The Weekend Vacation – Part 2, The Train Ride

Mombasa Terminus
Mombasa Terminus

As I said in my previous post, we all arrived at the Nairobi terminus to catch the train ride an hour and a half earlier. The first thing that you notice at the place is the strict security checks that are done. From the armed police officers with their guard dogs to the security scanners, they make sure that no one goes into the terminus with something illegal. On top of that, there are about three body checks before you get into the main building. It may seem extreme but I for one think it’s necessary.

Once inside, I took a few more photos before proceeding to the ticket printing area. The printing process is pretty easy, and there are no long queues. We then went to the waiting area.

The train tracks at Nairobi terminus

The train tracks at Nairobi terminus

The boarding process starts at around 30 minutes to the departure time. There are captains/stewardesses at the entrance of each cabin who check your ticket and welcome you aboard.

Each couch carries 118 passengers. Ours was couch 10. The seats inside are arranged in groups of two and three facing each other. Now here is where I disagree with the designers, the numbering system makes it impossible to get seats on the same side. I wish they provide an option to select the seat number when booking on their website, as opposed to the automatic assignment they are using now. Since I had booked four consecutive tickets, it meant that we had sat on different sides of the couch.

We sat there for the first 30 minutes of the ride which was fine. Well, until the girl seating across from Marc and I called her friends to sit next to her. They were too loud. all my attempts to sleep were out the window in the next few minutes. I started reading a story on Wattpad.

The Fun Begins

Halfway through the journey, we had the brightest idea to ask the two guys seating across my friends, Jay and his new girlfriend, let’s call her Steph, to switch seats with us. They agreed to it, much to our delight. We sat with them and started playing a game of cards. At some point, the train attendants brought food and drinks to buy.

They have a wide variety of foods, like sandwiches, chapatis, tea, coffee and fruits. A different cart also sells beer cans.

Inside the train, you barely feel it moving. In fact, you doubt that the train reaches the 120km/hr value displayed on the speedometer. The only reason we believed it was actually moving was when we stopped at one of the stations so we could excuse the train going to Nairobi.

The AC inside is another impressive feature. The cool temperature was comfortable, unlike the 30 -40 degrees Celcius outside temperature. The AC is even more appreciated when you step outside the train on arrival at the Mombasa terminus. The humidity and heat are so uncomfortable you have to take a minute to start breathing normally.

The Mombasa terminus is quite beautifully constructed. I read that it is supposed to resemble the ripples on the ocean.

Mombasa Terminus

Mombasa Terminus

Outside the sun shines with a purpose. Needless to say, the sweat started trickling at this point and only stopped two days later when we got back to Nairobi.

There are buses and taxis outside to ferry people to Mombasa town. The Terminus is about one hour away from town.

We hopped on one of the busses towards Town.

I cannot complain much about the train ride except the seats are a bit uncomfortable. Thankfully, the ride is 4-5 hrs so it is bearable.

This is the second part of the weekend vacation series. Previous – The Weekend Vacation – Part 1, Planning day. Next – The Weekend Vacation – Part 3, Moving From Mombasa to Diani

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