To the Coast

I guess I love the beach more than most people. Why else would I pay a fortune to buy a condo two blocks from South Beach near Miami, FL? So when someone suggested I visit the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa, I thought “hmmm, I have not been to a beach since Nuweiba in eastern Sinai, three months ago.” So I decided to take a little detour and ride to the coast, spend a few days, then take the bus back to Nairobi before continuing west to Uganda.

But before that, a few more photos of Nairobi.

I had lunch one day with a very interesting man, Greg Snell. He has been doing missionary work in East Africa for about 25 years. He described his first experience in Kenya as “coming home” and felt he belonged here. I can certainly understand that. There is something that draws you to this area. Perhaps because we all came from here (as Greg put it, maybe this was the garden of Eden.) Greg’s family also has one of the few remaining private dwellings on Isle Royale. Back when the government decided to make the Isle a National Park, many people were living there. They were given the option of selling out or keeping the place under a lease of some kind. They chose the lease and so have had the place to themselves since the 1930s or so.

Greg is also a cyclist (or he was anyway). When he was 15 he rode a bike 175 miles in one day. That has me beat. But he says he could not ride the next day.

Here we are after lunch in the Nairobi Java Cafe


Another shot of David Kinjah, the mechanic/cyclist/anticorruption reformer who completely overhauled my bike. Here he is truing my front wheel.


The people who operate the buses, or matatus, in Nairobi sometimes go overboard in painting their vehicles. They look like moving billboards for American rap stars.

A rainy day in Nairobi. The view from my hotel room.


Woman and shadow.


Hanging laundry.


Kids playing with old tires.


A hair salon. What in the world is a curly kit? A blow out?


Out of Nairobi I stopped in a small Maasai town. The Maasai are very suspicious of photos and charge exorbitant fees to have their pictures taken (one woman wanted about $20.) I had to take these surreptitiously with a telephoto lens.

I rode south to the Tanzania border. There is a National Park there, Amboselli, but I am not allowed to ride inside because wild animals may attack. A taxi would coast $200 which was outrageous. So I rode on a service road around the park. It was hot and dusty. For two days I struggled over the road. It was quite scenic and I saw some big game: impalas, zebras, ostriches, and a few other deer-like creatures. A herd of elephants also wandered past my campsite one morning which was a bit frightening. Fortunately they did not see me.

In the town of Namanga I stayed at a hotel that had a pet baboon called Susie. I made friends with her by giving her mangos and bananas.


There are a lot of Maasai in the town. The women are incredibly persistent in selling bracelets, necklaces and other crafts. I fended them off for a while but eventually ended up buying several pieces. I also negotiated some good rates for photos (about $1 each). Check out the earrings.

Some of the Maasai have brands on their cheeks and their lower front teeth are pried out with a knife when they are 10 years old. They also shave their heads. Strange customs.

More views of Namanga. A hotel/butcher shop. Why not?


Sleeping off a hangover (or a dead person).


The women know how to use their heads.


The road near the Tanzania border.

I got to within 30 km of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.


My campsite the morning the elephant herd passed by.


Another amusing hotel sign. Check out rule #8.