Somalia Medal The Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia
A Soldier's Journals
Tuesday, September 28, 2021  

Somalia '93


72 Hours in Mombasa

18 March 93

We finally arrived at the hotel at about eight last night.  It is beautiful, surrounded by gardens of palm trees and flowers.  It is on the beach and has windsurfers, jet skis, sailboats and scuba equipment for us to use.  The rooms are not quite as nice, but very comfortable.  There is even a large mosquito net above the bed and small green lizards walking on the walls.

I had a quick bite to eat before a scuba meeting at nine.  Rick and Tim quit, deciding that they would rather drink than dive.  I was in the pool at midnight for my first pool lesson.  It was a strange experience breathing under water.  Up until midnight, Sean and I explored the hotel and beach, beer in hand.  There are coconut and banana trees all around us and I caught a hermit crab.

I didn't get to bed until two, then I was up at seven-thirty for a quick breakfast before my next pool lesson.

In the afternoon, Sean, Daren, Tim and I headed up the coast to go jetskiing.  Everyone was drunk and screwing around racing at each other and spinning in wild circles.  When we returned, Sean got into a fight with the manager over a scuff on the front of his ski.  The manager was furious over the apparent damages and wanted Sean to pay.  Sean threatened to sue him for letting him go out drunk and the manager left it at that.

A girl on the beach was weaving extensions into peoples hair, so we bet the girl that she couldn't do it to Sean since his hair is less than 1/4 inch long.  She took us on and now Sean is walking around with a string of beads in his hair.

We went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.  We sat down with three girls (of the evening) and had a phenomenal meal.  I had a vegetarian dinner for only 100 ksh ($2) and with all the drinks for both myself and the girls, plus rounds for the table, I spent less than $10.

19 March 93

It was a long day yesterday, so I didn't go out last night.  Instead I passed out in my room at around ten.  I was up this morning at 5:30 for scuba, so I wasn't willing to party all night like some of the others.  Scuba lessons today were a cluster fuck.  Everything was behind schedule and we spent most of the day waiting for classes.  I spent the entire morning in the pool, then we did our first two checkout dives (half combined by surfacing then going down again) this afternoon.

After the dives this afternoon, I rented skin diving gear and headed out to the reef to check out the countless colours of the tropical fish.

There are monkeys in the palm trees around the pool.  As we sit drinking, they throw things down on us.  One little bugger even started pissing on someone. 

20 March 93

I went downtown this morning to do some shopping.  I headed for the old part of town to exchange some money on the black market.  I met a guy on the street who offered to change my money, so I followed him through the crowded streets and down back alleys, all the while keeping my eyes open for an ambush.  I have heard of too many travellers who have been robbed this way.  Luckily all went well.

My new friend offered to show me around his part of town.  He showed me where I could find everything I was looking for and as we walked he explained that he was a member of an Islamic dissident group.  He pointed out the charred skeletons of buses and trucks that had been burned during their last protest.

I took my leave of my new friend and headed downtown to do some shopping, then headed back to the hotel.  I spent the afternoon swimming and exploring the beach while I waited for my check dives.  We ended up running out of time, so I didn't get to do my dives.  Needless to say, I am pissed.  Captain Wilson says that it is no problem and that I can just do them next time I am here.  I was planning on taking my advanced and rescue courses on my next 72 though.

We had a BBQ by the pool tonight after which I returned to my room to drink and read.  I wasn't much into the night life on this R&R.

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