It was mid April. I had been anticipating this trip for months. I was travelling to Africa and meeting my South Asian Canadian close friend there, whose extended family also happens to live there.
I left Dubai and arrived in Nairobi. I had 6 hours to kill before my flight to Mombasa. I stepped inside the regional terminal, boy was it tiny. I sat there for 2 hours and watched over my luggage ( 2 heavy bags). With no wifi and practically nothing to do but stare at the ceiling, I was running out of ideas to keep myself entertained.
I couldn’t wait any longer.
Following the request of a Kenyan airway attendant, I checked my luggage in early, set myself free and walked across to the nearest cafe which I was told had wifi. hallelujah! some connection to the rest of the world.
I stepped inside. Sat down. I was greeted by a very friendly waitress. She spoke perfect English and had a very positive aura about her. Curious to know more about my life she asked me a lots of questions. This was perfect for me as it opened up the dialogue to learn more about her culture and way of life.
She was full of life, she was according to her own words a “big lady” but definitely proud of her curves. She spoke of the city I was heading to -Mombasa- as a place filled with heavy women. I recall her specifically saying ” You’ll find a lot of Big FAT ladies in Mombasa, even bigger than me.”
I loved her free spirit. She mentioned her love for Mombasa mainly because it was her go to place for lounging by the beaches and partying. She was also also not shy to mention her love for Arab men from Mombasa. Her dream was to marry a rich good looking man and she had no hesitation in expressing this to me. I found her so open, friendly and very welcoming. Perhaps because she wanted a hefty tip or perhaps out of sheer curiosity for a stranger passing along.
I had barely slept throughout my flight and was beyond exhausted. She could see just how tired I was. Now normally people wouldn’t do anything about it but I was so surprised by her thoughtfulness. Her logic was simple, if you are tired then you should sleep.
Sleep? how could I sleep in such a public place in a foreign country where I knew no one. But minute by minute my eyes were finding it harder and harder to stay open.
I said “YES, okay I’ll sleep but please wake me up an hour before my flight time”.
So there I was, in the middle of the restaurant which received frequent visitors, napping oh so publicly without a care in sight.
No one judged me, laughed or even cared to notice. I was free to be, I was free to do!
I was in love with East Africa already.