It is not the hot season here in Mombasa, in fact it is "quite cool", so they say. I have constantly been peeling the fabric from my t-shirt off of my drenched back. My skin has turned an odd colour, one that it has never been before. Maybe it is the red dust that picks up and settles into my sunscreen lathered skin. Maybe it is the night time naps (naps because I rarely sleep through the night)wherein I am applying and re-applying bug repellant. Maybe it is the scorching sun piercing the clouds. Maybe it is the fact that I haven't showered for 5 days, which included a 24 hour bus ride. Or maybe it is a combination of all things listed above.
For those that are not educated in the geography of Mombasa, it is a very interesting sea-port town which has been conquered and re-conquered time and time again. The city itself is on an island in a peninsula, sandwiched between the north and south coasts. We are on the south coast, but have a beachfront view of the city across the water. When we make the trek into the city we must take a ferry. Amazingly the ferry is free. I wonder if at some point the ferry had a cost but was scrapped because of the impossibility of regulating such a fee. There are litterally thousands upon thousands of foot passengers who line up at the top of a hill behind metal gates waiting for the ferry to port. Once it does and the flood gates are opened, mayhem ensues. The people are packed tighter than a crowd rushing the stage at an outdoor U2 concert. Once on the boat, there is standing room only. It is more of a barge with handrails. We try to make it to the handrails with the intention of jumping, then swimming to safety at the seemingly inevitability of capsizement. So far, no such occurance.
The water is turquoise and warm. The sand is white. The beach outside our housing (a YWAM base) is not safe for swimming. We are reminded multiple times a day that we must not swim in the tantalizing water because of the strong currents and multitude of sharks. But for 3 exhausted, warn out traveler/missionaries we are drawn to it as one to an oasis in the desert. We must also never take anything of value down to the beach as it will almost always be taken. No, not when you leave it unattended while you go for a dip, but rather when you are friendly to a local who casually pulls out a large knife and demands your belongings. Apparently just a month or two ago, two elderly American ladies were shaken up after having one such ordeal. It is not uncommon for them to cut you, just to show that they mean business. Then again, we are three (maybe 2, I still have the physique of a 13 year old) fit young men ready for adventure and a little fisty-cuffing.
Tomorrow, we make our long journey back through the countryside of Kenya via Nairobi to the bustling city that is Kampala. We have been told that between here and Nairobi we will doubtless see out of our bus windows wild zebra, giraffes and other wildlife. This is exciting as it will be the closest thing to a safari we will take part in. Then again, it will be 24 hours of non stop busing. We have, however, found a better, newer bus company to take us as our last experience left us (Kyle and I, Same slept like a baby) in shambles. We will spend the weekend soaking up the last minutes spent with our new found friends before boarding a plane on Monday morning for another full day of travelling. Our time here in Africa is rapidly coming to a close. For Sam and I, it is bitter sweet. We are excited to come home after being away for 6 weeks but we also feel like we have finally gotten into the groove of Africa and it will be sad to depart. Kyle jokes less about leaving and more and more voices his desire to stay longer. With all its hassles, dangers, inconveniences and annoyances, Africa proves to be a place of wonder. We have come to love this continent and anticipate our return in the near future.
So long for now.