Thursday, April 11, 2013

kiwayu dreaming...

i still can't quite believe that i am on holidays. i keep waking up and thinking, christ, got to get to school. and then that blissful feeling of, ah, yes, holidays...and i lie back and snuggle deep into the covers and listen to the rain on the roof, watching the mist swirl past the attic window and feel good. so good. it's these small moments in life, when you add them up, that surmount bigger problems. that keep your ship sailing true.
and friends. good friends. who love you and think you are brave and graceful and funny. who still believe in you and restore a certain sense of self.

i am just back from a wild hootenanny up north with all my besties, with some of my most favourite people in the world. i went up to lamu, a little island off the northern kenyan coast.

i stayed with one of my oldest friends in the world, from the good old bad old zambian days. she put me up here:

i felt like a princess.

you are lulled awake at dawn, with the gurgle of a boat starting, the silky heavy slurp of the little manda channel tide against the shore. lines between dream and reality are smudged.

it was insanely hot. there was nothing to do but sleep away the midday and afternoon heat.

 in the cool of twilight, we sat on the old Peponi veranda, drinking dawas (one of the finest drinks this side of the Somal border). lime. honey. vodka. two of these and you're right as rain. we'd stumble back home through the romantic narrow alley ways, breathing in fragments of jasmine and old times, swim naked under the stars and slept like drugged  babies under whirring fans. (normal babies don't sleep, remember?) we walked up the lamu beach, past the fort house. jemima showed me where the tides uncovered an ancient, ruined village last year, but now the sand has covered it up again.

early one morning, we took a speed boat up north to Kiwayu, a little island 30 kms down from the Somalian border.

lots of people are scared to travel up there because of the pirates. i think there is still a travel ban for the region...? which is sad for people trying to make a living up there....and for the isolated communities who rely on tourism. we met some fisher folk who said they hadn't see a somal in a year and a half. these shores are wild and desolate and beautiful. mike's camp nestles between the sea and a maze of mangroves.

( )

 it's idyllic and far from any maddening crowd, miles from your troubles. it's a new world. with its own secrets.


we boated up to milz's camp, which suffered the tragedy of a pirate kidnapping two years ago. it was sad to see the camp derelict and struggling along such sparkling beaches and shores. but the pelizzolis are a tough kenyan family, coming from a long history of explorers and adventurers and they will not give up. the camp will start again, perhaps smaller, but probably even better than ever before.

after a of lunch of freshly caught king fish (caught by luca, aged 12, a passionate and dedicated fisherman)

... grilled with ginger and chili and coconut sauce, milz said, "let's go look for turtles." i've never seen a turtle in the wild. we sailed across the bay and spotted FIVE! the joy of seeing a large plated back emerge through the emerald blue water, an old reptilian head surface for breath, then torpedo down for safety, was indescribable and novel and made me feel humble and extremely fortunate. we swam for hours in perfect waves with not a person in sight. we walked for miles up empty beaches, popping blue bottles with our bare feet, delighting in the pop sound.

and, oh besties, i met a wizard. he had no words but i knew he was a wizard. you can tell these things straight off.

...and a puffer fish cat who dealt with the torpid heat in a solid and sensible fashion...

conversations were never dull.we sat under fat monsoon stars, watching russian satellites float slowly by the pleiades. we swopped tales and laughed until our faces hurt. one night, we heard a boat. i felt a little scared and tried to remember where i had left my flip flops, in case i had to run into the dunes to hide. but dreams were stronger and far more seductive.  and the morning arrived anyway as it is wont to do, pirates or no pirates.

and now i am back on the rainy little green hill. home. living rather like a hermit but i am happy to be here. the boy is studying for his exams, albeit reluctantly, and i am watching the trees grow and listening to the grass. the rain makes me feel alive. wild flowers unfurl in the green among scatterlings of mushrooms. the girl is in zanzibar, so i must look for fairies alone. great storms sweep across the maasai steppes and the karongas gush brown and furious down from the monduli mountains. it is too wet to ride, so the horses run free and fat and wild in the green.

my heart is full, with dreams and seas and hills and skies and all is well.

toodely toot y'all. bisous X.X.X. wild pirate ones, on yer lips, gold earrings and everything. x j