Amidst the first month of the Gregorian calendar, read Njaanuary, I found my way to a beautiful destination. Where my heart settled to a perfect rhythm with the ocean waves and my mind found clarity with the sunset.
Traveling alone is amusing, but for a first timer, I was hysterical. Not because of the fact that donkeys feel the need to leave evidence of their existence everywhere, but mostly because of the fact that cats in Lamu are the same size as that of starved cheetahs and the locals Swahili will have you rethinking of getting a Kamusi.
In being isolated from all that I am accustomed to, exploring the narrow streets, grasping on the culture that is exhibitory diverse and nothing like I have ever known, I came to a few revelations.
We all live in the same planet, yet worlds apart. While most cities always seem alive around the clock, Lamu sleeps at the witching hour… away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done.
In the city it is all about waking up before dawn, not to the light or crowing of the neighbors cock, but to the stirring of school buses, commuter trains, and changing of traffic lights amidst a congestion of almost stagnant cars. Mornings in the metropolis are ancient before the sun even rises.
The island wakes with the sun a majestic, quiet and calm wake. Your transition into the new day is a fluid one. Wake up, pour that tea and enjoy the tranquility of the quiet morning breeze, save for the Imam calling the faithfuls for prayers and a few attention seeking donkeys.
Days progress slowly in Lamu, no agony about traffic, no hiked bus fares, no hawkers and their routine cat and mouse chase with the city council officers, no pickpockets, no uncultured bodabodas or riding the train with your forehead pressed up against the window and not because you are daydreaming.
So if you ever want to go a day without seeing any cars, or at-most just want to see two cars… if you ever want to be around more donkeys than humans… if you ever want to enjoy a live Taarab band overlooking the ocean
Lamu Island is beautiful, and in that beauty I found the perfect balance.