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   Lamu Island, Kenya

September, 2007
 
 
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Lamu, Kenya

Off the northeast coast of Kenya, the little island of Lamu abides. 

    click on images for a bigger view.
  

We stayed in a town called Shela, which sits on a narrow channel, about two kilometers from the "city" of Lamu.

This is the view from our hotel room.

  

Another view from our hotel room, looking the other direction.

  

When the housekeeper cleaned the room, he would leave a few flowers.

And once he even spelled out my name in rose petals.  Most of it, anyway.  Nice touch.

  

Jason and Tara Miner, and Sarah.

Jason and Tara are the reason we came to Lamu.  They got hitched, we skipped their wedding and crashed the honeymoon.  Yep.

  

The only vehicles in the town of Shela are donkeys and boats.

I suppose that somebody owns each donkey, but when they're not in use, the donkeys park themselves in shady spots and nap, wherever they feel like it.

  

Sleepy baby donkey.

  

Beautiful home at the top of the tallest dunes, uphill of Shela.

Both Shela and Lamu City are under pretty serious tourist pressures. 

  

Increasingly, all of the nicest houses are being bought up, renovated, and then left empty most of the year.  This does funky things to the local economy.  Shela is becoming a ghost town, or a fake.

  

About one mile out along the protected beach, mafia money built this fake castle.

Except for the part where it doesn't belong here and ruins the natural views, it's pretty cool.

  

Boat trip

We hired a dhow to take us across the channel to Manda Island, where there are ruins of an old city called Takwa.

  

Path from the mangrove swamp to the Takwa ruins.

  

Information about these ruins is scant.  People probably lived here from 1500 to 1700.  They built a mosque that's still in pretty good shape.  Food got scarce, people moved across the channel to Lamu City.  The end.

  

Now it's just a diversion for gawkers and rubes.

  

And desecrators of holy space.

  

OMG!  I just totally desecrated in the temple!

  

The far side of Manda island.

  

On the trip back from Manda Island, our dhow passed a boatload of schoolkids.

  

Inside the Lamu Museum

This museum is housed in a restored warehouse just next to the main boat dock.  I dig the architecture.

  

  

Here, the donkey is actually working, carrying sand into town from a few miles down the beach.  I dunno what they're doing with the sand.

  

  

  

Jason focuses.

  

I think this is what he was aiming at.

This is the call tower for the local mosque.  Lamu Island is about 95% Muslim.

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