A Travellerspoint blog

Overnight Bussing

overcast 18 °C

We spent some time in the sun at our hostel and chatted with Sam, the British guy Josh met yesterday. After about an hour, Sam suggested we take his car to a gelato place a few minutes up the road, and we agreed to join him. The gelato was great, but Bamburi beach was packed with locals and tourists enjoying the Easter weekend. It was really great people watching.

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Once back at the hotel we got organized and texted Kevin for a pickup to head downtown to catch our night bus. I was on edge because it was dark, but as soon as we arrived and dropped off our bags everyone was so friendly and accommodating to us I felt just fine. We asked the security guard where we could get a Tusker, and he walked us to this packed, smoky bar where locals were watching the soccer game. The server could clearly tell I was on edge as we were the only white people in there, and so she danced over to our table and said, "Feel at home! Feel at home!" It was really sweet and I relaxed after that. We had the cheapest Tusker yet and then walked up the street to another little tiny cafe where we had another one of those sweet breads and some Bahjadis, which were like spinach pakoras. The two guys working there were so kind and I was glad to have some food in me before our long bus ride.

Catching the bus is a different story. We bought the VIP seats since they weren't much more than regular and apparently we got more space. I pictured this bus to be like a greyhound since they're massive and these companies are huge. The bus itself wasn't bad I guess, besides being incredibly hot. We were sweating almost the whole way, it was pretty gross. But never mind the bus, the roads here are so terrible and the whole bus squeaks and rattles its way down the streets. I thought for sure this was only for in the city and that once we got on the main highway from Mombasa to Kenya, close to 500km, that it would be smooth. I was so, so wrong. The highway was like the worst logging roads in Canada, but we didn't slow down to take the bumps easy like you would at home, plus the whole bus was rattling and squeaking the whole 8.5 hour drive. I wish I took a video but I was too shocked the whole way to think of it. Every stop we took I said to Josh, this is unreal. We should have taken the train!!

Our two drivers switched off half way and when they weren't driving they were sleeping on this cardboard. The driver also chewed this plant we're seeing everywhere called khad, Josh says it's equivalent to chewing tobacco in Canada.

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We actually did manage to sleep a little, only because we were over tired from travelling. We were almost at the bus station when we got in this crazy traffic jam. I kept wincing watching these massive busses try to get through traffic with all the cars weaving through them, plus pedestrians everywhere. It was INSANE, I don't know how else to describe it. And it was not even 6am yet. We arrived at our stop, still dark out, and we were promptly greeted by taxi drivers coming up the stairwell asking for our business. Actually the one guy just told us he was taking us. We had talked with Quincy back in Mombasa on how much we should pay for a taxi from that area, and of course he offered us double, but it was an easy haggle to get him down to the proper price.

He took us to our B&B where we were able to check in early (thank GOODNESS) and now Josh is asleep while I write this and I'm not far behind. We'll get a good nap in before we head out into crazy Nairobi for the day.

Posted by kvandervegan 21:48 Archived in Kenya Comments (2)

Giraffes and Fort Jesus

sunny 31 °C

We woke up and headed to the cafe close by to use wifi while we had breakfast as our hostel's wifi was down the whole time we were there. I had a fresh pineapple juice, it was delicious.

Next we got a Tuk Tuk to Haller Park, where they have an animal sanctuary. Our driver, Kevin, was really laid back and he took us right to the front gate of the park where we were greeted by a hundred year old tortoise!

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The first thing to do in the park is feed the giraffes! They are massive and they have a face like a dinosaur.

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Next we walked through the rest of the park and we sort of followed a guide group through who talked about the ecosystem and the animals. The whole park used to be a limestone quarry, and when it dried up someone came through and replanted the forest so the space wasn't wasted.

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We saw crocodiles and just the eyes of a hippo. It wasn't feeding time so most of the large animals didn't come out to greet us. We also saw a bunch of snakes and turtles in confined areas, and a TON of monkeys, especially a lot of mamas and their babies.

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After the park we texted our new friend Kevin who took us downtown to the old city of Mombasa where we hired a local guide named Anwar to walk us through the area. It was very interesting and there was a lot of history to learn about, including the relationship between the Indians and the Arabs, and he was always pointing out the artwork of the doors or buildings and whether it was Arab or Indian. The Muslims and Christians all get along in Mombasa, he said.

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Fort Jesus the main attraction was stunning, it's the old fort build by the Portuguese to guard he port of Mombasa.

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We wandered through the narrow lanes of houses and markets and I was really glad we hired a guide; we never would have seen the things we saw without him.

African barbed wire...

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African scaffolding...

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Next he took us RIGHT INSIDE the fish market. The smell was intense and there were dead fish piled on the floor, I cannot believe I kept walking. He walked us to the back to see the view of the port through their windows. It was beautiful but I wanted out!

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We then walked through the streets some more and admired the different buildings and mosques.

And then Anwar took us to the spice market. One of the first spice stalls was so fragrant and the owner was so helpful telling us about the spices. He opened a few and let us taste which meant we had to buy some they were so delicious. We decided on a lemon pepper and an African curry spice. Another vendor came up to us with fresh macadamia nuts in the shell that he let us try, they were so soft and not yet dried out.

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Outside the spice market the vendors were drying their mangos and other things right on the street on cardboard or on plastic bags. It was pretty insane but a young boy let us try one and it was so good we had to buy a small bag.

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Overall the tour was fantastic and Anwar really showed us the good stuff. We texted our trusty Kevin and while we waited for him to come pick us up we found a tiny restaurant serving these sugared breads, I asked about the ingredients and he listed them off, super simple and vegan. I had one and a half and gave half to a street kid on the way out.

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We're headed back to our hostel where we've already checked out but we have time to kill by the pool in the sun. Not a bad day here in Mombasa.

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Posted by kvandervegan 21:24 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Bamburi, Mombasa

overcast 30 °C

Salim, our taxi driver, was early to pick us up, and he was so sweet and friendly the whole drive. We drove through Diani and through all of the little villages on our way to the ferry. On the ferry Salim walked us through our Swahili and tried to teach me new phrases, though I forget everything instantly. I am learning that new languages are not my forte; Josh, having learned Swahili twice before, picks everything up very fast.

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Driving through the villages was eye opening again. So many homes and huts are built out of what seems like scrap material and colourful paint.

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We got into Mombasa and we agreed it was probably best we book our bus ticket to Nairobi before we left the city to get to our hostel in Bamburi. We tried a couple of coach companies with the help of Salim, all of which were full. Finally a local helped us find one that wasn't, and we happily purchased our ticket. On the way out of town the street kids hounded our car for money. They say, "Madame, Madame, please, I have nothing in my stomach, Madame please". It was heartbreaking, but Salim explained that if we give a street child this money he will continue to beg on the streets and never seek better for himself. Just before Salim explained this Josh had rolled down his window and had given one child $1 USD. Well that led to like 6 more kids tapping on our car window in the middle of traffic and a crazy roundabout to continue saying through the glass, "Madame, please, my stomach is empty". We said "Pol-eh sana", which means I'm very sorry.

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We finally reached our destination and our little backpackers hostel is so, so cute. It has a pool, bar, volleyball area, outdoor sports tv area, poker area, and even a rooftop gym. Take a look at the crazy equipment!

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We quickly changed from being in a cab for close to 3 hours and dipped in the pool. Afterward we got back into our clothes and walked up the street to Bob's Bar held in a parking lot. It was mid afternoon so not busy but I could see how the vibe would be late at night. After Bob's we walked to the mall; on route we saw some more goats being herded.

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Once there we ate lunch at a little cafe. I had a carrot juice and a hummus plate that was so, so good.

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Once finished we went to the local store and got some snacks and water for our bus ride. We were stopped once again by a man claiming to know us (they always call Josh their tattooed friend) who wanted us to buy rice for the kids at a school for Easter. What he was asking for was about $30 Canadian worth of rice. We've decided unfortunately that we just cannot donate to every person who stops us (because it's constant) and that we're going to donate to the kids orphanage where Josh used to work as we'll see the money put to immediate use there. This fellow was claiming he'd send us photos, and he probably was legit, but unfortunately you just never know here.

After this we stopped down at the beach by our hostel. The sand was silky smooth but it quickly changed to seaweed and coral at this beach and the weather was getting stormy so we didn't stay long. Made for good photos though.

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Finally we headed back to our hostel where we had a few drinks and pet all of the cats and the dog, named Shots, who live here. I met a solo traveler named Patricia from Argentina, now living in London, who has travelled quite a bit and even just came to Mombasa from Nairobi where she stayed at our same B&B we have booked there. She had lots of tips and tricks about travel and what to do and not to do in Nairobi. Josh chatted with two guys, one from London who lives here now, and one from Germany. Lots of Germans at this hostel.

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After a few more drinks we decided to wander out in the dark to find a small dinner. We found an Italian place and had pizza, and then we wandered back to our place. The back alley we walked was mostly lit, and I was a little tense in the dark spots, but both the security guard and the front desk girl at our hostel assured us it was safe to walk.

We came back and the pool table was open so we played a round of pool. We both SUCK at pool. There we chatted with Edward, a Kenyan who comes here for the weekends sometimes. He works in the back office of a bank, sorting and balancing, sounds like Intria back home. Through our game of pool a guy named Gerald kept correcting our rules, which I appreciated since they were mostly in my favour. He and his friend Quincy were also Kenyans who come here for the weekend as they grew up here and Quincy's family home is the neighbour of the hostel. They are both farmers in Nairobi, and Quincy also goes to school for marketing. They were awesome to talk to; we talked politics, economy, banking (their mortgage rates are around 13%). We talked about Nairobi and Josh's time there. We talked about wedding rituals - the dowry is still a thing here even for a modern, liberal Kenyan. We talked a lot about government and corruption. And we talked about the blatant racist we've witnessed and how the colour of our skin will get us preferential treatment in Africa because it means strong currency.

We talked about Canada and the price of things there versus here. The guys asked us if it was true that in Canada you leave your car doors unlocked in case of a bear attack so you can just jump in and be safe. We said no, and they laughed and said an American had told them that about Canada.

We shut the bar down, although I'm sure the other partiers from the night had just moved on to other clubs. The four of us chatted until almost 1am before we said goodbye and exchanged numbers. Quincy said he'd show us the good spots in Nairobi (the club that Josh raves about is NOT cool anymore hahah) and that he has a plan to find me some vegan Kenyan food.

We slept under a mosquito net for the first time last night. Our hostel has open windows and I had a few bites from being up so late last night. (Fingers crossed for no malaria). It's thundering this morning, and I'm hoping the storm holds off as we have a few things planned for the day before we head out on our overnight but to Nairobi.

Posted by kvandervegan 00:33 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

Ali Barbour's Cave

sunny 30 °C

I had researched this cave restaurant to go for dinner last night, but all that research didn't prepare me for how stunning it was. Mostly candle lit, its an old coral cave turned into a restaurant. So romantic, the photos we took do absolutely no justice. Google "Ali Barbours Cave" and you'll get a better idea.

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The food was phenomenal, Josh's seafood was some of the best he's ever had, and my Moroccan stew over cous cous was so flavourful. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

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Afterwards we texted Hans, our motorcycle driver from yesterday, to come and pick us up, not knowing the free shuttle to the restaurant would have also taken us home. Hans quickly replied, and while waiting for him we chatted with the Maasai warrior who greets the guests as they come to the entrance of the restaurant. He was so interesting and helped us make a decision on whether to take the bus or the train back to Nairobi. He shared with us that some Germans who had helped his people before were hosting him in Germany in June, and it would be his first time on a place and first time outside of Kenya/Tanzania.

Hans picked us up and when we asked about price he gave us the locals price, it was less than half of what I thought he would offer. We hopped on and he took us to our bar across from our villa. While having a drink, a van tried to park across the street and got high centred over the curb. Hans was still outside and he rushed to help, as well as so many others who were hanging around. They weren't successful for a few tries, so Josh went down to the street and helped push as well. The driver was so grateful! It was cute to watch all the locals high five and fist pump each other, including Josh.

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I write this over breakfast, we have a cab driver coming to pick us up at 11 where we'll drive north of Mombasa to our hostel for just tonight.

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Posted by kvandervegan 23:31 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Sea Safari

sunny 32 °C

After the sun rose this morning we had breakfast; Josh had the breakfast at the hotel and I had the mango I bought yesterday, which was delicious. We both had chai tea.

We decided to walk along the beach and see what we could come across, and right from our resort the local beach boys followed us. I had a feeling they would want something, but the conversation was good and we enjoyed their company as no one else bugged us during our walk.

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We talked politics and economy again, it seems important to them to share how their government works and how corrupt it is and how hard it is to get work. I asked what minimum wage is and they said for a typical restaurant server he will make 15,000 Kenyan shillings a month. That's $194 Canadian or what I worked out to be about $1.21 an hour. It shocked me as we had just pulled out 25,000 shillings from the ATM without even blinking. Alex, the local I was chatting with, said the workers at the Mombasa ferry port make 60,000 a month, which I would think is a government job. Pretty unbelievable since we are finishing the prices not that far off from home. For example the average price of a Tusker beer is 250 shillings or $3.22 Canadian. Almost 3 hours work for these guys, and one third of our minimum wage. Crazy.

They led us down to the beach where the old coral still stands tall, it was really stunning.

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They then took us on a sea safari where they shared their knowledge of all of the creatures down on the water and in the corals. It was so interesting and we never would have found all of these creatures if it wasn't for them showing us. They knew so much about the ocean it was really cool.

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Of course at the end of our time on the beach they started asking us if we could spare any shillings for their time and knowledge and the leader of their group, Russ, even wrote down a price, which was quite a bit more than the tour we paid for at the Colobus Conservation centre. I told Josh later I would have happily paid them if we had known they would want money from the start. It's very deceiving when they just follow you along the beach and then expect money at the end. They were very nice and we offered them less than their price but more than we thought we would give at first, 2000 shillings or $25 Canadian for them to split.

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From there we got changed and headed to the bar we found last night with the cheap Tusker. Russ actually walked with us again as he found us coming out of our villa. We parted ways without a fee this time and headed up to the bar. As soon as we walked in the same bartender from last night said, "one Tusker cider one Tusker?" He remembered our order haha. He was super friendly. We sat and drank and watched these two skinny guys working so hard to put cobble stones down and make a sidewalk. One of them didn't even have shoes, which is so common here. Some rich Canadian needs to buy a bunch of shoes and ship them here; Josh decided he'd do that if we ever win the lottery.

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This is the view of behind the bar, I assume it's local housing and shops.

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Once finished we bought two Fantas and offered them to the two workers, who happily accepted and sat down to enjoy them. We walked back and decided to lay on the beach, enjoy the breeze and have a siesta before we get picked up for dinner tonight. Josh gave away two pairs of shorts to the locals on the beach and they were so happy, one of the guys went righty away to change into them. They're a much better fit and less worn than his last pair. These guys wear the same clothes every single day.

Oh, and I keep forgetting to post... All the locals ask if Josh "makes gym" at home and they all love his African tattoos. It starts great conversation with the locals :)

Posted by kvandervegan 05:54 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Monkeys and Tuk Tuks

overcast 28 °C

The first thing we did yesterday morning was walk about 20 minutes to the Nakkumat grocery store. On the way we made friends with two locals who talked politics, economy, and wanted to know everything about Canada. They didn't even know where it was located; they asked what the neighbouring country was. We talked about the difference in population, how I worked two jobs and how Josh works long hours away from home, and we talked about how they cannot get a job so they resort to their skills and hope for tourism, which is a lot slower nowadays than it used to be. They actually fended off some of the local vendors who are desperate for our money, or so it seems. When we got to the store, the boys quickly told us how they couldn't benefit from our money, but they could benefit from food, and asked if we would agree to buy them rice and oil in exchange for their prayers. We agreed, and they walked us through the store. By the end we also had sugar and flour in our cart for them too, and our bill came to about $80 Canadian, probably $20 of which was ours. While I felt good about helping them, I knew we could not do this with every single local we met. It's only our first full day here!

Josh wanted to get a cheap cell phone for Kenya as it will make our lives much easier, and it will help him connect with his friends easier since wifi is very spotty. In order to do that we needed our passport, so we took our first Tuk Tuk back to our villa. It was nice and breezy and cheaper than a cab!

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Passport in hand we headed back to the store, where we were greeted by guards with huge guns, guarding the entrance to the cell phone store, as well as two security people, male for males and a female for females, who checked us for metal. Once in the cell phone store we felt our white privilege again (forgot to mention that in a previous post.. it's shocking) and were put to the head of the queue. It didn't take too long and we are now the proud owners of an LG Cell phone where we're texting with good old T9 word :)

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From the store we took another Tuk Tuk to the Colobus Conservation Centre. On this Tuk Tuk I saw my first monkey, a baboon!! Just on the side of the road walking. So cool, no time for a photo I was too much in awe.

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Once there we were greeted by our guide Mary who was so sweet and took us on a tour of the property. It's an NGO that started 20 years ago to conserve the monkeys, they do so by various initiatives throughout the coast to preserve the habitats and stop the poaching and killing of monkeys. The colobus monkeys are so cute and docile and they literally just chill all day.

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The other types can be vicious, as Josh has experienced in the past. And Mary warned us of one named Val who had just bitten a tourist that morning. She suffers trauma from humans in the past which is why she was brought to the centre, but she definitely wanted to attack us when we met up with her. Mary looked worried, which made us worried, and we diverted our paths to avoid her as she was charging. Mary assigned a worker to watch her and spray her with a water bottle to keep her at bay for the rest of our walk. The rest of the tour was great, we saw the monkeys grooming each other and feeding babies, we also walked through the forest to see the old trees and stumble over all of the coral on the grounds. Coral is everywhere here, proving that this all used to be underwater.

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Once finished at the conservation centre we walked down the main road and stopped at a local "pub" which had roosters and chickens roaming and a handmade roof out of banana or palm tree leaves. He offered us a cold tusker, but then explained they had no electricity so it would be sort of cold. It was warm, but the flavours came out a lot more so I enjoyed it happily.

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After the pub we continued to walk and, for lack of a better word, were harassed by the sales people at all of their little huts. These guys are made out of cardboard and other garbage and mud, but they sold their carvings and paintings and things.

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We got a motorcycle part way to one of the main shopping centres and I hadn't eaten so I got two bananas and a mango for breakfast tomorrow (peel it or forget it right?). The bananas were very tasty and they were 10 Kenyan shillings each, that's 13 cents Canadian. We also stopped at the famous coral restaurant here and made a reservation for tomorrow night, which is Good Friday so we got the last table. We then walked down and saw where Josh has stayed in the past, Diani Cottages, and we walked down to the beach where there was tons of locals and a lady selling clothes and things, and the beach was gorgeous.

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From there we continued to walk and be harassed at the shops before we hopped on a motorcycle and rode that back to our hotel.

A dip in the pool was much needed as I haven't sweat this much I don't think.. ever.

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We came down to the beach for a few Tuskers and to enjoy the sun setting; were on the east coast so we can't actually see it set but it's still wonderful. Such a nice breeze and all you see is ocean it's gorgeous. These crabs are everywhere though and josh went for a dip and while I wanted to, knowing the crabs are out there, I just can't bring myself to get in! Up to my ankles is the most I'll go in, those at home know this about me haha.

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After the beach we headed down the street for some dinner at an Indian place about a 15 minute walk away from our hotel. It was dark on the walk and yet we felt so safe. We arrived and they had lots on the menu for me, and I had the some of the best Indian food I've ever had! After dinner we walked back and stopped in at a bar for the cheapest Tusker we've found yet.

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We continued home and Josh wanted another Tusker so I passed out on our balcony as soon as my head hit the pillow. No idea how long we were out there, but I slept like a baby. We woke up this morning to see the sun rise, it wasn't that spectacular but it was a gorgeous morning.

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And here's some shots of our villa.

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Posted by kvandervegan 22:15 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Forty Thieves

sunny 30 °C

Josh and I had a much needed nap in our Villa before we forced ourselves up to head out and get some dinner. It's the off season and things close earlier than normal, so heading out close to 8pm wasn't the best idea in this tourist town, but the restaurant we were going to stays open pretty late so we carried on. We had the front desk call us a taxi, and the nicest driver picked us up, named Salim. We asked if he could pick us up to take us home in a few hours, and he agreed. We then asked if on the way home we could stop somewhere for water, and he said it would cost more later on at a gas station, so he could go into the town and pick us up some before he picks us up. So sweet! He also didn't have us pay until he dropped us back off at home. The people here are so sweet and kind and generous it's been amazing so far.

We got to Forty Thieves bar and it did not disappoint. It was right on the white sandy beach and even though it was dark out the moon was bright and I was in awe of our setting. We ordered and then waited on Kenyan time to receive our meal, something Josh says to get used to haha. The drinks came fast so we wee happy to wait and just take it all in. We watched the beach for crabs, they're so quick and they run sideways and then dive into their holes it's crazy!

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When we got our food, Josh took one bite of his French fry and he had a look on his face like he was either going to be sick or happy or something, I asked him what it was and he asked me back if I'd tried my food yet. I hadn't, and he said it just tasted like Kenya. His sense of taste was bringing him right back to 8 years ago when he was last here, it was pretty cool. I had a bite to join in on his experience, and my French fry literally tasted like solidified canola oil. It was not good! Josh said I'd get used to it, and that I wouldn't have an appetite at the beginning of our trip but it would grow over time haha. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not one to leave food on my plate, and usually I'm finishing up Josh's fries anywhere we go, but I left half of my plate full of food. We talked about the guilt of being in Africa and leaving food on our plates, something I guess we'll have to live with for now.

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Right before we left there were a few guys putting on a fire show and balancing bottles on sticks with their mouths. We had our taxi waiting so we didn't watch it all but they were pretty talented with the bottles!

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Once we got home we ventured down to our beach to watch the crabs run and Josh waded in the ocean looking for phosphorescence.

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Crab's hole:

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Crab in his hole:

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As we were getting back to our villa I heard something rustling in the grass, so I got out my phones flash light to see and it was a tiny hedgehog! It was so cute and tiny and so scared of us. Really can't wait for safari now that I got that excited over a hedgehog...

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Overall we had a great night and better ending to our first day here than I thought we were going to. Waking up today fully rested so that feels nice! But also very sweaty... it is very, very hot here!

P.S. this is where I write this post from...

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Posted by kvandervegan 23:25 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Culture Shock

overcast 28 °C

We checked into our resort at around 3pm today, it's now 7pm and I'm struggling to wake Josh to get some dinner. We are both exhausted but we have limited time here so I think we will still attempt to go out tonight.

The last flight to Mombasa we had was very easy, and everything at customs went super smoothly. We got our bags and we decided to take a cab to our hotel, about an hour and a half's drive, instead of trying the local transportation. We sure are glad we went that route as it was quite the trek out here and our driver knew exactly what to do.

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Josh told me I'd have some culture shock when we got here, but I wasn't prepared for what I saw. On our hour and a half drive we saw some crazy traffic (no traffic lines, no rules of the road... and this was a mellow day). Driving through the streets of Mombasa and seeing the workers working so hard for what I can only imagine is far less than what we know to be minimum wage was difficult to witness. The construction workers were doing everything by hand and towing things using their own bodies as the machines behind their carts. Every store front we built out of cardboard and old wood and anything they could find to patch together. The colours were amazing throughout the city but behind the paint was so little substance it was absolutely shocking. Keep in mind these photos were taxen through a dirty taxi window.

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There were people everywhere, in yards there were kids playing by themselves and people tending to their daily chores or leisure. "Restaurants" were full of people gathered to eat and cooking in old dirty pots right on the street. There were also goats and cows everywhere we looked, some tied up, some free roaming. We even saw a few groups being herded through the busy streets by their owners.

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I think what overwhelmed me the most was just seeing all of the people with nothing. They have nothing here. Josh has always talked about this but I've never understood it until now, and the extent of my experience is an hour and a half drive through one city. We had to take a short ferry over while in our taxi, and seeing the volume of people and what they were wearing was just shocking. I can see now why Josh gave his clothes away the last two times he lived here.

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Once we reached our villa I was so overwhelmed I couldn't help but to cry. It was also excruciatingly hot and muggy and I couldn't wait to get the last two travel days washed off of me. We dipped in the pool, which was too warm to be refreshing, and then headed down to the beach where we had our first contact with the Indian Ocean. I was hoping it would be at least cooler than the pool, and Josh was right yet again, it was like bath water. You can't see anything in the distance, just straight ocean, and yet the water is as warm as a bathtub.

We were instantly swarmed by the locals looking for our business; it's their off season so tourism is low and they shared with us that they hadn't eaten that day. One man with only one leg brought his dog out to meet us, and his dog was so hungry he wouldn't let me pet him without scouring over my hands to see if there was anything to eat. He almost seemed delusional. Josh went to visit their small market and I was feeling so overwhelmed so I just headed back up to the resort to take a breather. I couldn't help the tears from flowing - these people were the real deal, and while their tactics are probably the same year round, I don't doubt they didn't eat today.

We'll head to dinner and then I look forward to a full nights sleep and a fresh start for the morning.

Posted by kvandervegan 09:24 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Layover

As I write this we've just touched down in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and we've got a quick 2 hour layover. Our 4 hour flight from Vancouver to Toronto felt long, our 5 hour layover in Toronto felt even longer of course, and the flight we just got off of was 13 hours. It was testing, to say the least! Ethiopia Airlines was pretty phenomenal and managed to feed me the whole way through which keeps everyone happy. Josh's primary goal of this trip is to keep me well fed as I tend to get a little hangry at times. But you all know that already.

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I was pretty impressed that they had vegan meals ready for me. I did call in advance, but it was a struggle explaining what vegan was over the phone and I was sure I wasn't going to get a meal. But I was pleasantly surprised! Plus the drinks were free so Josh and I indulged in some Ethiopian beer that was pretty good.

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This airport is pretty small and outdated. I'm getting the first opportunity to people watch and it's been very interesting so far. Lots of very well dressed people here. We watched a group of kids, maybe ages 3-10, go through security, and they all had with what we think is Spina Bifida. They were being led by a middle aged white guy, who were assuming was in charge of a program or something for these kids. All the kids were so cute and they all helped each other through security it was really sweet.

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I'm looking forward to getting on the ground soon and finishing the marathon of travel!

Posted by kvandervegan 08:55 Archived in Ethiopia Comments (0)

Empty YVR

The trip so far has been incredibly quiet and uneventful. Ferry was easy, bus ride was easy, though I'm quite back-heavy with my pack and still need time to get used to it.

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Skytrain was essentially empty. Then our check in with Air Canada was very smooth and we didn't have to pay for any bags. #winning. Monday evening seems to be the time to travel!

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The vegan food quest is already in full effect and Josh sacrificed his hunger so I could eat at the food court, where they had vegan options, before we sat down to a meal at a non-vegan-friendly place. Hubby gets his first medal of the trip!

We sat down to eat at Monk's Grill and the alcohol prices were shocking, plus their craft draught beer was out. Josh's food was ok but we quickly paid so we could seek out a cheaper drink spot.

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The food court serves booze and Josh knew his way around it from travelling so often (you have to sit in a designated drinking area). Our "downgrade" to cheaper drinks turned into a 5oz glass of Copper Moon in a plastic cup! I thought... there's probably going to be much, much worse ahead so I will take that plastic glasses of wine and I will enjoy it.

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Our first flight takes off in an hour and a half, and we're excited but it really hasn't sunk in yet that we'll be in Africa in like.. just over a day. Josh keeps reminding me that I'm in for a rude awakening, and that I should enjoy the population of Canada while I can. I think I'll soon find out what that means!

Posted by kvandervegan 21:29 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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