December 31, 2011

Since I've been here

It's been a while since I've been here.  Hello!  There are e-mails to answer and comments to comment on and conclusions to draw, for all of which I'm gracelessly overdue.  Please accept this blanket apology for all blog neglect.   

I last saw you here in Zanzibar.  It was lovely.  After Stone Town, I headed east to Pwani Mchangani for some Indian Ocean beaching before returning to winter in the northern hemisphere.

Palms, then pool, then sands, then ocean.

On Zanzibar's east coast, the sand slopes so gradually that, at low tide, you can literally walk miles straight into the ocean.  Some people prefer the northern beaches with less extreme phases because the patchy nature of the eastern low tides are considered less aesthetic.  I can comfortably disagree with that.  A really good sandbar is a pleasure.

Wading in towards Indian Ocean sandbars

Pwani Mchangani is a small town known, according to my outdated guidebook, for its seaweed farming.  Strings of fishing line stretch between stakes in the sand and collect drifting weeds overnight, to be harvested by the village women each morning.

Women harvesting seaweed at low tide

Dragging seaweed to shore

Then after a morning of seaweed harvest spectating and an afternoon of para-sailing on a warm island breeze, I sat on the sand and watched acrobatics and summersaults in the setting sun.

And my next night saw the sun set as we flew over the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Sometimes life is very grand.

Kili at sunset

So now it's the end of December, and I'm in Seattle.  It's been a while since I've been here also.  Seemingly, not a lot has changed since I left.  Specifically, it's still overcast and drizzly.  I suppose people expect the difference to be me; they want to know how 6 months in Africa has changed me.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I find myself to be generally the same.  Most of the differences are surface-level:

- I find paved 4+ lane freeways a bit overwhelming.
- Brushing my hair and putting on a completely clean outfit seems like a waste of time.
- Leaf-blowers are the most ridiculous things I've ever seen... who cleans streets?
- Squirrels seem more exotic than when I left.
- As soon as my plane touched down in the U.S., I lost my desire to listen to Bruce Springsteen on repeat. Americana may have more sentiment outside of America.

Maybe the substantive changes take longer to process.  Perhaps things need to settle and absorb before I commence proselytizing.  Until then, it's time for me to start classes again, and this blog will be on respite. I graduate in June and have been loosely offered an opportunity to return to Kenya, so perhaps we'll resume again some day.  The best way to know would be to put your e-mail address in the "follow by email" box on the lower end of the right-hand sidebar here.  That way, you'll be the first to know when we pick back up.

Until then, Happy New Years and safe travels!


  1. Wow. I came across your blog while researching Kenya. My husband & I are moving to Nairobi in June. We've been living in Bogota, Colombia but call Seattle home. I will read your previous posts to gain some insight. Good luck to you! ~Maria

  2. Des photos magnifiques dans ce blog :) Bravo !