Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I'll take a stick to you. . .

Having arrived in plenty of time, we faced a long wait for our train, apprehension mounting about our imminent incarceration for 20 hours. Memories surface of the Lunatic Express, the train from Nairobi to Mombasa, when our delight at securing first class quickly crumbled after stepping on board (it may have been first class when introduced, but sustained neglect and lack of maintenance transformed it into something completely different). Tony consoled me that he had bought a bottle of whiskey to anaesthetise us if necessary.

We headed out for a short walk to while away the time - and missed all the excitement! We had been sitting as a group with all our bags in the main station. Jenny got distracted and - hey presto! - one of the day packs disappeared.

Our Indian Guide, Asis, scanned the station and then walked outside. Spotting a youth sitting in a tuk-tuk with a daypack, he went over and challenged him. In no time, he was leading him back to the station with Jenny's missing daypack.

A scuffle ensued and the youngster, in an attempt to escape, stumbled down the station steps whereupon he was attacked by locals who kicked him without hesitation.

That was not the end of the story. By now police had been notified and arrived, complete with metre-long sticks (called a misses). You guessed it - they took over from the locals and gave the lad a thorough thrashing before hauling him off to be charged for theft.

After that we were shadowed by three policemen who went out of their way to look after us initially by directing us to the "Upper Class Waiting Room" (Murray couldn't resist expressing fake surprise that any Irishman would be seen dead in such a room).

No sign of the Council for Civil Liberties anywhere.

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