WEDNESDAY 6 NOVEMBER – IRON HORSE TO MOMBASA Along with Maria [I have no recollection who that was] we checked out of the New Kenya Lodge and walked up to Nairobi Burgers Ltd for breakfast. Maria had a room booked at the Iqbal so we left our gear there and I set off to find the office of the New Zealand Consul. It took about 20 minutes to walk down Kenyatta Avenue, across Central Park, and up Nyerere Road where the consul’s office was located. It was a simple job to get two letters of introduction printed up by the consul’s friendly secretary.
By the time I got back to the Iqbal it was hot and I was damn thirsty so we walked round to the Terrace Bar at the 680 for a cold drink and while we were there we wrote a few letters.
We spent most of the afternoon relaxing in Maria’s room at the Iqbal and about 6:00pm Lawrence and Gaylyn turned up ready to go. We hired a taxi to take us to the railway station (KSH15 each) and said goodbye to Maria. The taxi, a beat up old Corolla, took about 10 minutes to thread its way through the bustling traffic to the station where we selected the right carriage (neatly labelled “MR & MRS WORCESTER, MR AND MRS KEY”) and settled into our small but comfy compartment.
The platform outside the window was dark and hot, with people running to and fro in preparation for the imminent departure of the train. At precisely 7:00pm the carriage gave a slight lurch and we moved slowly out of the station, gathering speed out into the warm, dark blanket of the African night.
An attendant came round selling beers so the four of us bought one each along with some bottles of bitter lemon to drink with the vodka that Lawrence had brought with him. At 8:45 the gong rang for the second dinner sitting and Linda and I went along to the immaculately set out dining car which was complete with white linen table cloths and silver cutlery bearing the logo E.A.R&H – a relic of the old East African Railways and Hotels company. The meal was tasty and filling: soup, fish, curry, stew and pudding with tea or coffee to follow, all for the princely sum of 160 KSH (£3) each, a small price to pay for sampling the style of a by-gone era!
After a long conversation with a strange Australian over beers in the bar, we went back to our compartment and went to bed, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking and clatter of the train as it rolled across the darkened savannah.