Nothing is ever as it seems

I arrived in Mombasa worn out but happy to be here. I met Daniel and his friend Issa, hoped in the shower and went off in a Landrover to have a yummy indian fusion dinner. Not too fancy, in a westernized shopping mall. Daniel says it’s one of the few places muzungos go/hang out.

I awoke eary and was excited for  4 days out in Kayafungo-the bush- where he’s a project coordinator for a water pipeline amongst the several villages (no, there not in tribal ware, typical clothing you’d expect to see on someone in town or big city). Their very happy for him to be there as their water access is limited and in the drier months they have to walk further and find alternatives to their normal water source. The project is a good one and Daniel has done is research. A necessity when doing any type of work in Africa. He’ll have to create a map of all the villages using GPS, gather data on how much water is used, how many people live in each village, install pipeline etc. He’ll be living out in the bush for a while. I don’t think I would want to it.

Nothing is ever as it appears when you’re in Africa. Plans change constantly. He had forgotten his GPS behind, which meant we had to come back to MOmbasa. He had hoped his land rover would finally be fixed after 3 weeks in the shop and too much money invested into the darn thing. Turns out the mechanic was a crook- he knew it but his friend, Issa, insisted it was ok. He thought it best I have a new plan since nothing is certain and he has to get a lot of work done. Everything goes all too slowly here. I was disappointed as only spent one day in the bush but I realize their must be a reason it didn’t work out. Everything seemed so great- stay out in the bush for 4 days, chill in Mombasa, show me around and a nice big bbq. They were already talking about buying a goat… to bbq. Apparently a better and safer plan is in my path.  But it wasn’t meant to be. Let go. Relax. take a deep breath. enjoy.

It was my worst day by far… simply because I had assumed that I would get to enjoy the bush for 4 days-it was beautiful and so peaceful and everything eles I mentioned above. NOt much to do but relax and take it all in. I had to create a new plan. No one else is going to figure anything out for me. It’s all on my plate. The process of where I’ll go begins again. Sounds like no big deal but it can get to you and be a tiring process.  When people think traveling is like a vacation they truly have no idea of all the little details that are involved, which  can make you go crazy on some days!

By the next day I was feeling better. Errands needed to be taking care of and I attempted to check in early at a nearby guest house. I ended up meeting a woman from Holland while eating breakfast, she told me their was a better guest house nearby and we spent the entire day together. It felt so nice. We’re hanging out again and may plan a safari if we can figure it out on our own. TOurist offices are a joke- at least in bigger cities. I feel no one can be trusted as their all looking to make as many dollars as possible from you. Thank goodness I have my guidebook. It’s a good traveling friend and a necessity!

Mombasa is much nicer than Dar and I haven’t seen or been harassed by many touts as their were in Dar. It could also be that I was new and they spot fresh travelers like a lion smells a weak Zebra. There isn’t so much to see but I’m taking it easy for a while. WHat’s the rush to be on the go go go.

The coast has a lot of Arab influence and thus, there are a lot of men and woman dressed in traditional Muslim clothing. At times, it feels so strange as I wouldn’t expect it in Kenya. HIstory I was unaware of- the trading and control from Oman and elsewhere. Slaves were not only brought to Europe and USA, but also to India and the Middle East. Apparently, the slave trade ended earlier in Europe and the USA before ending in the other regions.

Men domintate society- at least in public places. Men are the one’s eating in local restaurants, hanging out on the street, paying football, socializing. Meanwhile, most woman are a far cry away-likely tending to the children, food, shopping, cleaning the house. I’m sure it varies according to culture and status in society but by simple observation the men do as they please.

I count my blessings often that I was born in the West simply because of the freedom I have and all the opportunities available to me. All the conveniences are a bonus. Westerner have it all and yet we want more and more… interesting how human nature is.

Oh and while walking in Old Town with Elizabeth someone mentioned they’d buy me for a camel. hahaha… that’s a first!  I’m getting used to the constant, Jambo, Hello, greetings etc.. but some days I can’t be bothered. I just want to be left alone. WHere are you from? England? blah blah… WHy do you care, I ask myself. It’s of no value to you. I see my dad in me… when I’m annoyed with the question, my reply becomes: “I’m from China.”  It gives them some laughs.  I may just say the universe or the earth next time. have some variation!   I don’t think Eygpt would be a place for me to go, at least on my own! I’ve been told it’s a huge challenge for white woman. harrassement is never ending. NO THANKS!

Would love to post more photos but internet connections have been slow. It can drive me to patience. HAHA.

Do any of you know how to reduce photo size within “My pictures” on a PC?  And without having to use a downloadable program!

Flickr takes forever to load with 1MB photo sizes and with a slow internet connection- it’s asking for the computer to crash and me to jump like a monkey. So for now, pictures will be a luxury until I have faster connection or one of you amazing people have answers for me.

One thought on “Nothing is ever as it seems

  1. Hi Chinagirl
    I’m sitting in a hostel in Boston, just met a couchsurfguy that showed me around and went to a blueman group show with him. It totally reminded me of Burning Man!! Same alternative style, loved it.
    I decided not to celebrate thanksgiving with the family, the only reason to do it would be food… Not what I want. I met a guy from my dorm that I didn’t see for 5 years in NY and had 2 GREAT days, wow! I really miss hanging out with him already, cool how some friendships survive time (and distance). I know we have the same between us.
    I can’t help you with your question about the pics, will google and see… cool that you met a dutch woman. I hope you’ll find a nice place to hang out soon, maybe work in a hostel in a more commonly backpacked country? That way you’ll meet more western travellers. That was the idea you had in the back of your head, right?
    Love you, ML

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