I tried writing the day to day activities of coast, but they were rather too long with too little exciting activity for the reader, I admit. So I am now cutting to the chase.
On the second day, after a road trip to Malindi, we were dropped off at the junction to God-knows-where so we could take a matatu to Barracks. If you are a student who’s been to coast, and you did not go to Barracks, I don’t know what to say to you. All beer is Kshs. 60. It’s on the beach, but it closes early. Am sure you’ve guessed this is not a club but the alcoholic canteen for the army base down in coast. It was at night, we got a stranger who offered to take us there, we paid 20 bob for an almost hour drive (bus fare is cheap in coast), followed the stranger through a dark path-lucky we were like 20 of us- and got to the Barracks 30 min before closing time. They close at 8.30 pm.
Ever had four drinks in half-an-hour? Before I continue, did I ever mention the strategy for having a good time on a student’s budget? You go a cheap joint (with a name like Sally’s wines and spirits), drink there, arrive at the club high and buy one drink ya kushilia. Drinks at clubs are generally expensive. This was no exception…at Barracks, we met another group that had been there since five, drinking and smoking all manner of legal and illegal(sic) substances. The ocean, beautiful at night. The liquor, cheap and flowing. The mood, buoyant. The waves, rushing in. The camaradie, wonderful. The ‘smoking of substances’ , carrying us higher. It was a wonderful time.
After Barracks, we headed to town: specifically two joints: Casa Blanca and Bella Vista. I don’t know where they get these names from. Entrance charge into Casa Blanca was 2 soc per three people. I have never seen so many women in one club. When we checked in, it was rather early, around 10 p.m. every table had a chick, a single chick, perched by. And what were they were wearing? Tops for dresses. It was later that we realized they were in the pleasure business. For us, we swaggered in with our boys. Being single and desperate, the ladies at the club were willing to give free lap dances, etc…but they scared our classmates, am sure.
It was a bit boring at first, so we decided to check out Bella Vista, which was within walking distance. There, it had already hit. There was no entrance charge but drinks at 180/-. Three times as much as Barracks. So we bought our one-one drinks and started having a good time. We got a table at the balcony…and later the club filled with students. That was where I was when I heard Marley had been arrested.
I was there when Butterfly and Blossom strutted in, and asked us to contribute to bail out Marley. I am calling him Marley for Bob Marley…am thinking the common thread here is the smoking-of-you-know-what. Anyway, they said they had met cops who had harassed them for walking around at night (don’t ask me what they were doing walking around the town in their club clothes, they could easily be mistaken for you know what..), and when they said they were students, they were led to the cop car where Marley was being held. The cops wanted kshs. 300.
We gave out our loose change and it came to 280, and somehow B and B convinced the cops who were four in total. Marley was released for 70 bob per cop. He told me later he had decided not to smoke at the club and had taken a walk when the cops found him. He was the provider at that time, still is. Business is business.
Bella Vista closed early that night, around 3 a.m. we went back to Casa B where drinks are 160 bob. By this time the numbers had balanced out but most of people could hardly stay on their feet. You had to take care though, not to take free offers of drinks or munchies. I did hear that someone was offering to sell his phone so he could get money to give a random chick after she gave him something to eat. He was taken out for fresh air, then to another club and he forgot her story.
Casa B has VIP rooms for private dances. I didn’t enter one, but I know someone who did and he told me he was in another world. I don’t want to imagine what that means.
We left Casa B around five in the morning, some earlier, some later, on tuk tuks, motor bikes, matatus. We hardly slept for 2 hours before we started the final day shedule.
On Friday, we went to Fort Jesus, then the ferry at Kilindini, and finally the beach. I still have the tan lines, if you can call them that. That night, instead of going to town, we decided to check out Club Lambada in the Mtwapa area where we were staying.
This is one hell of a club, it even has a swimming pool in the middle, a well-lit dance floor, good music, large enough, entrance charge 200 for guys and 0 for chicks…it’s not your average club. Bella Vista and Casa B are not your average clubs either, but I still think Lambada is the best. We were leaving there at five in the morning, got a half-hour’s worth of sleep, showered, checked out and by 7 a.m. we were on the road back.
The journey back had people snoring away in various positions. I can’t wait for the final trip next year. Am sure the destination will still be coast.