Welcome to Paradise; Lamu, Kenya

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We take a 16-24 passenger plane to the coast of Kenya, Lamu Island. It’s about a 2-hour flight (13 hours by car). Get picked up by boat from the Manda Island airstrip to go to Lamu Island. Our guide had sent some of the locals to us at baggage pickup to help us with our bags. Didn’t carry a thing during our entire time on the coast. “Welcome to Paradise” many of the locals would say and of course “Karibu” and “Jambo” from the children.

Our second day we take to Lamu Town. A real treat to watch everyone celebrating with drumming, singing and dancing. They are celebrating Issa Timamy’s reinstatement as Lamu Governor.

Check out Whispers Cafe for coffee and juice as it’s in all the travel books. Take in some shopping to gear up on more beach attire and gifts. Sought after a few unique jewelry pieces and bags at Magik Grace. Take a walk through the Farmer’s Market and take a peek into the fish market as well.

Spend a morning with the kids at New Life Home Trust. It’s the last day of the school year so we are joining them for the graduation ceremony. Mothers joined and sat on the floor. The program included several performances from the children. Welcome songs, poems, traditional Lamu and Kenyan celebratory songs. One song was of a political nature encouraging their parents to send them to school putting great emphasis on their education. The children went around the room stating what they wanted to be when they grow up. Then there were some fun, light-hearted skits, like “The Nairobian’s.” Some of the girls dressed up as models working the runway like women would in a Nairobi Fashion Show. They girls had such confidence as they worked that runway.

Enjoy a meal at a locally owned place. I ordered a whole grilled snapper with coconut rice for 500 Shillings or about $6 USD. Our dishes were served with a side of this amazing red garlic sauce. This restaurant was a great people watching spot. There were drummers drumming nearby, singing and dancing and locals joined as they were walking by.

On another trip to Lamu Town one evening, we check out Petley’s Rooftop Bar and enjoy Shisha (hookah) with a Dawa cocktail, Kenya’s national drink. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Four Roses Bourbon and excited to buy a round for my new local friends as it was a little bit of my home I could share with them. Everyone here had been so generous in sharing their home with me.

Make a pit stop in Lamu Town before heading out to stock up on alcohol, one of the few places to purchase alcohol. We walk through a Muslim cemetery to get there. The gravestones in arabic. Afterwards, visit the Floating Bar before heading back to our place. Enjoy a couple of scotch pours and plug-in our phones, taking turns at being DJ. Enjoy the sun with our feet dipped into the ocean. Afya (Cheers)!

On one of our trips to Shela Beach from Lamu Town, we join a dhow full of the bridal party for a wedding later that day. And of course, everyone is invited.


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