The long lazy days stretch out before us, yawning into eternity.
We drag our bodies out of bed and make the arduous journey of a few steps for breakfast. The menu is limited when compared to North American standard, though the choices are less taxing for lack of choice. The Indian Ocean is our view, every colour of blue represented. The beach has ashtray sand, though covered in seaweed. The bugs are drawn to the kelp and as such we are not. Humans do not lounge on the beach, though cows enjoy the sun and soak up the rays. There is however much activity walking back and forth, this is our grand plan for the day.
We discover Dhow boats being constructed during our trek. My Carpenter husband is enthralled with this ancient craft. There are entire families that camp while the work is completed on the boats. I think about my husband who travels to work and is gone for weeks at a time. Here it is a family affair and while not everyone is working directly on the boats, having family close, eliminates the sacrifice. How clever to have priorities clear like crystal.
The boats are beautiful, joints seemingly invisible, no caulking required. The work is done with hand tools, the craft passed down through the generations. My husband recognizes the medieval tools that he has only seen in a book, here they are transferred into the 21st century.
The boards are bent in a curious way, forced around nearby trees to achieve the desired shape, then placed in the fire to dry the inside while the outside is kept wet thus achieving the desired shape and curve required. It is amazing how the craftsmen know exactly the bend that they are trying to achieve without tools to guide the process.
We walk slightly off the compound to peruse shops. The items are different from what we have seen, haggling is part of the process. We find a painting of a lion that we are told was painted by the Uncle of our shopkeeper. It reminds us of the safari and seems a good choice. It is taken from the frame and rolled for our long journey home. Its interesting that there are several identical paintings of the same lion and I wonder if the Uncle is churning them out, or if a factory is doing the work.
We plan to rent kayaks. Our friend speaks the language and we order boats for later in the day. We arrive, western time at the predetermined hour and wait. The men arrive with one kayak for 8 of us. They begin the process of scrounging up more boats and life jackets. Like the Titanic there are too few of both. They scurry up and down the beach in a haphazard way, their efforts do not increase our fleet. A few of our group decline the adventure to free up resources. My normally placid husband snaps and voices his displeasure, it changes nothing.
We embark on the water with a portion of our group, some opting for no life jackets to free up the resources for those who are not good swimmers. We paddle around and the delay has allowed us to witness the most glorious sunset on the Indian Ocean. I’m glad at this moment we were detained. I sit back in my kayak and marvel at the beauty of the world. There is a lesson–good things come to those who wait, or perhaps its go with the flow? Or when in Africa, shake off the timetables, calendars and clocks of the Western world and just be…