Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lamu Part Two

So it turns out that Lamu is particularly crowded right now because it's the Festival of Maulid, which commemorates the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. Boatloads of folks show up from all over to celebrate.

And why not? Among other attractions, there are donkey races along the seafront.


You can always count on boys to find the best perching spots for such events.



We were down on the seafront to visit the folks at 540, an airline, to make arrangements to leave Lamu in a few days' time. The donkey race finals were one of those little moments of "why not?" serendipity.

And for the life of me I wasn't quick enough on the draw to get any shot but one of the donkeys themselves:


Three donkey butts recede in the distance.


Afterwards, we went for a stroll. That wall above is made of coral - the most common building material in Old Town. Imagine doing building construction with only handcarts, and no motorized vehicles. You can see why there are so many donkeys. Those buggers are tough as nails.


Interestingly, you often see them wandering around untended. They know where they're fed - it all works out at the end of the day.


With so many donkeys, there is a unique, how shall I call it, aroma to the air. It's not just the donkeys. It's the sea air, the thatch roofs, cooking fuel, the dust and dirt itself, the body odor that being just 2 degrees off the equator will produce... it's a heady combination. I wouldn't call it unpleasant, but it is intense.

That, and the heat, produces a flattening effect on me. Much nappage occurred.


But we did make an effort to wander around. This is Lamu Fort. We visited it because there was a photography exhibition which itself was photogenic:


These girls were sweet. They themselves are somewhere in this exhibit, so they were tending the sign-in book proudly.

Elections are coming up soon, which mandates that every available vertical surface be plastered with campaign posters.


And here's a gratuitous shot of just one of many splendid doorways. A Lamu craftsman never met a slab of wood he couldn't improve upon with some elaborate carving. The furniture is the same way.

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