Food & Drinks

Three in one: Inside Tana River’s best hotel


Sometimes you find yourself in places you would not normally be in. This is because anything is possible and life is a big wave that keeps washing us on odd shores.

So there I was, in Garsen, Tana River County, one long street, sketchy shops running alongside, the call to prayer sounding from the mosques. Bluest of skies. Women rolling jerricans of water on the road with their feet.

We stayed in a small lodging called Marjan with mosquitoes the size of my fist. Kamikaze little buggers that bravely gained entrance into my mosquito net. I killed two cockroaches by stomping on them and a slow cricket by smashing it with a sandal. I was on a killing spree.

And this was the best motel in town. The service was good and it was decent. Not so for the food; the food was floaty, something to be served in Cell 5. It is not a place of luxury, as you might have picked, which was fine because that is not why we were there.

After a long day in the field on the first day we decided to see what the town had in terms of entertainment. We stumbled on Three in One restaurant and bar. The only reason we saw it was because of its high makuti-thatched roof. You see makuti and you always know there will be a drink waiting.

Inside was dark and dunk. Music blared from old tired speakers. Gaunt men sat watching soccer at the entrance seating before a bar behind a cage.

Inside, more seating in a long corridor that had rooms alongside it. A room was going for Sh300 a night. More men sat, chewing khat or smoking what almost smelled like cigarette. The music was very nice. The menu was less than basic. My friends ordered Guarana that came cold. I nursed water.

At 7 pm the music was killed and everybody turned their attention to the news. News is serious business. We stood and went to Faiza’s cafe up the road for a meal.

They sold samosas, chapatis, kahawa and biryani. We sat outside on plastic chairs and watched Garsen drift by. Through all this you realise, at some point, a simple fact in life; we need less than we want.