Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tumefika Lamu

7:00 am, Lamu

"Tumefika" is Swahili for "we have arrived".

The first time Kevin came to Lamu, in 1987, it was a 10-hour bus ride. I don't remember if he said it was from Nairobi, or Mombasa, but either way, let's review, it was a 10-hour bus ride. By contrast, we flew in from Nairobi in a prop plane - an hour and change flight to Malindi, on the coast, a handful of minutes to disgorge and take on fresh passengers, and another twenty minutes or so to Manda, the island right next door to Lamu. Easy peasy. A welcoming committee of feral cats greeted us while we waited for our baggage, and from there, we took a diesel-powered dhow across the channel to our final destination: Old Town.

The approach to Old Town.

Lamu is a foot and donkey kind of place - with the exception of an ambulance and a couple of tractors, there are no motorized vehicles. Shown above is the main street, one block back from the sea front. No more than 6 to 8 feet wide.

When we go to Lamu (this is our third trip together, and Kevin's Umpteenth trip overall), we stay at Amu House, run by an old friend of Kevin's, Mary - and special bonus, Mary is here (she divides her time between Lamu and the States). Note the carved wood lintel. Doorways and doors are a special feature of coastal Kenya.

We dumped our stuff and went out immediately in search of a banana chocolate (Kevin) and mocha (me) shake at Bush Gardens, a thatch-roofed restaurant right on the main drag along the seafront. I'll have some trouble eating here, because for tragic reasons involving torture as a child, I can't eat any fish or seafood.

Fortunately, vegeterians are on the menu, so I should be fine.

We hung out with Mary for a while, and she shared this with me:

I forget what this is called, but it smells divine.

In the afternoon, we passed out hard - something about jetlag, and the overall drowsiness-inducing climate.

I had a moment of panic trying to figure out if my super-duper expensive international wireless plan would work here - it does, but the connection is going to be super slow. It's now Thursday, the 7th - our first full day here. I believe some wandering around is on the agenda. Also, heavy mango consumption.

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