I had a lovely start to the day with a Facetime conversation with Michelle while sitting on my verandah.
After some time resting on my verandah, watching the monkeys, I had a phone call to say I had a visitor. Jess had come over to see me from Casuarina. We shared some wine at the bar and it was lovely to sit and chat.
I returned to my room for some more chill out time, and then it was time to meet Juma. We had arranged for him to come after work so that we could go down to Nakumatt and buy the things for his sister's salon - a hair dryer, some straighteners, and a water heater. He had also agreed to introduce me to the major way in which Kenyans get around - the matatu. A matatu is a safari bus - a bit smaller than minibuses in England - onto which as many people as possible are crammed! They have set routes and stop wherever they see a customer. Prices are much cheaper than by taxi or by tuktuk. Our matatu came very quickly and Patrick explained that if I wanted to go to Nakumatt from Severin I could get on any matatu as they all passed Nakumatt. The fare was 20 shillings - compared to 200 shillings for a tuktuk or 250 for a taxi. The shopping was successful, and I also bought a blender for a lady Jess had told me about; I look forward to giving it to her tomorrow.
Coming back was interesting; Waiting for the matatu (many passed on by because they were already full, it being rush hour) we had tutktuks and taxis stop to persuade us that we should travel with them; the concept of a muzungu riding a matatu seemed unbelievable! One very full matatu tried to persuade us to pay 70 shillings for a ride because it was rush hour. When a matatu with space arrived, I had to get through to the back seats. I know I am getting a little larger in the hips these days, but it was a very tight squeeze between the seats to reach the back! I then had to keep my hand above my head to protect it while bouncing along. All driving experiences are interesting in Kenya, I have decided. The road we were driving along has two lanes, with just enough room to overtake. Vehicles overtaking toot their horns, basically to say "get out of the way" and the slower vehicles pull as far in to the side as possible. Matatus, however, will frequently undertake, driving along the earth verges of the road (which are full of potholes) as they pull in and out of the traffic to pick up passengers. Vehicles do not wait for a gap in the traffic in order to join the road; they simply pull in if they think they can get away with it (which they usually do believe!) Suffice it to say I have no intention of driving anywhere in Kenya!
After the excursion it was back to the hotel and a quiet evening.
I wanted to include the pictures below, showing something which has interested me during my stay this week. The majority of the hotel accommodation is thatched int he traditional style, and one of the buildings has been rethatched this week. It was really interesting to watch the process - though I think those doing the thatching may have been a bit bemused by the "muzungu" who took so much interest!
|Delivering the materials|
|A hand cart used to take the rushes to the building|
|Thatching in progress|