Thursday, July 26 - Saturday, July 28:
While I will come back to Monday-Wednesday later, here is the last blog I will write before going back to the States. The rest will be updates as soon as I get a chance when I get back.
Mombasa! Pirates Beach! Camel Rides!
It has been said that through enduring the journey, the destination is made even sweeter. Well, that was the case with us after driving through the night on Africa's version of a charter bus, accompanied by a flat tire in the middle of the night, only to arrive at one of the most fun and beautiful destinations of our trip - the Indian Ocean!
We arrived around 6:00am to our beach side "resort," actually a guest house called Maristellas fro the Catholic Order that Father Kizito and Shallom House are connected to. Upon arrival we walked up and down the beach while the sun was rising over the ocean, this to pass time while our rooms were being made (another couple was leaving the same morning we arrived). After getting back to our house the five of us students took a nap (4-6 hours long) while the other four went into the city to buy tickets for the return bus ride and to visit Fort Jesus, a historic Fort connected with the Turks and Portuguese that is in the shape of Jesus.
Those who went into the city said (adding to what we noticed coming into town that morning) that Mombasa is much different from Nairobi, having a large Muslim population making it much more diverse than the very Christians Nairobi. Then after I woke up around 2 in the afternoon, our group got a small lunch (cereal with milk! and PB&J!) and then took a cab a few miles down the road to the public beach - Pirates Cove!
The beach was great. Getting there during high tide, we were able to swim in the cool but manageable water and soak up the 70 degree sun (we looked and saw that it is going to be in the 90s in Chicago - but for us 70 was warm). This felt great after being in the cooler "winter" of Nairobi where there is only an hour or two of sun every day and it would often get into the 50s in the morning and at night. We were also able to take a camel ride for $1.50 (100 shillings) and a glass bottom boat/snorkeling tour for $3.00! The camel ride was sweet and though I only saw the tail of a small fish while snorkeling (much different from my last snorkeling experience in the Bahamas), This Is Africa, and besides, we were able to sit on the top of the boat which was great. The other negatives were that I got a huge headache from swallowing 3 gulps of salt water (bad snorkeling equipment) and Amy (a girl from our group) got a decent size cut on her leg from the coral. After the boat ride we just hung out on the beach, throwing the Frisbee around, drinking Coke and Fanta, and eating chips and ice cream. It was cool too when the tide went down and the water line went way down, making the beach much larger.
After the beach we took a Mutatu back to the guest house (the Mutatu, a 15 passenger van, was what seemed to be "pimp my ride Kenya," as it had purple lights flashing at our feet and sweet interior seating and padding on the walls and roof) to get dinner. The two house caretakers made us dinner- fish and delicious spaghetti, and we had bought and made guacamole and bought ice cream for a desert. Then for the best part of the day - worship! Sitting in a circle on our deck overlooking the ocean, we sang nearly every song in our song book (containing 28 songs) and finished by doing a popcorn prayer with the waves crashing in the background. God was truly present in our worship.
The next morning we all woke up early to catch the sunrise for the second morning in a row and then packed/ate breakfast/showered before getting into cabs that took us to the bus stop. The bus ride back seemed much longer and bumpier than the way there, probably because most of us did not sleep much on the way back to Nairobi. On returning to Nairobi around 7:00pm, we had dinner and then went to bed early so to rise early the next day for church.