October 2011. Tsavo West, Kenya.
- Pole Pole way of life. Pronounced Poe-lay, this Swahili term means “slowly, gently” or “little by little, bit by bit”. Living in Dallas I feel like I’m always rushing around from one thing to the next, impatient to get on with my busy life. In Kenya, you will not get far in this manner - life slows down but still gets done.
- Speaking of Swahili, I love the language. It was easy to pick up on words here and there and has a natural flow to it that doesn’t sound harsh or abrasive as some languages can.
- Coconuts! You can buy them anywhere and everywhere off the streets.
- Warm Milk - You will never be served cold milk with your coffee: cafe au lait with every breakfast I ate.
- Game reserves - The preservation of wildlife and the unique experience of visiting their habitat is unforgettable. I must get back to see the Maasai Mara….
- Drinks: Tusker - The beer of Kenya made from the Sausage Tree or Kigelia (yes, this tree really grows what appears to be sausages but is actually a fruit). Stony - A hard core ginger ale. Krest with Lemon - lemon flavored tonic water.
- The ornately beaded ornamentation of the Maasai people.
- Color: Red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, white, crisp, clean, warm and refreshing.
- Swahili cuisine: a lot of spices, curry, coconut and game. Not to mention the freshly caught fish from the Indian Ocean.
- Ahhh… the ocean. So bright, so blue… and everything that comes with it: beaches, cocktails, camels, catamarans…
- Bougainvilleas: bushes upon bushes of every color possible in Tsavo.
- Waking up to the Call to Prayer.
- The exquisite balance of African, Arab and European architecture in Old Town.
- The possibility of creatures coming into your room - it only adds to the adventure! I had a baboon come and rifle through my backpack while brushing my teeth. He got off with my beef jerky, sunglasses and bubble gum. I later discovered I was also missing my travel neck pillow and am 98% certain the little thief got away with this as well.
- Hakuna Matata - No worries. Truly.
— Wilson Kipketer (Kenyan Olympic Runner (800m), b. 1972)
November 4th, 2011. Old Town Mombasa, Kenya. Dried leaves hanging delicately over an ornately carved door. Does anyone know the significance of this?
One of the first things that struck me about Kenya: COLOR! It is bright. It is vibrant. And it gives respite from the evident poverty while reflecting a warmth in the people.
A small video I shot of crossing the street in Mombasa and hailing a matatu. The matatus are the vans that you see everywhere - next to the tuk tuk, this is the main form of public transportation in Kenya. It works mostly like a typical bus service or Super Shuttle would in the US: serving a particular area within the city and making several stops to the different drop-off points. It’s hot, sticky and crowded but cheap!
November 4th, 2011. Mombasa, Kenya. Being Kenya’s second largest city and one that is accessible by water, the name Mombasa means Island of War as its history is rife with invasions and bloody battles. It is hard to imagine the turmoil and cannons firing in light of this beautiful sunset over the waters of the Indian Ocean.
In the 1960’s, Kenya found a new musical influence in rumba, sukuma & kwela. The most popular? The Equator Sound Band. Have a listen… no doubt you will be nodding your head in time and maybe doing a little seat dance like I am.