lets just go ahead and get this out of the way:
whilst in lamu, i totally acquired a lime-juice addiction and could probably give you the most intense critique regarding where the best sweet/tart/frothy juice could be found, for what price, and how many they are willing to sell you in one sitting. my addiction was so intense that on our last afternoon in lamu i ordered two at lunch so i could put one in my water bottle (shout out to ew for the awesome purple stainless bottle, she carried the juice very well 🙂 )for the plane ride back to nairobi.
from that statement you may think that i spent a lot of my time on lamu seeking out and drinking lime juice while lounging in various little open air sea-side restaurants. and you would, in fact, be pretty correct in that assumption. however, i DID do other things. which i will now tell you about:
i got a
said sunburn was acquired during a day of boating and snorkeling. YES i wore sunscreen, but my poor legs and back hadn’t seen the sun in quite this way in literally years so i think they kind of freaked out a bit. the boating and snorkeling was all one trip–out little group of ladies booked a dhow (traditional swahili boat) for half a day. we left the house around 9:00 in the morning, sailed/motored out to the reef where we were equipped with goggles and snorkels and set loose with a vague warning to not touch the anemones. this warning was only given once, quietly by one of the “captains” of the boat (he goes by captain dolphin… the other “captain” was captain promise. captain promise’s brother, our cook, went by coconut. they were an interesting group of guys…).
all that to say, one of the members of our group, e, didn’t really hear this warning clearly. no, she didn’t touch an anemone. (ptl) but when a few of us were taking a break and resting on the coral, she asked what the “scary spiky black things that look like they are staring at you with shiny eyes” were. “don’t touch them!” was the first thing housemate said. then we told her that those were the anemones, and that they sting. conclusion: nature did a great job making the dangerous thing look dangerous. she is our mother, after all.
when we paddled our way back to the boat, we discovered that lunch had been prepared (on the boat!). the food was amazing… coconut rice (i’ll never eat plain old boring rice happily again, i don’t think) fish, veg and fresh fruit…delight!
we all seriously about ate ourselves silly the whole week on lamu, and i mean, with amazing fish and prawns (and lobster), biriani and all things coconut how could one not eat eat eat eat?! one of my favorite purchases in the souvenir realm this trip was my swahili cookbook. while i have yet to attempt to make anything from said cookbook, i’m really excited to try. nearly everything has coconut in it, or is laden with amazing spices and possibility. i’ll keep you posted on that.
okay, so we did try to make SOMETHING from the swahili cookbook (maybe all five of us bought one? yes, i think so…). we wanted to make coconut bread–so housemate bought coconuts at the market and brought them home. she met margaret, the woman who keeps the house we rented, who asked “do you know how to prepare those?” housemate hesitated so margaret said, “i will call the neighbors. they will come.”
so two of the neighbor ladies came with their coconut scraper thingy and helped us crack the coconuts, scrape out the meat, and then “juice” it for coconut milk. of course we all wanted to try to scrape the coconut for ourselves–much to the mixed amusement and chagrin of our new friends. i caught on quickly and think i will be going coconut-pro soon.
oh, other things we did… we saw donkeys! donkeys are THE mode of transportation, besides ones feet, around the island. donkeys wander on their own, they carry people and things and generally are just adorable. there is even a donkey sanctuary on the island. three of us went to visit one afternoon–it was bath time! i was too busy trying to make friends with the baby donkeys to actually take any photos of the sanctuary–but i did snap a few of some of the island donkeys.
i felt zero guilt at sleeping in nearly every morning. the “bed room” i chose was on the very top of the house, technically, i suppose, the roof! it was an open area with a traditional(ish) swahili bed and mozzie net. there was a nice breeze (sometimes). it was the best possible way to sleep out side, in my opinion.
i would highly suggest lamu as a vacation destination, and the lamu island villa as a place to stay.
if i ever do decide to write a novel of some ilk, i think this is a place i could write. so, know that.
and besides, i’d have access to all the lime juice i could possible drink!