TUESDAY. After changing some money at Barclays, we caught Matatu¹ Number 23 out to the suburb of Westlands where the Pakistan Embassy is located. Westlands is a lovely, quiet suburb with large houses set amongst all manner of trees and flowering shrubs. The scent of frangipani in the cool morning air was quite exquisite, and the trees were tinged with the purple flowers of jacaranda along with a dozen shades of red, orange and white.
The staff of the the embassy were very friendly and helpful and even though a visa to visit Pakistan normally requires a return air ticket, a little bit of calm reasoning on our part with the diplomat assigned to deal with us, soon convinced him of that our intention to travel overland into India after we’d spent time in Pakistan, and that we had enough money for such a trip, was genuine enough to have our visas granted. The cost was only KSH45…we had expected to pay US$50 each!
Back in the city, we went round to the Iqbal where we had arranged to meet two Americans who wanted to share a four-berth cabin on the train to Mombasa. The four of us walked over to the train station and joined the queue at the ticket office. The two Americans, Lawrence and Gaylyn, had done the trip before so they knew the ins and outs of buying the tickets and we were soon in possession of four tickets aboard the 7:00 PM departure tomorrow.
After that, we went to the Post Office to check the mail again (nothing this time) then we went back to our hotel to rest up and pack. At 1:30 I caught a matatu out to Westlands again and picked up our passports, and then, finally, back at the hotel, we crashed out for the rest of the day.
In the evening, Neil, Linda and I went round to the Terrace Bar at the Six Eighty [readers will remember the Six Eighty as the place we stayed prior to our overland departure back in ‘89] for a cold Tusker, then to Nairobi Burgers Ltd for a snack.
¹A matatu is a minibus for conveying passengers, as many as you can cram in, around Kenyan towns and cities. The name matatu is Swahili and means “one more”, a reference to the fact that they can always find room for one more passenger.