Saturdays are for sleeping in. We slept till mid-morning when we woke up to have breakfast. The breakfast at Astra House wasn’t all that – just some toast, eggs and coffee. Samson, the showman served it with such enthusiasm and it was hard to tell it to his face. Anyway, going by how much we were paying for our stay – bed, and breakfast – it was rather modest.
I took some time to read and write before Chaka arrived, Reina was chatting with the host downstairs. I’ve been reading this book, The Da Vinci Code, which has been a roller-coaster. The book doesn’t live up to the hype, at least not for me. Parts of it are dragging and others are enticing. Can’t wait to be done with it already.
At around half past noon we left the house ready to take in more of what Malindi had to offer. The plan was to get light lunch at Seafront Swahili Dishes before heading out to our first destination. Let me warn you in advance, there is nothing like light lunch in Swahili cuisines, we ended up having pilau special, chicken curry, some chapati served with liver and a plate of mboga ya mchicha to share. To quench our thirsts Chaka and I drank ukwaju and a glass of passion juice for the Queen. By the time we left the restaurant, we were quite full and set for the day.
Chaka took us to the Fisherman’s Harbor where the fishermen dock their ship. He asked for pweza, (Octopus). One of the fishermen dragging his catch led us to a shanty by the shore where we could speak to the boss man and see if he’d be willing to sell us some octopus for dinner. Turns out the tides dictate the demand for octopus and this time they were rare. Which meant they would be costly. We opted to forego and took a tuk-tuk to the Falconry of Kenya.
The Falconry is a rescue sanctuary for birds as told to us by the tour guide, Sam. We paid 200 bob per head for entry. There we saw Nile crocodiles, an old tortoise, Mzee Kobe aged 115 years or thereabouts. He is so old that he has lost his teeth and uses his gums to chew. We fed him some bananas and gently stroked him to keep him from hiding in his shell.
Then there were the snakes. Pretty much the same species we’d seen at Crocodile Farm. And finally, the icing on the cake, the many birds. There are plenty of species at The Falconry. Some of them I remember vividly for their unique qualities. For instance, the African Harrier which struts and spreads its wings for you to take a picture when it sees you adjust your camera or phone. A very moody owl called Paulina, which picked on me when it was my turn to take a picture with it. It really liked Reina.
Sam talks to the birds and they listen. I found that quite interesting. He’d say to the Falcon, “buddy, buddy turn,’ and the bird would turn as instructed. There were different types of owls that were asleep but kept their eyes open as a disguise. We held the eagle too, I must say, makes you feel like a Pirate of the Caribbean, somehow.
The funfair of it all was the vulture. Sam called it the most humble bird saying it’s so patient. Waits for a predator to hunt, kill and feast to its fill, then leave. Only then will it step up to the plate for the remains. Sam released it and fed it with chunks of meat placed on a glove we held for it to land. It would fly around the compound at Sam’s command and come rest on your outstretched arm. It put up some really good show.
As we exited the place, we bought some souvenir Maasai crafts from the shop. Part of the cash goes to support the artists and the other half supports the sanctuary to keep it running. You might want to buy the souvenirs for the good cause. The Maasai Moran was priced at Ksh 300 and two key holders for Ksh 100 each.
Our next stop was the beach. This time we went to a different public beach, Coco Beach. It was later in the evening. For some strange reason, not too many people were there. It’s as if we had the whole shore to ourselves.
Some unfortunate thing happened, Reina, lost her engagement ring as she was prepping up, ready to join me in the water. I had to come out and help her find it. She had really panicked and after a couple of minutes of sifting through the sand, we finally found it!
We enjoyed time in the beach for close to an hour. It was fun chatting with Reina and swimming together. A vacation really takes so much weight off your mind and even better still, it makes it worthwhile when you spend it with the one you love.
It was getting late and we opted to get out of the water. We nibbled on our snacks as we got out of the beach and looked for a Tuk-tuk – they will cost you between 100-150 bob to move around Malindi. They are the most common means of transport there.
The rest of the evening was spent buying and eating street foods on Wananchi Street near Habib Bank. We stopped at a certain lady’s kiosk to buy viazi karai which she prepared for us as we waited and packed it with some chili sauce. We also got to eat some beef mshikaki and nundu (a cow’s hump meat) prepared in skewers at Nundu Zone. And to top it all up, we had some sugarcane juice prepared with lime and ginger right across the same street at 50 bob a glass. Chaka got me a small thermos to carry the Seafront Swahili Dishes signature coffee.
By the time we got back to our stay, we were full to the brim. We took a shower and retired for the night. Malindi had become this irresistible lady who winked and smiled at us and we couldn’t wait to wake up and tour again and again.