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Mombasa!!

KENYA | Thursday, 27 October 2011 | Views [463]

The night bus to Mombasa was long but pretty uneventful. We arrived in Mombasa at 5:30 on Friday morning. There were a couple stops that we were able to get off at, and unfortunately after receiving poor advice from our in bus stewardess we got off at the wrong one. Hakuna Matata, we just took a tuk tuk, which is a motorized trike with a box in back for you to sit, back into the city to a place called Fort Jesus. We explored the old town and found this place where there used to be a tunnel connecting it to Fort Jesus. It was right along the harbor and there was a place where boats could come to dock. There was also a kind of cave with a freshwater well. I don’t know how the water was fresh but they used it to wash off after going for a swim in the salty water. Some guys that were hanging out there told us that they used to bring slaves there, washed them in the well and if they were healthy they would put them aboard a ship. If they were not healthy they were killed. Pretty crazy. We explored the area and hung out at the harbor, and then took a matatu to the ferry.

 

When we arrived at our hotel we were really impressed. Our house for four included two bedrooms, a big living room area and a kitchen with all the cooking supplies you could need. The porch in back looked out to an area with grass and trees, and just beyond that was the ocean!! It was absolutely beautiful! White fine sand and turquoise water, we were very excited! We of course went immediately for a swim!

 

We stayed for four nights at the Beachelets Inn. We met up with a group of volunteers also from Fadhili Community who had decided to fly in instead of take the night bus. We were 12 in total and there were only two people I hadn’t met before. We had a lot of fun hanging out on the beach! One guy from the UK and I took on three of the Kenyan beach boys in a game of keep away ‘football’ aka soccer, on the beach.  It was super fun and we definitely won, but I was so tired after! What a workout in the hot sun! On one day four of us wandered down the beach and found a game of beach volleyball going on at the other resorts. We joined in with the people playing, and then stayed to play some 2 on 2. One of the beach boys came and tried to sell us a bird that he had found on the beach. He said it was injured and couldn’t fly, but that he was going to go home and rub some aloe vera on it. We certainly didn’t want the bird but we enjoyed his attempt at 50 Cent rap! Rilla and I enjoyed daily sand baths, inspired by a guy in Mombasa rubbing sand all over himself. Seemed like a good exfoliate so we tried it out. On the last day we also did a seaweed wrap, which turned into us making ourselves look like mermaids.

 

We also spent some time at a restaurant called the 40 Thieves. It had delicious food, a pool table and dartboard. We played lots of darts. The restaurant was neat because it had no end wall, it was open air with a view right out to the ocean so we could see the tide coming in and out, and some of the tables were on the beach!

 

We went swimming on most nights way after the sun had gone down. On one evening we were in the water and I noticed something that kept shining. I thought that it was the reflection of lights from the shore, but it wasn’t. When you moved your hands fast underwater, little green lights appeared. Like small underwater fireflies (called engen gnangeni in Kisii)! I think its called bioluminescence! I had never seen that before, it was amazing!

 

On Monday morning we went snorkeling from a glass bottom boat. They took us over a couple of reefs, one that looked like muschrooms and the other that looked like potatoes. We stopped at a sand bar that was way out in the ocean. One of the guys from our boat dove down and picked up a starfish and two sea urchins, the non-poisonous kind that we were able to hold. The sea urchin had tiny spikes all over it that moved all different directions; it was a cool feeling to hold that though the spikes were pretty sharp. It reminded me of an underwater hedgehog. We then got to swim around and the guide showed us an eel that was eating a sea urchin, I touched it and it felt super soft. We also saw a sea spider, starfish, lots of sea urchins, a lot of fish and I saw this really fat ugly looking fish, I have no idea what it was called.

 

After snorkeling we said goodbye to the other volunteers. It was a really awesome group to hang out with! We had decided to stay another night. For dinner that evening Rilla, Caleb and I went to a fish market/restaurant just down the beach from our hotel. We had a seafood platter, which included lobster, white snapper, prawns and calamari. Everything had been caught that day from the ocean and it was delicious. I never knew how much I like lobster…its sure tasty!!

 

Tuesday morning we got up early and made our way into the town of Ukunda to catch the bus to Dar Es Salaam. Roads…I said they can always get worse, and those words are so, so true! This one almost had me winded. Not only was the road bad, but the driver seemed to be in a slight rush, or else couldn’t feel the bumps that he caused for the back of the bus. I got air a few times!! On the way there we encountered a really big accident that held us up for three hours. A bus had been trying to pass another vehicle, but when it saw an oncoming truck couldn’t pull back in time. As it swerved to miss the oncoming car it tipped over off balance and exploded, killing 50 people, only 8 were taken to hospital. It was pretty tragic. The bus was nearly unrecognizable. There is not much for crowd control here when an accident occurs. People leave the vehicles and rush over to see what is going on. I stayed in the bus fore most of it despite the heat. We met a brother and sister from Tanga who were on their way to Dar Es Salaam for the Hindu New Years festival. The eleven year old girl had henna on her hands and gave Rilla and I each our first initial on our hands. Despite his pleading she would not do any for Derek because it is for girls only! She was super friendly and cute. We are hopefully going to join in on some of the celebration tonight! It is the festival of lights today! New Years tomorrow.

 

Hope everyone is doing wonderfully at home! This may sound odd but I am missing the coolness of fall, the heat here is unbelievable!

 

Asante Sana.

Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean

 

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