07 April 2016 – I went into town with Krista to buy some necessities, get money, and to buy booze and kikois. A kikoi is, according to Google, “a distinctive East African striped cloth with an end fringe”. The bottle of whisky I bought at Kioko Enterprises was 930.00 KSH or approximately $9.30 USD. This same bottle of cheap but passable whisky costs $50 SGD in Singapore. The five-litre box of wine that I bought as my contribution to the Neem House festivities, cost 2,200 KSH and the grand total of 3,130 KSH included 431.72 KSH in tax.
The coast feels like a different country with Arab and European influence obvious everywhere. Neem House was designed by Bunny Allen and built for Krista’s mother and stepfather. She spent school holidays there and Malindi continues to be one of her favourite places.
The downside of Malindi, in my opinion, is the beggars. Some of them, like the guy with a stump where his left hand used to be, offer strings of beads etc.,(which I bought) but others, like the blind man with a boy who guides him or the girl who cannot speak, are just begging. Some will wash your vehicle without asking and then expect to be paid for their efforts. I know this makes me sound hard-hearted but like the panhandlers in Vancouver, the relentless requests for one’s generosity can be taxing.
After shopping, Krista dropped me at Silversand where I had a shower and changed my clothes. I was waiting for a tuk-tuk to pick me up when Krista pulled up to collect me. At Neem House, we had a dinner of red snapper with vegetables and salad. I felt totally spoiled.
My safari ended with Tom driving me back to Nairobi. In the lobby of the 67 Airport Hotel, he handed me his phone so that I could talk to George. I was feeling a little bit sad but I was also really looking forward to going to Malindi.
On the 7th of April 2016, I wrote in my journal “I have had THE MOST AMAZING DAY!!! I began by misreading my flight confirmation so I thought the arrival time was the departure time. Fortunately, the young man who was my driver did an excellent job of getting me to the airport. When I noticed my error I got a little panicky because I was afraid I would miss my flight, but I didn’t. It is a very short hop of approximately forty minutes from Nairobi to Malindi.”
When I arrived at MYD, I saw Krista standing just outside the door of the little arrivals area. She was waiting to pick up her son, Jazper, who was flying in from London. At first, I thought I should hide because it was supposed to be a surprise but where was I going to hide? There was much hugging etc. I was able to meet Jazper and Ella, as well as get a lift into town.
I had originally planned to spend the day hanging out at the pool of the Silversand Residences and writing in my journal. Instead, I got to meet some of the people who were staying at Neem House, the venue for Krista’s birthday party.
Day 6 – I awoke on the 6th of April 2016 to my lovely room being filled with crickets – large, African crickets. There had been one in the shower when I woke yesterday and I had dispatched it with a spoon but today there were at least twenty! My laundry had not been delivered so I decided to wear the same clothes as yesterday, and shower and change after returning from the early morning game drive in the park. On my way out I stopped at the reception desk and asked that someone go to my room and sweep up the crickets while I was out. I would have done it myself but there wasn’t a broom in my room. Jackline was extremely apologetic and said that it was because it was the rainy season.
From my journal for Day 5 (5 April 2016) “I have noticed that Kenyans greet you by asking ‘How are you?” After a very satisfactory breakfast, we went to Amboseli National Park. At the gate, I traded two clean T-shirts for a copper bracelet.”
“The ecosystem here is very different from both the Masai Mara (savannah) and Nakuru (lakeland forest). It is a swampy desert. We saw three lone hyenas (I have been told that the males are solitary, the females and pups were in a den somewhere), and we saw herds of elephants. Pretty birds came to share our lunch, and now I am sitting at the pool bar watching the doves come for a drink from the swimming pool.”
” I have had a lovely chat with Phillip the bartender. He is Masai and he didn’t get to go to school but he learned English from his older brother who did. His father had four wives and many children. Phillip wasn’t able to attend school because his parents died and he had to support himself. He has two sons and they are in school because Phillip believes that education is important. He told me that Masai boys begin herding goats and sheep at ten years of age and graduate to cattle at fourteen. He has four cows, ten goats, and one wife, who looks after the cows and goats while he works and his sons go to school. Phillip told me that you can’t eat a big house or a car. He seems to have found the perfect balance between Masai tradition and contemporary values.”