Island in the sun..and lots of wind

Lamu Island Travel Blog

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Day 1.

Very very long journey (6hrs) to get to the island from Malindi.  I'd have to say I think it was mainly due to the Hisham coach using itself as a large matatu the whole way.  Cramming people down the isles.  My other journies since have not been the same.  Note to self:  Do not always think a cheap price is the best price.  After the long bumpy kenyan road we fianlly reached the Indian Ocean that sepaarted Lamu Island from the mainland.  It was a nice cheap little 'ferry' ride down the coast, wind in my hair, the occasional spray of cool salt water from the ocean, beautiful.  I made a friend on the coach.  A Nairobi lad called Billy and his guide Geoffrey.  It was nice to talk to someone who knew English well, I know how selfishly touristy of me that sounds. 
The rest of the day I just spent on the promenade writing in my journal and missing my boyfriend and friends in England. 
That afternoon I visited a coffee shop noted in my Lonely Planet.  It seems all white tourists had the same idea.  I felt I sold out as soon as I entered, but I admit I was glad of the European sanity, or insanity depending on your perception.  I had an expensive peanut cake bar thing and an expensive passionfruit juice - European place European prices.  I also decided to try out some more local food, street food this time.  Oh my god it was good.  Some kind of skewered meat barbiqued in front of you and dipped in chilli sauce then packed away in a little newspaper pocket for you to take away with you.  Yum.  And it only cost 60p.  I was maybe going to pass by in the evening for dinner again along with some of those sweet triangles but unfortunately there was a powercut.  Oh I do time my visits well.  I get the destinct impression that this happens a lot though as soon after the lights went down my landlord came round with oil lamps.  It was like a time-warp into the middle ages.  As I strolled through the tiny corridors/alleyways (some so narrow they felt a little claustrophobic) on Lamu town I realised it wasn't far from it.  You would get completely lost if there wasn't an ocean to head for when it all got a bit too overwhelming.  For this exact reason, I decided to stay in when the powercut happened.  As I looked out my window into the pitch darkness all I could hear were voices but I couldn't see a thing.  'Maybe I'll just have an early night', afterall that peanut cake bar gave me a lot of energy to sleep on I'm sure.

Day 2.

The lights came on about 2am.  Awesome.  And, despite having a perfect mozquito net curtousy of Causerina Rest House, I had a massive bug bite.  I'm thinking it was a spider, and I'm hoping it wasn't a poisonous one.  I'm sure I'd be dead by now if it was.  I decided to get up early for a stroll down to the nearby village - Shela.  40min stroll over large sand dunes!  Hard work.  I finally got to have my bathe in the cool ocean.  The beach was almost completely deserted apart from the odd tourist or Masai group of lads wandering by.  I finally felt safe enough to leave my stuff, although I did stay very close by a foreign couple so I wasn't completely alone.  I think they thought I was stalking them - probably because to a certain extent I was.  The ocean current was so strong; I had to fight against it just to stay in the same place.  'Maybe I won't go for a swim, just a little in this small section'. 
As it started to get hotter I deceided to have a wander down the beach to a random fort in the middle of the towering sand dunes that backed the beach.  I don't really know what they were hoping of protecting.  It looked like a scene from Arabian Nights.  Once the heat of the day passed I attempted to rush back to Shela for the sunset.  I came across Billy and Geoffrey on my travels...maybe just enough time for a quick cold beer.  Geoffrey is hilarious, however Billy I later realised wanted assistance with getting a tourist visa for England, well he was a nice friend while it lasted.  I pushed on for Shela, dripping with sweat as I ran over the dunes...a local shouted out..."you'll never make it in time"...ha! in your face, I made it...just to be told that I needed to climb the massive dunes that backed the beach to see it properly.  Wading through the donkeys and donkey poo on the dunes trying to get to the top.  Sigh.  Beautiful.  Well worth it.  Now just had to get back to Lamu town without being raped or mugged.  Interesting.  Go go go!  Again another sprint over dunes to get to where there was light and people.  Definately a practice run for Mt Kili.  Luckily I came across a Masai warrior from the Amboseli region on my way back.  It's strange, you instantly feel at ease in the presence of Masai - completely safe.  He told me a walk like a Masai, strong and fast.  I agreed.  I'd rather be thought of as a strong Masai warrior than a white woman fearing for her life in the dark obyss.

angiebb says:
Did you go snorkeling?
Just wondering what it's like?
Posted on: Jan 16, 2009
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Lamu Island
photo by: Spikeyboots