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The highway restaurant with massage chairs

Harriet James @martkinel

Renowned as a stopover for travellers going to and from the Coast, Mtito Andei town is conveniently located halfway between Mombasa and Nairobi cities. The town is popular with motorists  seeking meals and drinks, to refresh or even stay overnight.

This busy, highway town experiences a 24-hour economy, as it’s usually alive day or night with business activities. The town came into existence during the construction of the Ugandan Railway between 1898 and 1905.

Locally called Mutitu wa Ndei (The Forest of Vultures), the area was also famous for lions— called The Man Eaters of Tsavo— that used to attack and sometimes kill the railway construction workers. Currently, Mtito Andei has become one of the fastest growing cosmopolitan towns, often referred to as ‘Mombasa Nusu’ because of its midway location from Nairobi (233km) and Mombasa (249km).

A recent stopover at Mombasa Nusu enabled me to see some of the latest restaurants and hotels.  As our bus slowed over road bumps on the outskirts of the town, different aromas of cooking food wafted in the air. We parked outside Rubi Restaurant, where we were scheduled to have lunch. 

What fascinated me about the place was the fact that they had massaging chairs for their clients. After the five-hour journey to Mtito Andei, my back was hurting so much and my head felt as if I had been put through a grinder.   

So the massage chair was a big relief as I relax my muscles for the next stretch of the journey. In the past, this kind of comfort was reserved for the rich but now it has found its way to ordinary mortals like you and me. For just Sh200, I enjoyed a 15-minute massage that made me ready to finish my journey. 

The chairs have motors, which generate a vibrating motion that is then transferred to different parts of your body, such as the back, neck, legs and shoulders. I learnt that this continuous motion is how they free your body from tension and stress built up in your muscles.

In some chairs, the vibrations comprise tapping motions, which relaxes the back and lumbar region. This is the region where the muscles tend to lock up over lengthy periods. Additionally, it assists in releasing pressure on the spine since it bears the entire body weight. 

I had little time to eat at the restaurant as we had a 30-minute stopover. Oh, I didn’t tell you what the restaurant looks like. It has ample parking space with marble walls and tiled floors. However, the décor is pretty simple, with a sink on the side with water and soap for hand washing. I found their restroom facilities reasonably clean compared to the public toilets around. 

Since most people are on quick stopovers here, one pays before you eat. What disappointed me is the fact that their menu had dishes that they hadn’t prepared. I love
(roast chicken) but sadly, I was forced to eat beef with rice since no chicken meal was available. For just Sh250, one can eat a reasonable meal, so I am not complaining.

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