Saturday, 8 December 2007


Firstly I apologise for misspelling 'fairy' in the previous post. Dyslexics rule KO..
Secondly, I apologise for the week of silence. I was hiding out in south Mombassa and didn’t want to bang on about the sea being bright turquoise-blue and the water so warm you could hardly feel it when you slipped into the pool; about the sand being silky and white and how there were, each glorious, sunlit morning, enormous plates of fresh mangos, paw paws and pineapples to go with your bacon and eggs. I didn’t want to upset you with stories of fantastical, multi-coloured fish and corals, gentle whispering palms and huge skies that made the Bounty adverts look like Cillet Bang ads…..nope, I didn’t think it would be very nice of me to whitter on about the smell of almond oils from the spa rooms, the hibiscus flowers arranged on the pillows each evening or the far off sweet smell of rain on the wind. I just thought it wouldn’t be kind.

I was there with the famous S and another great woman pal, Little J, both of whom work far too hard in the charity sector and were actually deserving of some serious R and R. They are excellent to travel with as they have vast brains full of quite useful stuff and make friends with everyone easily and with genuine warmth, are adaptable and don’t screech with fear at the sight of snakes, large insects or monkeys..which is a good thing as we got mugged by a Columbus monkey who was after J’s tobacco.
We spent the first few days trying to fit in all the different kinds of lying down one can do; in the sea, in the pool, in the air-conditioned bedrooms. It was quite tough as we had to somehow squeeze this in between the food breaks but we worked harder each day and by the end of the week we had it down. Little J even managed to get the DJ to stop pandering to the German tourists with Europoptechnotastic and play some truly rooted Zairian rumba (at which point the previously empty dance floor immediately erupted and we danced ourselves further into the sweaty gin sozzled sun burnt mess with glee.)
I had thought snorkelling no longer possible. On first try I couldn’t make out colours under water at all and my peripheral it’s own entity..was making up huge shark like shadows on either side of my head so I wussed out. However we ended up doing a boat trip to a marine reserve and there, in crystal clear water I saw plenty of everything, blues, oranges, pinks and all. It was stunning.

What I really can’t see anymore are stars. In Africa, where one can safari along the Milky Way, this is especially hard to come to terms with but I was warned about it after my initial diagnosis and so have grown used to just listening to others give long sighs of awe and pretend they know what star they are pointing at. I am just relieved I had a chance to see them in their full glory when I was growing up.

Today, back in UK, where it seems sunlight filters through the gloom for only about 40 minutes a day and the wind is beginning to get icy, Little J and I staggered through the rain to check out the last day of the Photovoice Exhibition ‘Beyond Sight’. The photos looked great in the space and there, pride of place in the entrance, was one of my pieces blown up to a vast size and looking..well…. bloody professional. I am very proud and so pleased for everyone who took part! It’s all terribly posh and made up for the fact I didn’t get the job at Canary Wharf which I am a little sad about but happy I won’t have to get a hair cut or hem my one pinstripe suit or commute for a while longer.

It was a wonderful week and I wait to see how things are going to pan out in Kenya with the elections in a couple of weeks. Hakuna Matata!

1 comment:

Louisa said...

sweetie....... zairean music??? With the "fairy" fau paux and now reverting to zaire instead of the politically correct name of Democratic Republic of Congo :) know why you are being punished dont cant get away with giving us such a vivid and most unfair account of your frolicking in the is just not right!!!!!