Kenya Day 4 - J M Neely Photography

Day 4 (Exploring Mombasa)

We wanted more beach time so we headed back at sunrise. The water was still very nice! We saw a small translucent crab and a stingray as we played in the water and filmed each other in the ocean. Jessica taught Elizabeth how to swim with arm strokes and foot paddling. We did lots of ridiculous, experimental ideas with the GoPros and lots of group photos with our host mothers. Everyone could tell we were tourists! The locals came to talk to us and offer things for sale. I bought a nameplate with an elephant lion and rhino on it. "House Neely" finally has a piece of art from Africa! This morning with my friends was easily the best part of my trip so far. Anyone who knows me knows I love the mountains and the woods, but it seems I am walking away with a newfound love for the ocean as well. 

We spent more time than we should have on the beach so we were running behind on our itinerary. We jumped on a tuk-tuk and we went to travel the markets. This was cut short when we realized that the vendors were all trying to take advantage of us foreigners by raising their prices by ten times what we were first quoted! No time for this so off we went to our next destination on the list. We went to see a ferry, but honestly, this was a waste of time and I do not suggest it. No one cares about a ferry, we are on vacation in Africa! After that, we headed to Fort Jesus, an outpost constructed in the sixteenth century on Mombasa by the Portuguese and used to wield influence over trade in the Indian Ocean. We were running behind and we couldn’t go inside, so this was also a waste of time. I guess if you like history and museums this is a must-see but since we didn’t even go inside, the entire drive there was pointless. But I decided to test a theory while driving on the tuk-tuk. As people stared at me I met their gaze with a smile and disarmed them. 80% of the time their stare would turn into a smile and a wave. Once I understood the power of a smile this made my interactions much more positive. 

But now we were really late and we couldn’t visit the crocodile farm for feeding time, so instead, we headed for Haller Park, a nature reserve built on the ruins of an old quarry. This was an absolutely beautiful zoo but, because we showed up late, our time there was short. With the encouragement and ushering of my host mother, I was still able to get there in time to see hippos, monkeys, eland, water buffalo, and crocodiles. Oddly enough, the most memorable was these weaver birds building nests. I was maybe twelve feet away as they built their nests by weaving long strands of palm leaves just like a human. They even tied knots. Birds are amazing. My friends finally showed up and we had some fun seeing the animals and messing around. Then we left for condos on the tuk-tuk! I filmed my friends being ridiculous and we edited a fun video of our day’s adventures later that night. It was definitely a long day with ups and downs, but mostly good memories that I'll cherish forever.

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