Sunday, March 10th, 2002

Kenya's Coast along the Indian Ocean

The coast was beautiful - an amazing place to learn to scuba dive!

We flew into Mombassa on the east coast of Africa a couple days ago because the drive would've been 14 hours along a dangerous road. It was a fairly short flight but the security was pretty much absent, which I guess was alright cause it was only our group on the plane. Firstly our program called to confirm our flight and apparently none of us were booked so they had to create a whole other flight for us 2 hours earlier, so that was a bit of a mad dash... we got there and didn't even have to go through any metal detectors or anything, just walked right onto the plane. Secondly, My friend Mary walked on with Masaii spears in her carry-on! Crazy! I thought that was kinda nuts seeing as on regular flights you can't even take a pair of tweezers with you and she walked on with big spears! To make matters worse, as we were taking off we looked out the window only to see a very black, charred, and smashed up plane on the side of the runway that had clearly been in a bad firey accident. … great! The strangeness didn’t stop on the plane… during our decent an announcement came on telling us not to worry about the white mist/smoke coming into the plane…umm ok. One of our friends who was sleeping during this announcement, woke up a little while later and was very startled as to what was happening. It was pretty funny watching her reaction! Then again, I think I would’ve freaked out too. Apparently it has something to do with the humidity or something.

We're staying in Kilifi right now on the shores of the Kilifi creek, which is l km away from the Indian Ocean. It's so pretty. But very hot… the humidity on the coast makes the heat much worse! But at least we’re right on the ocean so we can go for a swim anytime. We’re staying at the Seahorse Hotel in Banda’s this time, no more camping. I'm kinda sad to see our tents go though, I almost like them better. Although I’ve never been to Hawaii I feel like that's where I am because of the thatched roof huts we're staying in, the geckos climbing on the walls, and the palm trees in the area. But I guess it is a tropical area... There are Vervet monkeys on the ground, I saw a couple in the trees yesterday! Yay!! :) There are so many cats and kittens (2.5 months old) around the hotel too, it's awesome! apparently the vervet monkeys will attack them at times though which isn't great. There’s a really old one that has been in many fights with the vervets so has a somewhat kinked tail and her teeth are a bit chipped ...


This hotel is super nice, I’ve never stayed anywhere so nice! So luxurious! It's weird sitting at tables to eat especially with three different forks and knives to choose from at all meals! It’s also strange having a shower and flush toilet in your room, towel and sheet cleaning/changing, not to mention sleeping in beds with air conditioning! We can use any non-motorized water stuff for free which is awesome! The kayaks are a little hard to control though cause there's no rudder and the current pushes you ... it's still fun though :) We also took a paddleboat out one day which was pretty fun. There was a couple shipwrecks off the shore near our hotel which were neat to see.


Had a bit of a scare our first night here. There was a huge spider in our Banda! We thought it was a scorpion at first! I’ve never screamed like such a girl before, it was really embarrassing actually. All 3 of us were on our beds trying to kill it. I tried to get it out from under the bed at one point with a newspaper when we thought it was dead and it ran towards me and Jenn. Jenn pushed me trying to get away from it. It definitely woke us up (it was 11:30pm). Maybe you just had to be there but it definitely got the blood going ...


We were incredibly busy on the coast (at least the first couple weeks), definitely the busiest that I’ve been here, well school-wise anyways... there are half-day fieldtrips for one of my classes everyday, and over the next two days I have 2 exams and 3 essays (which all have to be handwritten and neat!), plus diving classes and pool-sessions… and I guess I have to sleep or eat sometime in there.... so yeah, not much time for sleep. But that's ok cause Jenn and I are loading up on coffee and tea at dinner.


At the hotel there is evening entertainment most nights. One night there were Masaii dancers. They're dancing is probably my favorite. They ended up pulling Jenn and I as well as everyone else watching up and we got to try it with them. They gave us shields and knives to hold and put beaded necklaces around our necks. It was actually a lot harder than they make it look! But it was a lot of fun to try. Another night there was a reptile/snake show. They brought everything from a chameleon, monitor lizard, harmless snakes, and highly venomous snakes. Kasoi, one of our staff members who is Masaii came to watch the show even though in their culture they are all terrified of snakes. He bolted out of his chair and ran when they brought the monitor lizard out. Hehehe Poor guy. The most dangerous one they showed us was the green momba which can kill you in the span of an hour or two if it bites you. Jenn and I had just seen one earlier slithering across the walkway down to the dock…  we both halted in our path and the local guys nearby basically jumped up high into a nearby tree, then noticing we were approaching casually got down and pretended it was nothing and that snake was not deadly and quickly went onto marriage proposals. hehehe


Apparently getting hit by a coconut is the third most common reason for tourist death (following car accidents and drowning). That’s a little bit worrisome seeing as coconuts keep falling off the palm trees. Two fell pretty close to me yesterday. It’s quite scary hearing that loud thud of a coconut hitting the hard ground about 10 feet away from where you were just walking a minute earlier. So far it's been alright and a guy does climb all the palm trees once a week to take all the loose coconuts down...


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