So, in a nutshell – or was it a Boeing 737 – I have come to Kenya to kite/work/ live for 2 months. I’d never been here before, found the village, Watamu, online while researching perfect kite spots for this time of year, and booked myself a banda (a kind of basic cabin/ chalet with thatched roof and open-work walls, a kitchen and lots of veranda space all around) by the beach. From Mombasa airport, the taxi drove about 3 hours northward, from the sprawling Mombasa cityscape through green, green rolling hills and tree giants (such a relief after the arid deserts of Ethiopia surrounding Addis Ababa – the lay-over on the flight – nothing but yellow dust as far as the eye could see) to Watamu village which I caught a brief glimpse of before being dropped on the grounds of Watamu Beach Cottages, which I haven’t left since arriving 5 days ago. Except, if that counts, by kite board and kite out onto the ocean. Which is a lot choppier than I expected… But that’s another story, one involving tides and thermals and Italians. I think.
I think soon enough I will have to leave to hit a supermarket (so far, I’ve been living off the fruit & veg man who comes by twice a week, so I’ve been surviving on a total health-freak’s diet, balanced by a gallon of Kenyan coffee a day, thick and acrid as tar oil, which Stanley, the cook, keeps dropping by on my porch… And which I, obligingly, drink, and as a result haven’t slept more than 2 or 3 hours a night, which has been a good thing lately because I needed the remainder of the night to learn how to run a blog. True. But a steep learning curve, as you can see.
Aside from myself, there is another Viennese woman with her partner, both of whom kite instructors, very handy, and, handier still, Tanya, the woman has just trained as a yoga instructor and asked me if I would be willing to have a lesson with her so she can practice teaching in German (she trained in English). Naturally, I oblige.
And then 3 more kiting couples, German and Norwegian, all super lovely and great to share gear, launching & landing and kiting tales with!
And that’s the story so far!
Watamu Beach Houses
This is low tide, when the Italians come out. The wading kind, who live ‘next door’ [like half a mile down the beach] at a largely Italian, I assume, resort.
And these are my absolute favourites: They come out last thing, after the Italians, and they make me laugh like little Commedia clowns. But confusingly, even though they look exactly like miniature monitors with two stick-on eye-sticks on top, they are in fact ghost crabs, not monitor crabs. Ocypode ryderi, what do you know.