Picture yourself in this scenario: it’s a cool Sunday afternoon, the sun is slowly peeping from the clouds, giraffes elegantly gliding in the park, the monkeys are eagerly waiting for you to leave your food unattended, the serene ambience of trees all around you, the fresh tropical air that Mombasa has to offer, relaxing old classic tunes permeating from the Live Band on stage, children happily playing with twigs, leaves and mud, instead of staring at their smartphones; you’re relaxed and seated on a mkeka with your better half or friend watching The Great Gatsby, and for a few hours you are able to forget about the outside world and just live in the moment while enjoying the simple things that life has to offer.
On 10th July, all roads led to Haller Park for Once Upon a Time’s first series of events dubbed; a classical movie evening under a magical sunset sky, showcasing the movie The Great Gatsby. When I saw the posters regarding this event, I was more than ecstatic about it, since Mombasa seldom hosts such outdoor events. Being a first of its kind, I decided to have an open mind and make sure I attended it to see for myself.
When guests started streaming in at 2pm, they were treated to a tour around the park and had the opportunity to feed the giraffes and crocodiles before the show started. For nature lovers, a long walk around the park was very therapeutic; with tortoises perched on the grass oblivious to the astonished guests around and the breeze from the trees swaying all around; one couldn’t help but get absorbed in the moment and enjoy the ambience at the park.
The coastal feeling one got the moment you stepped in the venue was quite amazing; each and every guest at the entrance was given some madhafu to welcome them in, setting the mood for a lovely coastal ambience.
With mkekas all around the venue, one couldn’t help but lie down and enjoy an afternoon siesta before the show started! Juukua the Band, entertained us with renditions of old classic tunes, sticking to the theme of the event, before the movie started.
My highlight for Once Upon A Time Mombasa, was how the kids were not left behind, since they had so many exciting activities to keep them entertained throughout the afternoon; for once they were not busy stuck on their cellphones, rather they played around with mud and learned how to make leaf prints on paper, while getting an opportunity to plant trees around the park!
With free popcorn being served, we were ready to sit back and relax on the mkekas and enjoy the movie! One had to be there to be able to experience just how amazing it was, to have people from different backgrounds gathered together, seated quietly while enjoying a classic movie at the park. For me, it had nothing to do with the movie, rather the ambience surrounding the park and the simplicity of it all, just being outside on a cool Sunday night, wrapped up in a blanket, meeting new friends and savoring each moment as it came. Finally when the movie ended, we were entertained by some oldies tunes while we waited for the Euro Finals to start!
Once Upon A Time was truly an amazing concept and a breath of fresh air in Mombasa, and we really can’t wait for the next one. The time spent at Haller Park, the memories we forged and the experiences we shared at Once Upon A Time, were truly moments that we will carry with us for a long while to come! All those moments we shared will always remain in our memories; the concept behind Once Upon A Time was truly one of a kind as it managed to bring back the old memories, when we would go out to watch movies outdoors, and just enjoy the simplicity that life had to offer!
Pictures courtesy of Once Upon A Time