Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mfangano Island

One reality of travel that is always re-impressed upon me is how many crazy adventures arise simply trying to get to the next town.

I woke up in Homa Bay, and desired to end up in Sena, the "capital" of Mfangano Island.  One matatu, a hike, a ferry, a motorcycle ride, a mountain bike, a rain storm, and another hike later, I ended up staying in a hotel room that looked like this from the inside when the door was closed and the curtains were pulled.  

What, you ask, is blocking out what little light is blocked between the slats in the door?  Spit wads, i.e. chewed up paper.

HOWEVER, that room doesn't even make the Top 5 highlights of my trip to Mfangano Island.  Those are below, in chronological order:

#1: Fellow Passengers On The Ferries

This is a bull tied up next to a Bronco.  If that's not a joke waiting to happen...

#2: Lake Victoria Scenery

#3: Rainstorm

Mfangano is reportedly anywhere from 40-56k in circumference, via a car-width trail that shouldn't really be traversed by cars. I rented a mountain bike, and like in Ukewere, set off to circumnavigate the island - to much laughter by the locals.  

Things were going well until it started to rain.  It didn't actually rain for very long, but it awakened some vengeful mud demon napping just beneath our feet and the entire trail became the mud equivalent of wet cement.  I turned around, but ended up pulling and carrying my bike nearly the entire way back because the wheels would no longer turn.

That's a couch on the back of a motorcycle

#4: The Ladies In The Rain

I rode/pushed/pulled/dragged my bike upon a scene straight out of a Tom Stoppard play.  I can imagine the stage directions: 

At the end of a long day a handful of ladies wait silently under a tree for the lethargic rain to stop.  Each holds luggage, either in hand or on head.  A damp stranger who doesn't know the language happens upon the scene.  Using hand gestures the ladies indicate the stranger is to take their picture.  Each drops their luggage and assumes a stance like they face a firing squad.  The stranger shows the ladies the result.  Encounter fulfilled, the parties separate.

#5: The Kids On Takawiri Island

Kissy faces all around.

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