19 January 2009

mombasa diary

i returned from mombasa, kenya early last week. now of course, it already seems like a long time ago and it's hard to recapture my thoughts and emotions in writing; this post will be briefer than i originally intended, malish.

temperature: i knew it was going to be hot, but i really didn't expect it to be as bad as it was. not only was it hot and sticky, but the super strong sun also zapped all my energy. i am still amazed that i managed to get so tan (at least five shades darker than my original skin tone) in the first few days, merely from the 15 minute journey from the drop off point to my seat during the waaz. it didn't help that the shed i was seated in had pretty bad ventilation. during power outages i had to meditate my way out of any claustrophobic fits.

people: being my third ashera, i was prepared for the various inanities and bizarreness of bohras from everywhere. i was pleasantly surprised however; the only memorable incidents were a lack of geographic awareness and being totally mystified at eating pumpkin. oh, wait. i heard one too many racist jokes about africans. sigh.

meeting up with friends and family from various places was definitely one of the highlights of this trip- i love you all :)

the adage that travelling and living with people is when you truly know them was quite forcefully brought home to me on this trip. i was staying with persons i've known since i was a kid, and i wasn't expecting any shockers, which took me a good few days to get over!

there were numerous stories of thefts and awful tuk-tuk drivers doing the rounds, but i was lucky enough to not have any first hand experience of this. in fact, i found the average kenyan on the street very helpful and friendly.

faith: before going to mombasa, my faith was riddled with more doubts than i cared for. much as i want to say this is no longer the case, i cannot.

also, for the thousands of people that were there, for the mass practice of religion and rituals, i felt very alone.

safari: the highlight of my one-day safari was definitely a beautiful black-spotted giraffe, whom birds would randomly rest on :)

while others in my car got bored after a few hours, i found myself thinking i could spend a week or so on a safari. i have always liked car/bus/train journeys, and this one had beautiful scenery and animals as well.

beach: moving into a hotel on the beach after ashera was another highlight. i spent a lot of time dozing in the shade of huge palm trees. it was surprisingly windy though, particularly after the stuffiness of the city.


Anonymous said...

Hey Meryam... nicely written and vrey well captured..
as i leave in Africa i m used to the stories of theft and roundoff but i know its hard to adjust when u arent from africa.
The Highlight for me was meeting u guys and i love u too.

Plan a trip to Tanzania and i will be happy to take u to the Our National Parks which i am sure u will enjoy it.

i too have tanned alot

well would have liked to read more.. if u get time to pen it down.

amazingly written


md said...

thanks tasneem, you're so sweet. i would love to visit serengeti!

ZP said...

i am interested when you write about the world's issues, but i love it so much more when you write about yourself :)