Our man in Mombasa

Some time ago (between 1995 and 1997, in fact), and in a context I have now forgotten but when I lived in Brussels, Cad for some reason referred to me as “Our man in Mombasa“. Hopefully, next week, I’m finally going to make this come true.

Tala has been chilly lately. I slept with a hat on last night :O The electric water heater (what Steve calls the “Fawcett of fear”) in my bathroom has mysteriously stopped working 🙁 term starts again in a week and it doesn’t feel so much like there has been a break this time.

People say this is the best time to go to the coast; at Christmas time it can be “Miserably hot”. And I only have one more full term and one more vacation here. I’ve spend most of this one tinkering on Unix admin projects with the staff and writing a bloody **book** on Javascript since the textbook that apparently used to be here has gone missing (Christopher and Matthew, ifyoure reading this, put that old JS book of mine in an envilope and post it to me please, it will only cost as much as a couple of pints of beer!).

In other news, plans are afoot to move Bitterjug.com to a new server. At around the same time we’ll be switching the blog software from Greymatter to WordPress so things will look a little different. Keep watchin’ this space.


  1. Cad Says:

    Huzzah for ‘Our Man In Mombasa’ 🙂

    > Tala has been chilly lately. I slept with a hat on last night
    I’m sure it was a nice warm hat but I just can’t shift the image of you peacefully asleep with a light Panama hat tipped down over your nose.


  2. Raj Says:

    I agree, and it has to be a panama, with a crisp white suit & cravat !!, oh don’t forget the glass of Pimms on the bedside table !

    Either that or was the hat very cuddly :0

    Mark, sorry I’ve not sent any comments recently, but have been enjoying reading everybody elses comments.

  3. Penny Says:

    hmmm, Pimms: "Bun IN, Bun OUT, Dinkidoo!"
    (i guess you have had to have seen the advert)
    I am glad you are off to Mombassa, dont forget the pictures please! Especially of the giant tusk things over the road there!

  4. Jan Says:

    Hi and how do you know about the tusk things penny ? and we are not too suprised about the shower it always felt dodgy.
    peoberbly your savour if truth be known,I thought a santa hat quite funny Love sis xxx

  5. Penny Says:

    ow, that was supposed to say "drinkidoo" curse my spelling-ineptitude!

  6. Munuve Says:

    Mark, sorry for intruding your vacation in Mombasa/pwani. Just to give you a start and to respond to the statement that there does not seem to be anything written about African religion, I thought these books written by John Mbiti of Kangundo might be good reading.
    1. Concepts of God in Africa. New York: Praeger, 1970.
    2. African Religions and Philosophy. London: Heinemann,

  7. Mark Says:

    Munuve, you’re not intruding on anything. My holiday away from Tala included a holiday away from computers too. I think the latter has contributed as much as my short time by the beach to my feeling a bit refreshed this morning. Your coments are most welcome. Where are you located now? It sounds like you are a teacher but also I got the impression from your other comment that you are now or have been in the USA?

    Penny, I don’t know what the hell you are talking about, so nothing new there. I love you anyways.

    All of you, it was an orange, fluffly, shapeless, knitted hat that Megan made for me with her own fingers and needles.

  8. Mark Says:

    Sorry guys there aren’t no pictures of my trip to the coast. I did go to Mombasa and I saw the big tusks that arch over the street. I tapped them and listened to the noise to see what sort of thing they were made of. I also saw some of the old town which made me feel as if I was in Southern Europe.

    Interactions with people on the street felt very different from those I normally have in Nairobi. I was a bit cautious stepping off the bus, expecting to be swarmed by hotel touts and taxis. One taxi man said to me,
    "You need a taxi, sir?",
    "No thanks", I replied.
    "OK, welcome".
    I turned and stared at him to try and make sure it had really happened and that he wasn’t being sarcastic. I am used to taxi drivers being intrusive and arrogant. Similar things happened when we got off the Matatu in Watamu:
    "Yes, my friend, you need a hotel?"
    "No thanks, I’ve already booked one"
    Just like that, the way it should be.

    The beach at Watamu was lovely. Stayed there slightly less time than I would have liked to but it had been difficult to book anything. I think there was a problem with the phone system at the beginning of the week as we’d tried to call and even sat in a tourist information office for an hour while a friendly Kenyan **dialed** a million numbers on a rotary phone before giving up. After a day spent on a dirty beach somewhere just North of Mombasa I tried again with my mobile and got through second time.

    So it seemed a rather quick break but enough to put some sand between my toes and some sunburn on my chest. I was feeling very bright and happy yesterday morning after my run to Nguluni. Slightly less so this morning, and even less still after I got a call from our ISP saying they’re going to cut us off! :O

    So if it’s a few days before you hear from me again, you’ll know why.