Wednesday, March 6, 2013

to the coast

Walking down the steps onto the tarmac in Mombasa
We had to allow two hours to get from our house to the Jomo Kenyatta Airport (and we needed it!) only to fly for 45 minutes from Nairobi to Mombasa.  Mombasa is an island city that serves as Kenya's port on the Indian Ocean.  Our destination was about an hour to the South: a tiny little stretch called Galu Beach.  In order to get to the beach from Mombasa we drove around the bustling city center, onto a car ferry (where we were not allowed to take pictures for security reasons)  and through several informal political gatherings.    
fruit cart

talking politics on the streets of mombasa

women carrying babes

Mombasa mural of Kenyan runners

 At last we arrived at the beach.  Our first order of business was to dip our toes into the wonderfully warm Indian Ocean.  The sand here is so fine; the girls described it as "like chalk powder."  About a half mile to a mile off shore there is a  reef that protects this little section of beach.  Because of the reef there are only very small waves and the water is exceptionally warm.  These conditions were ideal for the girls and they loved frolicking in the waves.  If it were not for the pool...they probably would have spent the entire weekend right there in the ocean.  So it went something like this: beach, pool, beach, pool, beach, pool, eat, beach, pool, sleep!

girls in waves with umma

arranging pretty shells
This Sykes monkey kept coming back for treats from Nile...

Maasai warriors/entrepreneurs
Oona hiding in our new Kanga cloth

Oleana at sunrise

tourists heading out at sunrise
Girls with kite surfers in the background on a windy afternoon

This spot on the beach was extra special.  There was a sand bar that extended way out into the water here making a shallow area perfect for playing or just lounging in the warm water.  The water was very clear and you could walk like this, knee deep, for a hundred meters or more!

searching for beautiful shells at low tide- the best beach combing I have ever seen

frolicking in the water with Appa

Ever since Nile sent us a picture of a camel on the beach that he took on one of his first trips to Mombasa (back when we were still in L.A.);  the girls have been looking forward to seeing, and possibly riding one of these beasts.  In order to mount a camel, the camel is asked to sit down in the sand where it carefully folds it's legs under it's huge body.  After you climb aboard, hook your feet tightly into the strappy stirrups and hang on, the camel is encouraged to stand.  This takes quite a bit of coaxing... Finally he raises up on his front feet so that you who are sitting up on top are now holding on dearly trying not fall off the back of the camel.  Then he raises up his back end and you soon realize that you are up so high that there is really no good escape rout that does not involve injury. 

all the girls on the camels
We cannot wait to get back to the coast!  A weekend was not long enough.

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