Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Chini Club

The Chini Club pool was so-called because it was below the Mombasa Club, 'chini' meaning 'below' in KiSwahili - this picture courtesy Tony Chetham. Before the coming of the Florida Club and the pool at the Oceanic Hotel, it was the only place on the island of Mombasa to which we could easily cycle for a swim - swimming in the sea off the island wasn't a good idea as the waters were the home of some rather unfriendly sharks.

At centre right is the covered area where drinks were served, and the changing rooms are in the white building to the right

The pool was built out on a coral platform and looked up to the old Portuguese Fort Jesus, at that time a prison. A wall, topped with broken glass, ran along that side to prevent access from the beach.

We loved it there. It was very private, the water was warm, and the pool was often almost deserted. The only disadvantage was that we had to have an adult with us.

I have no idea why Richard and I are wearing masks here! As far as I can remember, although the pool was filled from directly the sea and was, therefore, salt water, sea life wasn't common in the pool, though its sides did become quite slimy.

There were occasional events there: this picture, probably 1959 or 1960, was taken during one of the Club's galas. The view behind me is across the entrance to the Old Port to the reef at English Point.

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