The suitcase on the bed is indeed that of a long journey, as Julio Iglesias used to sing, but for those who make it it is a well-known, periodical, at least annual journey.
So it would be an almost empty suitcase, not only because some of the clothes and things are already at the destination, but because even the clothes to take are mostly light stuff, from warm and informal places .
Places where two changes of shorts and t-shirt (or cotton dress for women) and flip flops for the day and a pair of longs and summer shoes for the evening are enough for the day.
Places where there would be no need (conditional obligation) to show up, a place where, as article 3 of the constitution of Le Mal d’Afrique says, “we don’t need anything that is not in we “.
Yet, mysteriously, this suitcase is not only full, but often not even one.
If the airline that will land you in Mombasa provides 23 + 23 kilos of luggage, rest assured that you will have 24 + 23.5. And if there is still room for a third package, there will be no shortage of gifts and “exchange stones” between friends, exotic partners or beach boys.
The question arises like the mchicha in the fields: why are these suitcases so full and so heavy?
Basically because we Italians are incapable of giving up the pleasures of food, of “our” food, and because those who frequent the Kenyan coasts for a few months a year, the coldest, do not want to give up their good habits but much less spend more than they should to buy goods defined as “basic necessities” by paying the inevitable duty to find high-priced imported products that cost at least twice as much as in Italy.
So in a 23 kg suitcase we find: 12 packets of Lavazza gold quality coffee (Kenya is the third largest coffee exporter in the world, its coffee for mocha is very good but unfortunately it costs a little more, also because it ‘is often produced in a still artisanal way), fifteen packs of De Cecco spaghetti of half a kilo (total saving of 1.80 per pack, therefore the beauty of 27 euros in total that can be spent during a party on the beach!), two kg of grana padano (essential, if they bring you spaghetti… and luckily the tomatoes in Kenya are good… but of course the San Marzano in a jar…). We continue with a 5 liter can of olive oil and a few other comforts such as a few bottles of wine, Taggiasca olives, Mulino Bianco biscuits (basic! You want to put with the overly authentic biscuits from the Kenyan company Fayaz, active since 1890 in Mombasa and also found in Malindi and Watamu for a little less than one euro per package?) and more. But we know that no one like the Italians struggles to give up the “Mediterranean diet”. Among long-time residents of Malindi there is almost certainty that if restaurants had not started equipping themselves with a wood-fired pizza oven since 1985, the destination would not have had such success with of our compatriots.
So we don’t want to forgive those who can’t live 3 months abroad without eating a pasta dish a day, a margherita a week, a risotto every fortnight?
Another question that arises like pineapples to Magarini: but is it possible to bring all this good of an Italic God to an African country like Kenya, for a tourist who enters precisely with a tourist visa?
The answer is immediate: OK NOT!
If you are not a resident and want to import food, but also non-food items with your person, such as a hammer drill (I swear we have cases…), a pack of 12 rolls of “Scottex Casa” (sic!) or a series of sunscreens, mosquito nets and cosmetics to open a shop, you have to pay import taxes. Just like someone who has a license and a company to do the work of an importer. To some, it seems strange exactly how those who rent their house in Kenya (not declared in Italian income) by also putting it on Air BnB should pay them.
No, Italians barely absorb the word “taxes”, let alone what they want to know about “do it yourself” imports. Also because in Mombasa, it seems, there is a much more efficient, direct and humane method to overcome this problem. One of the pages of your passport, at Baggage Control, Power of Africa, will magically turn into a 1000 shillings note and slide in the presence of the nurse ready to impose the tax on your basic necessities, without what the stay at the equator would not be the same!
Simple, like kicking a jar (from San Marzano), the forgettable Gianni Togni would have sung.
But it’s just as simple as some agents, when exiting the airport, know or see the scene of the passport ticket and take advantage of it by threatening to report you for another precious page of your document.
How bad are these Kenyans! What profiteers! Ready to complicate your life for a piece of Grana Padano (not even Parmigiano Reggiano, besides I bought it at Eurospin…) and for two packets of spaghetti (to be precise, vermicelli). The wave of veiled complaints of racism that follows on social networks is quite a program.
And in the end it is the one that disturbs the most, at least for the writer. The nerve of those who not only try to take advantage of others as if they were in a third world of half a century ago, with the wizards of Zigozago with the alarm around their necks that marked the 23rd, but that when the Zigozago respond with the same piece (corruption is a game of two, to play you need a corrupter and a corrupter, but woe if the roles are reversed during the match…) they tap their fingers on the keyboard like children do it with their feet on the ground.
Who knows why these things only happen to Italians?
Could it be because the Germans, the English and the Nordics do not eat pasta and do not drink this Nescafé soup?
Those who have nothing to hide no longer need pages in their passport.
To think that Kenya is no longer an easy and happy destination because you can’t introduce unlimited pasta and cheese there seems a bit simplistic for a country so extraordinarily complex in all its senses. And consider the Kenyan authorities unseemly because instead of taking you to the office and confiscating anything you try to import that you don’t have a bill for, they ask you for an extra page of that passport you reinforced for the occasion, it seems even less honest…
In recent days, the immigration office at Mombasa airport wanted to arrest a compatriot armed with a 7 kg leg of raw ham with all its beautiful bones.
The man justified himself by saying that he would distribute it in a village of poor people. Nothing to do, even faced with a dozen passport pages floating in the air, the San Daniele was seized.
Not so sorry for him, but for the community of this village who had made a collection for the occasion, buying a brand new slicer and who had to eat the Voi melons bought at the Malindi supermarket, together with the smoked fish from the Sabaki Rivière. ..