Stonetown, Paje and Daladalas!
Trip Start May 31, 2007
107Trip End May 20, 2008
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Stayed in the Malindi district 'near the port' as the ad for the hostel said...translation, across the street from the port and behind a vacant lot where the local 'neighbors' hung out. Luckily, once inside, the place was fantastic with charm and character and an upgrade to a spacious en suite room with an intricately carved Zanzibari style wood bed sealed the deal!
Hired a local guide for a local city tour the following morning and we spent about 3 hours wandering about. Visited the local markets including the fish auction where large ocean fish are being sold and cut apart...blood, fish guts, fins and heads all around. From the looks of it, most of the locals are Muslim...women in beautifully dyed and brightly colored scarves and men with intricately designed hats. Lots of bikes and locals everywhere! Sat and had a drink at a more upscale hotel that used to be a British club with a view of the bright blue ocean then wandered over to the former slave market now a Christian church. Saw where the slaves were kept underground...with no facilities...high tide coming in and sweeping away the mess. How terrifying to be chained in a small room with almost no ventilation in your excrement and waste listening to the ocean come in. I cannot imagine the justifications given or personally accepted that allowed this barbaric trade to exist. People of many races, not just the whites were responsible for the perpetuation of the slave trade. Rival African tribes raiding and selling their captives...as well as the American historical slave tragedy that is more familiar to us...
Checked out of my hostel and took a local daladala which is a small open air bus that picks people up going to a specific destination until its full. I sat in the front wedged in between the driver and one other guy. Pretty fancy considering how cramped it was in the back of the vehicle. We drove across the center of the island to the east coast village and beach of Paje. They dropped me off on a sand road and pointed to the right "down that road" you'll find the Cristal Resort...so I set off not knowing at all if I was headed in the right direction and eventually found the place and got settled in.
Stayed in an 'eco bungalow' a freestanding wooden cabin en suite with fan and no a/c. It was HOT and HUMID and I was miserable for the first few hours then it finally cooled off. Slept under two mosquito nets, the hotels with lots of holes and my own, intact.
Spend a morning visiting the red colobus monkeys in the forest...that was so cool. We also walked through the mangroves and the forest checking out the different vegetation and frogs and crabs and monkeys. We were up close and personal with them as they goofed around and played in the trees. Occasionally dropping next to us and touching and smelling our legs...or climbing along a branch to play with our hair before scampering off to play some more.
Most afternoons, I sat in the bar with a view of the clear blue water and bright white powdery sand of the beach sipping a glass of fresh passion fruit juice...contemplating the minutia of life.