I think I was a fish in my earlier life. An inedible fish. Something with an ugly mouth and twisty things that look like whiskers. This is the thought I had while seated at the terrace of Pwani Kofi Bar in Travellers Beach Hotel and Club in Mombasa.
The hotel has many bars — as most big hotels on the Coast do— but I liked the Kofi bar the most. It overlooked the ocean and is probably the best place to unwind in the evening, a drink before you, shirt unbuttoned halfway to your chest like a villain in a movie.
The waves lapped at the beach. Lovers on holiday walked past, hand in hand, under the dark heavy sky, making memories.
The bar is open plan and quintessentially coastal and when you see it from the beach or from inside the hotel it looks warm and cozy at night, a place you would want to experience with someone who knows your childhood nickname. Someone you don’t need to reveal yourself to.
It’s not romantic but it’s a place you can take romance to, especially if you sit at the edge of the terrace and say corny things like, ‘why does it feel like I will never forget this moment?”
Surprisingly Travellers Beach is quite the hotel; charming and modern but with a sturdy old soul. The service was surprisingly swift. I say “surprisingly” because most big hotels are like elephants; they move slowly and breathe heavily.
I had something light to eat; white snapper and French fries. I picked on the fries with my fingers and absent-mindedly stared at a lit ship anchored kilometres into the ocean.
I briefly wondered about the crew and how far home was for them. I realised that the sweet feeling I had been feeling seated there alone, feeling villainous, was peace.
I had three whiskies, the ice cubes melting fast in the evening warmth of the Coast. I watched two daughters at the next table dot over their father, an ageing man in stiff khaki pants. The girls made him laugh. He looked to be at peace too, his version of peace. Pwani Kofi bar seemed to be a place of peace.
I paid my bill and as I walked out I wondered if in his life the ageing father ever wondered once if he was a fish in his earlier life.