Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tallinn, my Tallinn

The weather was excellent, so i went Tallinn-spotting. Cruising through Kalamaja and old town, here's what caught my eye.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lamu life

Constant struggle

Every morning is a struggle. Getting out of bed is like trying to dig a hole in frozen ground. I push the clock forward 10 minutes, every morning, another 10 minutes if i decide my hair is still clean enough, and another ten minutes if i decide to skip breakfast, sometimes another 10 minutes if i find that being a bit late to work is acceptable. Kenya trip did give me loads of energy but it was mostly mental energy, helping me deal with the fact that this year's winter lasts forever. However, no trip can change the fact that i am, actually, a bear, therefore still hibernating.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kenya trip: the most amazing things part 2

Glowing water. Have you seen the movie Beach? Or read the book? If you have, you might remember them talking about the glowing water. Well, right, literal exaggeration, i thought...before i actually witnessed it on the beach in Lamu. I can't believe our Lamu friends were not advertising this to us. We were having this amazing night and were still mesmerised by the abundance of stars in the sky (I don't think i've ever seen so many stars in my life) when we had the brilliant idea to take a lovely dip in the ocean. And then the water....OH MY was truly glowing. You could just stroke the surface and it would leave a trail of sparkling bits. I felt like a good fairy, lighting the ocean, with my hands, my feet, my body...and when the water splashed on the clothes, the drops glowed there for some moments. You can not believe the childish elation we were in, completely oblivious of the surroundings or even the fact that we were not wearing any clothes. As it turns out the glowing water effect or bioluminescence has not really ever been scientifically explained. We found out as much that it only happens when Mr. Moon is hiding and only the stars cast the light. And i read that all bioluminescent reactions occur in the presence of oxygen. Two types of chemicals are required- a luciferin and a luciferase. So, deriving from that...lucifer and so on....there was definitely something devilish going on. Maybe that was when we fell so much in love with Lamu. The perfect day. Sometimes you get days which may start off as perfectly ordinary ones but during which you already start getting the feeling that they might turn into the kind to remeber for the rest of your life. One of those days was Wednesday, February 25th. We took a dhow trip because that is what you do when on Lamu, but ours was different from the beginning because we got to do it with our friends. So we were me, N, Baji, Iggy, our food provider the Fishman and new addition to the group - Hannah. We sailed, swam, chillaxed, Fishman harpooned fish and octopus for our lunch, we cooked food, we chillaxed some more on Manda beach. We were just sighing how much we'd love a cold beer when suddenly, like out of thin air, cold beers appeared, accompanied by some ganja-smoking, funny as hell rasta-guys. And then we sailed to the floating bar, listened to Bob Marley, had a couple of more beers and watched the sunset. Then we met Maley and Freeman. Then we were taken back to our hotel for shower and some relaxing (considering how stressful the day had been so far) and later were picked up by Habiba again and taken back to floating bar. That day really did go on forever. After that we took the boat back to town and partied til early morning hours and it was all good-good-good. Perfect, one might say, actually. I only got back to my hotel for breakfast time.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Kenya trip: the most amazing things part 1

Safari. If you ever go to Kenya or any of the neighbouring countries and are questioning whether or not to do safari, stop right there and just do it! Fearing to sound like an easily amused American, i have to say safari was amazing. Who knew i'd be so mesmerised by animals. Or N, for that matter, the world-known animal-lover:) But i mean, who wouldn't be in awe when you get to see a family of lions up close and personal, or 70 elephants slowly and elegantly cruising through the Masai Mara. Don't even get me started on how funny the hippos were or how pretty the zebras and giraffes or or cheetah was teaching it's cubs how to hunt a baby gasell. I learned more about animal world in 4 days than i have in my whole life. Did you know that animals are jumping around in the morning when the sun is up again because they are happy and darkness is scary :) or that all the different species have a lot of structure in their life, like avoiding inbreeding, even if for some it means living a polygamous and for some monogamous family life. Having George as a guide was helpful, too. I think you always are more eager to learn when the teacher's hot :) We were really lucky with the group as well - Bas, Kim, Caroline, Edward and Sidi - thanks guys for good company!

Lamu. I take a bow, pause for a second and say Lamu again. This little island really captured my heart. It's the little paradise in hiding. But paradise with a twist, not picture perfect and ideal, but perfect with its little flaws. After we'd had the 4-day safari we honestly did think the best part of the trip was over and we were actually quite fine with that. We had to leave a good group and great experiences behind, but boy did we get proven wrong, the best part was yet to come. We had a short stopover in Mombasa but were luckily chased away from there by that eager self-proclaimed tour guide who wouldn't get off our backs. So we escaped to Lamu (we literally escaped early in the morning) for a couple of days, or so we thought. We ended up staying til the end of the trip, stretching the stay til the last bit. Lamu is an island where time travels differently. It's like being lost in parallel universe. It's all too good to be true and even when you acknowledge you're lost in some surreal life, it still feels too strange to be true. How many times did me an N look at each other in all earnesty and say: "Is this for real?!"

I'm really torn on what to tell you guys about Lamu. Part of me wants to keep it to myself and part of me knows bits of it needs to stay in the surreality because you won't believe it anyway. I have to stop now anyway, i'm tired. More tomorrow.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I'm sure you'll recognize people on the pics by my descriptions or i haven't done a very good job at all:)

Kenya trip: The people

N. When it comes to the people, i have to start with N. You all know her but not many of you have travelled with her. I think me and N work great together as a team when travelling. I seriously think we should apply for a state support as ambassadors of Estonia and travel the world, we work wonders on promoting our country. Don't be surprised to find that a little boy in a remote village near Masai Mara has eaten Estonian candy or to find a dhow in Lamy cruising under Estonian flag. Me and N, we find the nicest places and the nicest people. And i believe we also get the best prices when we discuss the price in the language no one understands, trying hard to hold back laughter and keep a straight face when all we're saying is that it's excellent and let's get it but let's torture the poor guy some more for a better price:) Like we did in Shella for the guesthouse or like we did when negotiating the price for the safari. Yes, if you ask me, i think me and N travel well together. And what this trip did was bring us even closer together.

George. George was our driver and guide at the 4-day safari trip and he deserves a mention. George is black as night, a very proud man, funny, sharp as a pencil and quite hot. George is also a very wise man, having done the guide work for 8 years he knows everything about all the animals. Thanks to George we now know that Cheetah always hunts alone because he is capable of that. Lions, however, sometimes have to cooperate because they are not as fast. We now also know that Rhino has a very bad eyesight and attackts just anything that moves because it could be a potential threat or that Hyenas (ugly little things) can walk for hundreds of kilometers because they're built this way and that they cannot make a kill but they have the world's strongest jaws so they can chew even through bones. George is from the same tribe as Obama, which is the Luo tribe (one of the around 40 different tribes) and therefore he is especially proud of his bro Barack and even has his speech as a mobile ring and wears his picture on his t-shirt.

Iggy and Baji. I talk about Iggy and Baji together because thats how we met them. Iggy and Baji run a little bookstore together in Lamu. They're "our people" that much is clear from the very beginning. There's such a good chemistry and by the end of the first day we're spending all the free time together. Iggy is a sweet and funny guy, he's fit, has a nice smile and his skin is charcoal black. He's funny and understand irony, which is probably one of the reasons we click so well. Baji looks like a devil. When he's serious, and you don't really know him, he might even look slightly frightening, but he's as sweet as can be - very caring and amusing and takes an immediate liking towards us. Those 2 are the first ones who make us feel so welcome on Lamu that it's clear from the beginning we're staying for longer than couple of days.

Maley. Maley, Maley, what can i say. He's tall, dark and handsome. His skin is chocolate brown so he is not as dark as most people we've met here. He's slender and each one of the muscles on his body is toned. He wears his hair in dreads, which have bleached slightly with sun and saltwater. He dresses well and likes to wear a lot of bling. Maley's our captain. He's the proud owner of the dhow Habiba. Sexy Habiba he calls it and it is his baby, his love. The first time we see Maley when we're at the floating bar, having had already one of the best days of our lives. We'd spent the day on Habiba so Maley came looking for his baby, following its smell, or so he claimed. He arrives at the bar, shaking what his mama gave him an in no time we're all shaking what our mamas gave us. Maley must also be one of the funniest people i've met. There were moments when neither me or N couldn't stop laughing at what Maley was saying and it just seemed effortless from his part. He claims he's got internet in his head and there might be something to it because as laid back and chillaxed as he is, he's got it all under control and he can somehow even talk to a deaf-mute guy.

Freeman. Freeman's Maley's cousin and another one of the rasta culture people. Freeman is not his real name but absolutely everyone here has a nickname and they're mostly very becoming. When we first meet Freeman we also give him our own nickname - the carrot top, because his dreads are short and spiky. Come to think of it - looks nothing like carrot but it seemed fitting then. Freeman's is definitely one of the people who adds a lot to us feeling like queens on this little paradise island. He seems to be somewhere in his own world and most of the time he seems to be lost in the ganjaworld but he's got it all together. He is a marvellous cook and he takes such good care of us. One day we plan to go on a boat to watch the sunset. For that, Freeman cooks the food and him and Maley have decorated Habiba with purple flowers. I love those guys, i swear!

Hannah. Finally, a girlfriend getting a mention. We meet Hannah on the "perfect day" (more about that later). She's a new addition to our dhow trip. At first we can't figure her out. She's very slender and white-skinned and seems like such a grey mouse, but thankfully she proves us wrong in no time. As it turns out, she couldn't figure us out either. In a couple of hours it's clear that she's on of "ours" and the whole chemistry of the group is just excellent. Hannah has humour, she drinks beer and doesn't say no to ganja and she says shit and fuck a lot. Quite different from what we first expected and not your typical nurse (because that's her job, you know). She also likes to shake what her mama gave her and she, too, is instantly drawn to us. It's strange that there are those people all around the world who're "your people" yet you have to travel to Lamu to meet them. Anywhow, girlfriend's coming to visit us in Tallinn very soon and i think all three of us will go back to Lamu quite soon.

Yves La Rock

Africa, my love

This travel diary is not going to work out as a travel diary. I am lacking structure in my head for it. Maybe it's not supposed to be structural, maybe Africa is not. Or Maybe Kenya is not. Or maybe my trip was not. After all, there were no plans, no itinerary, no places booked.
But there are some things in my head. There's people - the characters of my book, there's amazing situations, and incredible coincidences. And there's even a soundtrack. It features some really good reggae by the likes of Richie Spice and Bob Marley, and some hiphop & r'n'b by the likes of Lemar, Akon and John Legend but first and foremost there's the one song which i have to bring to you. It's in my next post.

Good morning

Here i am, hung over from the big night out because the swedes were back in town and that called for a party. Naaaaah, i'm too old for staying up til 7....
And what about that dream i had, hmmmmm, that one was strange.
And, here i am thinking i should quickly write my travel diary before new emotions take over.
Ok, maybe later, too tired now.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hakuna matata!

Jambo, my dear friends. I am back from my trip to Kenya. I am alive and well and i did not get robbed and nothing was stolen from me except for a big part of my heart. Never in my life have i met so many friendly people and never in my life have i felt so much caring from almost strangers than during the last week of my trip. I had THE BEST TIME EVER!

I hope i can find enough inspiration in me to write about my whole experience even though it is difficult to put it into words and even though i sometimes feel i would like to keep it hidden from the rest of the world.

Since the whole life in Kenya is very pole-pole (slowly-slowly) you can imagine how pole-pole am i during my first day at work. You better believe that the blog will be coming along very pole-pole as well. Bear with me!