Home' Travel News : February 2014 Contents 46 travel news February 2014
February 2014 travel news 47
My youngest daughter complained bitterly
that I drove to the coast like an old man
(notwithstanding that I am) on our recent
trip there over the holiday season. What
she really meant, but didn't say, was that I
drove sensibly for a change.
Boxing Day, no traffic, no pressure, no
hurry, no worries – all at a sedentary 100
kph. Which, after all, is the speed limit.
Coming back was another story altogether.
daughters' Kenyan passports by lunchtime.
They went back to school in Scotland the
next day. We made it easily, and thanks to
our new immigration services, all was as
promised. We'll now be offering this and
other immigration services through our
travel agency. Click HERE to get in touch.
As we always do, we stayed in Watamu on
Kenya’s north coast, which at this time of
the year has the best beach in Kenya by
Watamu has mostly been about families
and friends renting houses which - other
than top-of-the-range beachfront properties
- have in the main been reasonably priced
and affordable. A reader from the UK wrote
to this magazine a while back bemoaning
the cost of house rentals in Watamu over
the peak holiday seasons.
It wasn’t the airfares that they complained
about, but the huge increase in the cost of
renting a house.
I don’t recall their cost increase, but after a
house we had previously rented increased
its daily rate by almost 100% over a 2-year
period, we decided to look at other options
First though, I do understand that house
owners have only two or possibly three
opportunities a year to get a decent return
on their investments. The December-
January holiday season, Easter and
possibly the last two weeks of August.
But does it make good business sense to
price yourself out of the market, and make
people like myself and many others look
for other options in Watamu and beyond?
There have always been options:
Hemingways Resort is a little tired, but still
a great place to be if you can afford it, but
not exactly resident friendly. Then there is
Oceans Sports, a legend in its own lunch-
time. More than tired, would you believe
exhausted – but still the place to be.
What would we do without it?
OS, as it is more commonly known, seems
to bumble along, but it could be oh so
much better. Over the holidays the service
as usual was... well, what can I say when
it takes on average half-an-hour or more to
get served at the bar.
To speed (sic) things up, they came up
with a re-hashed version of their 'it's never
worked before - so let's try it again' coupon
book for drinks. This year you could
actually return coupons for refund if you
hadn't used them all up. In previous years
it was just tough luck, mate!
The trouble was that these so-called new-
fangled coupon books were more of a
hindrance than a help. A simple solution
are rolls of tickets – green for beer, red for
wine, brown for spirits and so on – want six
beers, that’s six coupons. No more high
finance for waiters and customers alike.
We all love OS; it has been a part of many of
our lives for decades - but it seems at times
to be slowly slipping away from us. We live
in hope that some robust investment might
be on the way coming – but given past
performances, don’t hold your breath!
We stayed at the swank new Medina Palms,
a great place and reasonably priced for
an on-beach property – much less than a
house and half the hassle. It is run as a hotel
but all apartments lend themselves nicely
to self-catering. It is located between Turtle
Bay (another option) and Hemingways.
Medina Palms might be a little too modern
for Watamu; you could really be anywhere
except for that magnificent beach out front.
When I told a friends we had stayed at
Medina Palms, they asked 'What else did
you do in Dubai?'
Talking of apartments, a lot of our friends
now stay at Blue Bay Apartments, which
is a stone's throw from the town’s bright
lights. Bright lights – now that’s a bit of a
stretch, but a new hostelaria right next to
the best little gelateria in the whole wide
world, and the ancient Ascot Hotel which
still does a great pizza, is about it.
I’ll probably be hung, drawn and quartered
by the homeowners of Watamu, but I am
always happy to stand to be corrected.
(Now where did that saying come from?
Hung, Drawn andQuartered.It was a penalty
in England from 1351 for men convicted of
high treason. Convicts were fastened to
a hurdle, or wooden panel, and drawn by
horse to the place of execution, where they
were hanged (almost to the point of death),
emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded
and quartered (chopped into four pieces).
Their remains were often displayed in
prominent places across the country, such
as London Bridge. For reasons of public
decency, women convicted of high treason
were instead burnt at the stake.)
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