easy to adjust to the rhythm of life in the city. It’s a tougher call getting used to the language, especially the use of routine words you are accustomed to applying to very different things. Fifteen minutes walk from the International Criminal Court, you will find the Badhotel in Scheveningen. It turns out the word ‘bad’ means ‘bath’ in Dutch and the hotel is so named because it is not too far from the beach.
It would seem the major Kenyan mobile networks have decided to recoup their losses from the fierce competition at home by charging customers that travel out of the country an arm and a leg in roaming charges. One call lasting a couple of minutes sets you back several hundred shillings. As in the old days of the Safaricom-Kencell duopoly, one also pays a similar sum for receiving calls. Rarely has a ‘flash’ been greeted with as much relief as when one is abroad!
Kenya is not the only country experiencing serious competition between mobile phone companies. The Dutch telecommunications industry is fiercely competitive.
The usual giants such as Vodafone and T-Mobile are present in the market although one gets the best deals by signing up with smaller operators. One of them, Lebara, doubles your airtime when you top up which is rather a relief after tackling the ‘roaming’ fee.