|«Jambo» from Africa, dear friends!
We have started our trip in Kenya, and loved every minute of it so far. Finally here, in the windowless (and almost roofless) tower room at the Yumbe House Hotel in Lamu, Kenya, we got connected to the Internet.
It all started in Nairobi, which, despite being nicer than we had expected, had quite little to offer in the end. The real adventure, however, begun at 7pm on Wednesday night at Nairobi railway station, where we boarded the night train to Mombasa. The ride in the first class sleeper was hot and bumpy, and although at night it was as dark as it can get, the scenery that was revealed in the morning light was the first real glimpse of Africa we saw. Children along the tracks wished us welcome to even hotter and more humid Mombasa.
The town of Mombasa was more chaotic but also more relaxed than the capital. We were expecting more tourists, but later realised that they were mostly holed up in their seaside all-inclusive resorts. We visited one as well to enjoy the cooling water of the swimming pool, but returned back to our backpackers for the night.
From Mombasa, we headed north along the coast to the small town of Watamu. We were driven there by an Iranian couple that we met at the Mombasa backpacker’s, who dream of opening their own campsite in Uganda. (Their praise for Uganda (as well as Iran) was endless and planted another travel seed in our heads.) Watamu was a quiet little town or village, surrounded by yet more seaside resorts for Italians and other Europeans. We stayed in a small hotel in the village and for the first time were able to freely and safely walk around even after nightfall, learning more about the way of life in this part of the world.
After a visit to the little larger neighbouring town of Malindi, we were ready to continue further up the coast to Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The bus ride took four hours. When we arrived at the ferry port (Lamu is an island), we were covered in fine dust. Heli was probably mistaken for a Northern blonde and the dust had added some extra gray into Jouni’s hair, too. Some of the dust was washed away by the salty sea water that was sprayed on us onboard the speed boat to Lamu island. The rest we showered off under the cold shower in our hotel room, described as a “coral castle” by the Lonely Planet.
While writing this, the funeral that took place in the neighbouring house earlier this afternoon has finished, at least we can hear no more crying or singing. Very soon it will be dark and it’s time to pull down the mosquito net over the bed. Before we go to bed, we will make our way to a sea food place down at the harbour and hope that our stomachs won’t mind. Tomorrow, we are heading out to sea for some fishing and swimming.