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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Splish Splash: Mombasa

I love water. I’m not talking about the water you drink to quench a thirst. I’m talking about the water that you run, jump, tuck your legs to your chest and cannonball into. THAT kind of water is fantastic and so refreshing. I’ve needed refreshment, as you could probably tell from the way the end of the summer was going here. I felt like my entire being was drying up before my eyes. Joy wasn’t as profound in my life as it had been. Creativity was something I had to work double time to conjure up. I needed to do something…something fast!

One of my favorite memories with my best friends in college surrounded spontaneity. We would all be sitting together in our living room at midnight and someone would randomly say “IHOP?” We didn’t even have to think about it. It was spontaneous, so of course we were all in! Last week I was sitting in my office and realized that I needed to do something spontaneous to get myself out of Nairobi for a little bit. I looked up tickets to the coast and to my surprise, the prices were amazing! I texted my friend Joelle and just asked: “Mombasa?” Good thing she too is spontaneous! ☺

Friday evening we found ourselves all packed up and heading to the airport for our last-minute trip of pure spontaneity to the coast! As we boarded the plane and strapped in, I could sense the tension and stress from the past few months falling off. We both couldn’t stop smiling the entire plane ride. I think we said the word “beach” about 50 billion times before we landed.

I had asked some friends of mine that I had met on my way to Africa (Justin and Shannon Brown) if I could come stay with them. Good thing they too enjoy spontaneity because they opened their house to Joelle and me for the entire weekend! They have two precious little girls (Avery and Hunter) with a third on the way. I heard they were excited to see me again but didn’t know the truth of that until I saw two tiny heads peaking in my bedroom door the morning after we arrived (we arrived after their bedtime so they were told “Miss Kate” would be here when they woke up in the morning.). It was so fun to be around those little ones again. Especially Hunter because she and I shared many conversations concerning the formality of being a real, true princess. I have a looooong way to go apparently. But she is willing to help me out! ;) A few times she would look at me and tell me: “Princesses don’t really wear hats, so if you want to be a princess, you are really gonna have to take that off.” “Yuck, princesses can’t wear brown. They just can’t. The ONLY colors princesses can wear is pink, purple, and blue. Sometimes yellow, like Belle.” Trust me, I don’t know if there is an ounce of brown in her closet… mostly pink. Too cute!

When we arrived on Friday night, Joelle, Justin, and I went to an Indian restaurant (one of the few restaurants open in Mombasa due to Ramadan… it’s a VERY Muslim area of Kenya). At dinner, Justin shared with us some history of Mombasa, things to do and see as well as filled us in on his recent conquer of Kilimanjaro! Way to go!

On Saturday all of us made our way to the beach…yes, the BEACH! I could not contain my excitement when I finally saw the coast and the BEAUTIFUL Indian Ocean! Its been a strange feeling having it be “summer” in my mind here yet not doing any summer activities since its technically “winter” in Kenya. I played with Hunter and Avery in the baby pool, laid out some, and then played a made-up game of “The clam catches the mermaid princess” with Hunter in the big pool. Can you guess who was the clam and who was the mermaid princess? ;)

After the pool we headed back home so the girls could take naps. Joelle and I headed to the market to check it out. Shannon suggested us wearing long skirts and covering our head with scarves to lessen harassment. I don’t know if it lessoned it. I think at one point we had about five men trying to “sell” us spices, jewels, and fabrics. They kept telling us that their stores were “right down that alley.” Yeah right. Finally after they found out that I "have" a very large husband who is a professional boxer/marine/personal trainer/or any other intimidating profession they left us alone. But seriously, after so many movies out there, who would go down a dark alley after being told by a stranger that their store is down there??? I wasn’t born yesterday. Other than that, it was a great experience to see a whole different culture within the same country I live in. It was like being in a Middle Eastern country. Pretty amazing!

That evening Joelle and I tried our hand at making some brownies… and yes! FINALLY! They turned out like what I was aiming for! No more Garden (enter baked good name). ☺ We also went over to the Brown’s neighbor’s house for Mexican night and some card games. Tons of fun! One thing I’ve learned here, is that no one is a stranger. Although I had just met this new family a few hours before dinner I left Mombasa feeling like I’ve known them for quite a while.

On Sunday we went to a coastal church. One of my favorite things about this church was that we got to sing the song “An New Hallelujah.” Singing it with a church full of African’s is amazing.
Especially when we got to the verse that sings:

“Africa sings a new song
reaching out with the new Hallelujah
Every son and every daughter
everyone sing a new Hallelujah.”

It was great to say the least. We then went out to a quick bite to eat at an Italian restaurant. Another one of the few places open in Mombasa during Ramadan it was great! And after church, back to the Beach! This time I GOT TO SWIM IN THE INDIAN OCEAN! Was I excited about that? Of course not… ;) It was so great! Justin and I were the only ones up for snorkeling. We grabbed our gear and walked down the beach a ways. We had to step over a lot of coral but it was worth it. We saw camels all along the beach giving rides to whomever.

It was too cool! Finally we reached a spot, got on our gear and started swimming away from shore. I was soo paranoid about sea urchins that I never once put my foot down on the swim over. We had to cross this one spot where Justin said is the migration path of shark whales. This is not my picture, but just so you get an idea of what a shark whale looks like. It’s huge. I don’t’ even know what I would have done had I seen one! EEEKS.

If you can see in the below picture, about where the waves are breaking in the distance, we had to swim out there to get to the best snorkeling spot.

It was soo neat to have swam out ourselves to this underwater world that is FULL of amazing creatures. I can’t even remember everything we saw but I’m posting pictures that I found on the Internet so you can see a bit of what I got to swim with! I don’t think I could give them enough credit with my words. God is awesome though. Not only did he create amazing creatures on the land like giraffes, zebras, and elephants, but He created these intricate and odd creatures who live underwater! My creativity doesn’t hold a candle to God’s.

Sunday evening we made some homemade chicken nuggets then quickly headed back to the airport to go back to Nairobi. It was definitely not enough time at the coast or with the Browns, but it was just enough for now. I guess I’d describe it as not being a cannonball type refresher, but more like a dip. Enough to cool you off, enough to refresh you and sustain you and DEFINITELY enough to entice you back for more! Yes, Browns, I will be coming back! Thanks for a fun spontaneous trip! ☺


Courtney said...

that sounds like SUCH a great time!!! wow!!

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