The Bus to Makowe

Mokowe Travel Blog

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After several days at Gedi, Mike drove us into Malindi where we boarded a bus for Lamu. The old and battered bus quickly filled to capacity with primarily Muslim passengers. Black men wore white wrap-arounds, white shirts, and white knitted skull caps. Two young girls in colorful dress displayed stacks of silver and copper bracelets around their wrists, upper arms, and lower legs. An elderly woman struggling with a chicken sat next to us. Her wrinkled arm felt cold and clammy as it brushed mine. Sitting in the back row, Scott and I inhaled dust and felt all the bumps throughout the uncomfortable trip.


The bus had to be loaded onto a barge at Garsen to cross the Tana River. That challenge allowed time for a quick lunch of samosas  from a small riverside shack. Those triangular deep-fried pies contained meat, potato and vegetables - all bursting with the tasty flavors of Indian spices. Once our bus was positioned on the barge, all passengers heaved on a thick rope spanning the river to pull it across like a colossal one-way tug-of-war.


Sometime after the successful crossing, the chicken next to us laid an egg. Amazed by our amusement, the old woman offered the oval treasure but we politely declined, having no way to cook it and no desire to try getting it to wherever we were going unbroken. After five hours on the bus, we reached Makowe and the boat that would take us to the island.

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