Dream vacation in Mombasa jolted by detention over bills

Saturday May 05 2018

They had billed all the drinks I had taken from the room, and all those I had asked for after dinner. Also on the statement was washing of my clothes and the room service. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH


When we parted ways here last week, I was eating life with a big spoon at Nyali Sun Africa Hotel, Mombasa. We had come here in the company of Kizito and Baraza, as a reward by our area MPs for good performance at KCPE.

At the exact time of us parting ways, we had just taken dinner — a sumptuous meal that one served several times. I had first observed that people at first went for soup followed by food, then fruits.

Others started with fruits, soup then food. I had not travelled all the way from Mwisho wa Lami to take soup, nor would I waste time on fruits.


So I took a three-course meal; that is to say I served myself thrice — making sure that I filled my plate to the brim each time; avoiding things I could easily get at home. A traditional troupe started entertaining us shortly after.

The waiters came round asking for whatever drink one wanted. All one needed was to say their room number.


“Bring me three Summits,” I said. They didn’t have Summit so I took three Tuskers. Life was good. It was around 11pm when we retired to our rooms. After a long struggle, I opened the wine in the fridge and started enjoying it. I must have dozed off; for I woke up later that night, sweating profusely. To survive, I had to remove all my clothes, only covering myself with a sheet.

I was up early Sunday morning. After bathing in the small swimming pool in the room, I called Kizito and we went for breakfast. I put all my dirty clothes in a basket written: Dirty Laundry.

The breakfast could as well be called dinner. There was beef, bacon, some greens and eggs, among many others. There was also porridge and fruits. You need no dictionary to know I avoided these! I went for direct injection: filled my plate with sausages, bacon, eggs, among others — thrice!

After breakfast, we lazed around the swimming pool, on a comfortable bed that gave me a great view of the happenings — and the different shapes and sizes in the pool.

“We can’t leave Mombasa before swimming,” said Kizito at around 10am. “But I don’t have swimming costumes,” I said.

Wacha mchezo, Dre, costumes are for women, men just require underwear.” It was true. We went to the room to change.


Wearing only a vest and innerwear, I left my room and went to the swimming pool direct. Having been used to swimming in River Lukose with its raging waters, it was easy swimming in clean, stagnant water; and we soon got friends with whom we played volleyball.

The only challenge was that my innerwear and vest were torn, and had some patches. It was soon time for lunch. As usual, I went for three-course direct injection!

“We all check out tomorrow,” said Baraza, the MPs PA. We had rarely seen Baraza since arriving, as some beautiful woman had joined him upon our arrival, and they had only been appearing during meal times.

“I go back with the morning train, so I will leave very early,” he said. “You leave with the afternoon train. The hotel will take you to the station at 12. Check out after breakfast.”

After lunch, I decided to go see Fort Jesus. I had thought it was nearby. Several matatus later, I still had not arrived there. It was getting late and I didn’t know where I was. I asked and was told I was in Mtwapa. After several matatus, walking, and finally a Tuk Tuk, I arrived at the hotel at around 8pm.

I went straight to my room, and leisurely bathed. I then took two bottles of beer from the fridge. Somebody knocked on the door and, when I opened, it was a hotel staff delivering the clothes that I had left in the dirty lunacy basket. They had been machine washed and were sparkling clean!

Around 11pm, I left the room to go for dinner. They had cleared the dinner tables. And I was hungry!

“If you are too hungry we can do room service,” they told me. The food arrived in my room about half an hour later. I slumbered after this.


On Monday morning, we leisurely took breakfast, went back to the room and packed our things ready for check out. It was around 10am. That is when my problems began.

I had a bill in excess of Sh30,000. I asked for a statement. It was long, they had billed all the drinks I had taken from the room, and all those I had asked for after dinner. Also on the statement was washing of my clothes and the room service.

“You never indicated that the drinks in the fridge would be charged,” I protested. “And who asked you to wash my clothes,”

“That’s how it works, sir,” said the officer who gave me the bill.

“Even supper yesterday, why am I being charged?” I asked.

“That was room service, sir,” he said.

“But I missed dinner yesterday, you had finished when I came, what was I to do and we had paid?” He showed me some write-up indicating meal times for the hotel. I asked to see their manager. He came and explained the same to me.

“This is quite unfair, I am not paying, I don’t have such money!” I protested.

“Anyone going to the SGR must leave now,” said a hotel staff, showing everyone where the van to the SGR was.

Nishikie kiti nakuja,” I told Kizito as he made his way to the van.

“Sir, we will not release you until you clear the bills,” said the manager politely. I only had Sh4,000 on me. I called Ford and told him my tribulations. “I am coming,” is all he said.


He had not arrived by 2pm. Using my phone, I applied for some loans from different applications and raised a further Sh6,300. Baraza sent me Sh2,000. Now I had Sh12,300 against a bill of Sh34,560

Ford arrived at around 3pm, and also protested, unsuccessfully. He only had Sh800. I tried to give them this but they refused.

After some time, another manager passed by and asked what was happening. He had the name Mohamed on his badge and looked very senior.

The officer we were dealing with explained the issue, and I also explained my story, saying no one had warned me.

“How much do you have?” he asked me. I told him I had Sh13,100.

“If you can make it Sh15,000, we will release you,” he said. I talked to Pius who sent me Sh1500, Ford added Sh400 and we paid. “Thank you very much!” I told him.

I wanted to go to the train but I was told it was late, so Ford took me to town to take a bus. He really lectured me as we went, telling me to avoid such big hotels. “They are for wazungus,” he said. I had, however, seen many Africans there.

Ford, despite our differences two weeks earlier, paid for my bus fare to Nairobi, and Pius paid for my bus fare from Nairobi to home. But, oh boy, had I not enjoyed Mombasa!


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