Traverse 06 - Page 17

us get our motorcycles out of the port, but he couldn‘t promise that we would have them before New Year’s Eve. Nev- ertheless, on the first working day, De- cember 27th, we started the process at 8am by picking up our Carnet de Pas- sages (which finally arrived right on time from Iran together with the Bill of Landing) from a couriers office and we finally finished … you wouldn’t guess: at about midnight the same day, by riding our motorcycles into the streets of Mombasa! One long, but well-structured and extremely pro- ductive day was enough to go through all the required procedures of han- dling the paperwork with the port and Kenyan customs administration and retrieving our motorcycles. That was an unexpected, but a very pleasant start to our African ride. Without any further delays, the next morning we set off, heading west – away from the tiring heat and hu- midity of the Indian Ocean and into the land of contrasts. Plunging into Kenyan traffic on the outskirts of Mombasa was an adven- ture in itself. Pedestrians, motorcy- cles, free roaming cattle, cars, trucks, buses and the famous minibus-taxis called Matatu (in Kiswahili meaning TRAVERSE 17 “the threes” because of three seats in each row, but in reality you would never know how many people, chick- ens or goats are actually squeezed inside…) make the process of riding there adventurous , to say the least. Then, given the fact that Kenya was the first country where we got to ride our motorcycles on the left side of the road, it must have been pure luck that we actually made it through the first few days without getting into any kind of trouble. Eventually, after getting used to the direction of traffic and sev- eral specific rules of the “jungle law”, riding on Kenyan roads didn’t seem too