R and R in Kalife
opps---slight change in the next blog. Bear with me, I will try and tell you about my heart opening experience next time.
This time I want to tell you about going to the Beach. As much as we loved our time in The Mara, it got cold there at night (yes, really!) so some time to be a beach bum in the Kenyan sun was appealing. We choose the small town of Kalife, just north of Mombasa. There are lots of Kenyan beach resorts but this one sounded not so crowded and also had the advantage of being on a river as well as the ocean.
Does a mud hut with a high thatched roof, big bed with mosquito netting and a good restaurant sound appealing to you? Then, check out our home for 5 days:
Three really amazing things happened to us in our time there. First, a day sail with some crazy Rasta guys in a traditional wooden dhow sailing boat.
(BTW, these guys love to give themselves "cool" names, so one guy called himself BlackMan and another Moses.)
The second delightful adventure involved being invited for dinner in a local village by a staff member at the hostel where we were staying. His wife runs a private elementary school (the govt schools are considered the last resort). Whatever idea you have of "private school" toss that idea out the window. It was overcrowded and chaotic, but nevertheless the children welcomed us with open arms and singing voices. We responded by teaching them the hokey-pokey, so they now know what its all about.
The third amazing thing that happened to us was a walk through a local near by village, with one of the men who lived there. Sure enough, as soon as we appeared, we were surrounded by all the village kids, who are so eager for something different to do that hanging around foreigners-without-a-clue was fun for them, as for us. Here are a few shots from that adventure:
This village is known for its huge sacred baobab tree. First, we asked permission from an ancient elder. We were told to take off our shoes and approach it reverently. The local people bring bottles of rose scented water, which they spread around the tree, encouraging benevolent spirits to come. The tree is so huge that it's impossible to take a picture of its entirety---so when you see the picture, double that in your mind's eye.
It's true..there is something really special about these trees. The Little Prince agrees, of course.
Just before we left the village we came upon a group of women making ugali, a maize-based dough that is Kenya's staple food. It is essentially tasteless but it fills your stomach which is important here. There had been a death in the village and the entire village was gathering for 5 days for that, so lots of ugali is made. The funeral service went late into the night, with booming speakers, music and preaching.
Rick and I both loved this slice of country Kenyan life. Everywhere we went, the Kenyans we met were kind and helpful. It's a challenge for us to always stick out so much--(no fly on the wall experience here) , but I think, as a result, we are determined to be cheerful and respectful. So by-and-large, we get that response in return. I completely believe that if you visit a new place expecting good things to happen to you, they usually do!
It's my #1 rule of travel.
I'd love to hear some of your rules of travel---share them with me!
Love and hugs, Phyllis