Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Watamu, Kenya, with awesome special effects

Oh, man, time flies. Where were we. Leaving Lamu. Yeah, so when it was time to leave Lamu, it was low tide.

As can be seen above. This is the sea front, from the end of the dock.

Our goal was to get to Malindi, a popular destination with Italian tourists, just south of Lamu - between Lamu and Mombasa. We planned to meet our friend Athman there, and he'd recommended a particular resort to stay in for the day and a half we planned for this part of our trip.

View from prop plane of the very southern tip of Lamu Island - totally undeveloped dunes, with big sand bar formation. Just lovely. In many such places in the States, there would be 2.5 casinos, three boardwalks, eight hotels, and god knows what else.

And now, I'm going to insert some pictures that I actually took on our prop plane trip from Nairobi to Lamu, days earlier, but I haven't been able to access them on this iPad to include them in a blog post until just now. My GOAL was to photograph Kilimanjaro, and indeed, you can see Africa's highest peak just under the engine.

BUT CHECK THIS FREAKY THING OUT! I do not know what accounts for this. "Science", or something:

That's the propellor blade. Or something.

God. That is so cool. If anyone can explain this, I will be most grateful.

OK, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The first - and actually, the last - time I was ever in Malindi, I had a really rough go of it. We'd flown to Malinda from Lamu, and then immediately hopped in a taxi with an Italian couple for the five hour drive to Mombasa, where we boarded flight to Nairobi, after which we got a taxi ride to our hotel, whereupon I proceeded to get violently ill. Out both ends, simultaneously, if you must know. I slept for thirty hours straight. I had never been so sick in my life, and I attribute it to the grueling day of travel (bear in mind, I get motion sick super easily).

So with that in mind, we were happy, this time around, to break up our eventual goal of Nairobi into more manageable chunks. We were booked into a place outside of Malinda, as it happens. The Watamu Villa Resort.

View from the open-air dining area.

And, view from the porch of our individual villa. Pretty swank, no? Yeah. It was, it was truly lovely. I crashed in our room and Kevin went into Malindi proper via tuk-tuk (3-wheel cab, so named for the sound of its engine - tuk-tuk-tuk-tuk-tuk) to hang with Athman. The nap fairies abducted me, so I think I made the right call.

The next morning, we went on a dolphin watch/snorkel expedition with a group of random British tourists. They spent most of the time complaining about Italian tourists. Ah, the pageant of human diversity... As to the motion sickness, I was OK - I sat on the roof of the boat, and kept my eye on the horizon, and did just fine. We saw a group of five, and another group of seven or so, dolphins, and as for the snorkeling, oh my! The black-and-white striped guys, the rainbow colored ones, the blue ones with a yellow bit along the spine, the brilliant green ones...it was pretty cool. No pictures from that, alas.

Eventually it was time to brave my demons and get in that cab to Mombasa. This time around, it only took 2.5 hours, because the road has been significantly improved (read: "paved") since our last visit. And that includes the time it took for the driver to change a flat. And then we flew to Nairobi. And lo, I did NOT get sick and need to sleep for thirty hours.

The next day, we took the Riverside Shuttle bus to Arusha, Tanzania. Our ultimate destination was Imbaseni, a very rural village just east of Arusha, and home to our friends Pete and Charlotte O'Neal. That'll be the next post.

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