Nairobi was surprising. Cool and breezy, clean, tidy and very cosmopolitan. Cafés on every corner, good local transport and shopping centres nearby for all our shopping needs. We took the usual precautions for any big city. All jewellery off, carried little money and walked with purpose. Speaking of which, Kenyans, unlike their Ugandan counterparts, also walk with purpose. Kenyans look as if they are going somewhere. Ugandans seem to do it in a perpendicular semi-comatosed state pointing only with their eyes and lips devoid of any gusto or vigour. Maybe its the matooke!
Happily, “Nairobbery” hadn’t lived up to its reputation during our stay and we had booked tickets on the train to Mombasa in the meantime. I couldn’t wait – my first night train.

We boarded the train at 7p.m. Instantly we met a couple from that other American colony, Canada. We got our first class cabins sorted out and we were promptly called for dinner in the dining carriage soon after departure. All four of us sat together, ate, drank Tuskers and the odd vodka – ahem! Soon enough it was back to the cabin for a DVD and sleep. We got little sleep as the gentle rocking I expected were more thunderous jolts. The next morning, a bit ropey from the lack of sleep and the Tuskers, we ate breakfast watching Tsavo National Park pass by.

17 hours on the train and we were in Mombasa. Amid the stifling heat and humidity, Molly was struggling. Both of us our clothes stuck to us constantly. Ali, from Camara, took me down to the hub and I told them that I’d return on the Monday because we were going to Tiwi Beach for the weekend. I’m not going to harp on about just another beach lined with coconut palms, crystal clear waters, white sands and Swahili food…so, just picture it. Then when you have….it’s ten times better! Ha!

Typical Old Mombasa Town Architecture

Typical Old Mombasa Town Architecture

On the Monday morning both of us back to Camara in Mombasa, Molly helping with the accounts system and I, teaching and helping out with the tech stuff. It was very enjoyable to meet the guys there. All very enthusiastic and a good laugh to be around. Ali especially. He has mastered the fine art of the Dublin and Moore Street accents and likes to practice when there is an Irish ear listening.

Lamu is a staunchly Islamic but beautiful island 500 kilometres up the coast towards Somalia. Off we went on our Tahmeed bus early doors on the Sunday morn. 6 hours later we were there. Armed police (for Somali bandits) leaving us at the ferry to the island. The next morning were were off to explore the island. Its car-less streets dominated by donkeys we wandered along the main drag which is centred around the harbour. A good 45 minute walk after that is the 12 kilometre Shella Beach. Just more gloriously white sands and azure blue sea. Enough said. We spent the day there swimming, snoozing and waffling with a Masai Warrior about the merits of teaching Elephants Swahili and or English. We both laughed at the craziness of it but saw the merits in it. A nice chappie. Since childhood I’ve always wanted to stand beside a Masai and have a waffle. (I was taller!) The boxes are fast becoming ticked…

My Masai Friend on the Beach

My Masai Friend on the Beach

Lamu Dhow

Lamu Dhow

muni

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