My Life in Ruins

Hello from Watamu! Which is a coastal town in Kenya, about 50 miles north of Mombasa. I arrived here yesterday by a little 9 seater van, the ubiquitous form of inter-city transport here in East Africa. It was a pretty uneventful journey, although the old lady next to me was wincing the whole time. At first I thought it was me, but then I realized she had some kind of pain. Other than the general pain of being jammed in a mini-van with 8 sweaty people.

I came here to visit the nearby ruins at Gede, which I went to today. There was apparently a very prosperous Swahili trading town here from around 1200-1500, although no historical record mentions it. It was large though, with a palace, inner and outer walls, and numerous houses and mosques, and the people there traded with Arabia, India, the Meditarranean and China based on goods found there. All of it now is stone ruins, crumbling into the jungle. It really struck me, bing there in this place that was once busy, touching stone walls that somebody had erected 600 years ago, and then eventually totally abandoned it. There weren’t many people there, most of the jungle trails I had to myself, so much so that I occassionally wondered if I’d get back to the entrance on my own. I did though, and had some quality monkey and butterfly encounters along the way.

That mission being accomplished, I’m heading back to Mombasa tomorrow, and then flying on to Ethiopia the next day. Until then, I’m going back to my guest house and it’s resident herd of goats and swarm of cats. Now that’s wildlife!

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