Published: April 16th 2011April 16th 2011
The end is near…
We have about ten days before we have to go back. Ten days is still enough time for a lot to happen so I’m not going to summarize anything yet. However I am going to tell you how we have been spending our last few weeks and how we are most likely going to spend the days that are left.
We left Nairobi to Momabasa (as I have already mentioned) and we ended up staying three nights in a small Hotel next to a mosque in central Mombasa. We didn’t do much in Mombasa, apart from walking around the old part of the city and looking at souvenirs. However one of the days we decided to go south of Mombasa to one of the beaches. Having no idea of what places were good I took one at random, Diani Beach. We took the immensely overcrowded ferry from Mombasa Island to Likoni and then a matatu (taxibus) to Diani Beach. The ride reminded me of Uganda, small villages next to the road with people selling all kinds of things. We stepped off in a place called Ukunda, a few kilometers from the beach and changed to
another matatu that dropped us off in an abandoned hotel resort. The driver told us just to walk through the abandoned hotel and we would find the beach. We were both a bit skeptical walking through the massive yet destroyed hotel, but after a while we did end up on the beach, and what a beach it was! It was like stepping onto paradise, with palm trees, white sand and clear blue water.
We left Diani in the afternoon and went back to Mombasa. As I said we didn’t stay long in Mombasa and we took a bus to Lamu instead. Lamu is an island on the north coast of Kenya and the bus ride there was the worst so far. On the internet it said that the bus could take anything from 6 to 12 hours, but the man at the booking office said 7 max. Even though it only took 6.5 hours it was still a very long drive. After around 2 hours the road turns into a dirt road and we were literary flying up and down in the bus, bouncing 20cm up from our seats. At one point the bus stopped to pick up two
armored guards that escorted us to the end. Apparently the north coast isn’t very safe! Nevertheless the trip was full of interesting things to see, like Baboons on the side of the road and many people trying to sell us weird things through the bus windows. I understand that they try to sell water and food, but they also wanted to sell us live chickens. Who the hell buys live chickens through a bus window? I was sitting next to the window half asleep when a lady stuck a chicken in my face.
When the bus ride finished we had a boat trip to the island left. It was in what is called a Dhow boat, which is like a small, wooden fishing boat. It was absolutely packed and it was a miracle it was still floating. However they refused to leave the port, waiting for even more people, and this made the women on the boat very frustrated. They were shouting and threatening to get off, until finally the “captain” decided to get going. Lamu itself is a small island with a few towns where, as I understood it, the main town (where we stayed) is called Amu.
There are no cars on Lamu, however close to 3000 donkeys. There were donkeys everywhere and they even had a Donkey Sanctuary that was sponsored by some foundation from Britain. The Sanctuary was there to help sick or orphan donkeys and we did make a few visits, the donkeys were surprisingly sweet. We got a nice and cheap room in Lamu, however this time even closer to a Mosque, so every day at 05.00 we got a nice wakeup call. Apart from the early wakeups and the people always trying to sell you something, Lamu was a nice and relaxed place with very friendly people. It was a bit like if Jamaica went Muslim, 80% of the people were Muslim and all prayed regularly, but at the same time there was a Rasta feeling to all the people, especially the young ones. There was a lot of “Heeey brutha. Whea yu fram? Welcum to paraaadise!”
We spent four nights in Lamu and we were mostly on the beach and walking through the town. But we did get to feed some Donkeys and even have a traditional Swahili dinner with a man that called himself “Ali Hippie”. Ali promised us
“good food and entertaaaainment”. The food was ok (actually quite nice) and the “entertaaaaainment” was absolutely hilarious, not because it was supposed to be, but because Ali told us he had a wonderful voice and was good at playing the keyboard. Really his voice wasn’t all that good and the keyboard playing sounded like a child playing one of those small plastic pianos you can buy in a china-shop in Spain.
Anyway, although Lamu was great, we could not stop thinking of the one day we spent in Diani Beach. In fact the beaches in Lamu couldn’t compare to Diani in terms of “paradisiness”. So we took the bus back to Mombasa, this time taking 8.5 hours, then took the ferry and Matatu to Ukunda. We spent two nights in Ukunda, in a very cheap guest house, until we found the place we are staying at now. This place is still very cheap, but has a pool and is 400meters from the amazing beach. So here is where we have spent the last few days and where we will stay until we are going back to Nairobi. We might plan some excursion to a place called Wasini Island, but
it depends on the price. But for now we are just chillin on the beach. I know it sounds like we are spoiling ourselves, but after over two months of hard work in Uganda, I think we are worth a few days on the beach!
….and now it’s here!
The entry above was supposed to be posted some time ago, but it was written on our laptop and we haven’t been able to find a place with wireless. So I’m adding a second post and Ewa will upload it when she gets back to Poland tomorrow. You see, we are back in Nairobi now and I’m writing this entry while Ewa is packing her things. She leaves tonight and I am staying another day, since my flight is scheduled to leave tomorrow night.
We have had some pleasant and some not so pleasant experiences since we left Diani beach. Diani was great and we spent a lot of our time on the beach, snorkeling, sunbathing and so on. But we had to leave sometime and so we took the night bus to Nairobi and we have spent two days here before its time to go home. The
bus here was another travelling nightmare, uncomfortable and long. At one point around 02.00 I woke up and saw that the man in charge of getting people onboard and checking tickets was fighting with some guy trying to sell stuff, and I mean pushing and punching fighting. But finally we arrived in Nairobi and all was well. We had a quick breakfast and headed off to the youth hostel.
We spent our first day walking around the city and we went to the cinema. I thought it would be fun to see how the African cinema looks like, but it was exactly the same as the European ones and the movie we saw (The Roommate) will probably not receive any Oscar nominations. The second day was jam-packed with activities. We started off by going to the Giraffe Center, which was cool since we had the chance to feed the giraffes and even sneak in a kiss or two. We had seen the wild giraffes in the Masai Mara, but seeing “tamed” ones up close was also a very nice experience. We left the Giraffe center and went directly to the Masai market for some souvenir shopping, well I didn’t
shop that much, Ewa did, but I put my newly perfected negotiation skills to good use. I will not say what we bought, because some lucky people might get a surprise. Hahaha, it will be funny to see MY “lucky few’s” faces when they see my gifts after having read this entry, their anticipation will be followed by sure disappointment. It’s nothing personal; I’m just very bad at souvenir shopping. Anyway we are back at the hostel now and soon Ewa will be leaving. I will be all alone for a whole day in Kenya! It will be sad and a bit lonely, but I think I will manage. So this will be my final entry (Ewa might add one of her own) and I would like to say that it has been a great experience filled with hardship and tears, but mostly smiles and laughter.
I wanted to end with and homage to my little friends (children) from Uganda, the ones I became so fond of. So in their words, to all of you who have been reading our blog I would like to say:
There are more photos below