“Tonight, we eat calamari for sure” Manda Island, Kenya

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We visit Manda Island a couple of times during our time in Lamu. New homes have been built on the island within the past 10 years. Although, no water system. Water is transported from Lamu to Manda in huge barrels. Quite expensive. On our first visit we check out Lamu House Beach Club for lunch and a swim in the ocean. It’s amazing. The mirror replica of Robert Indiana‘s LOVE sculpture catches my attention as I affirm that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Based on what is behind the bar, it seems that Gin is their specialty. I order a Negroni prepared by our bartender for the afternoon, Chai. I enjoyed watching him prepare the drink. Taking a bar towel full of ice, wrapped with his fist and beating it with something like a stick used to muddle lime, sugar and mint for a mojito. We went for a swim in the ocean while our meal was being prepared. We meet a fisherman on the beach who caught some octopus that day. How appropriate as we planned to enjoy grilled calamari for lunch. It was delicious and fresh served with a lovely salad and buttered potato. Simple and wonderfully delicious.

On another lunch trip we visit The Majlis Restaurant for rum cocktails (The Jack Sparrow, Caipirinha and Zombie, yes, Zombie) and grilled pizza and a swim. The place is absolutely beautiful with its tribute to Lamu’s traditional architecture and design. The interior was full of massive sized sculptures, artwork and photographs. Amazing rugs and plenty of low sitting seating areas. No junk, No knickknacks. This place is THE spot for New Year’s Eve, and weddings of course. I made a little joke to the girls that the birds were chirping, “rafiki, rafiki, rafiki.” Three syllables to each chirp. We manage to see the Governor, again! This time with a different group of people including a woman dressed in her traditional abaya and a white baseball cap to protect her from the sun. She seemed to be a politician so I asked the gentleman down the way on the beach and they confirmed. I didn’t catch her name. One of the woman I was with had commented that she didn’t get any assistance down the steps or into the boat. I like that she was treated as more of an equal to the men.

There’s a gentleman in town who own’s a home on the island that is celebrating his 40th birthday. He has about 20-30 of his friends fly in and of course everyone on the island is invited to lunch at his home. Traditional Swahili beef pilau (rice with potato, tomato, cabbage and a great spread of spices) is being served with Tusker brews and a taarab band from Nairobi is providing entertainment. The dish is delicious and can’t wait to try to make it.

The next evening is another part of the celebratory weekend, moving down to Diamond Beach Village. Another beach bar with a cement dance floor. Discover that they make really great oven fired pizza’s as well, but I already ate. Simply relax and dance the night away.


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