Photographer's Note

If you look at a map of Kenya, and look at the northeast near Somalia, you will see a small island called "Lamu". Surprisingly few tourists visit Lamu, despite its stunning 12-kilometer white sand beach and its peaceful Islamic community. There are no cars, and plenty of donkeys, and although this island is not well known to tourists who prefer the flashier Zanzibar, it is well known among Muslims as the best place in the world to celebrate Mohammed's week-long birthday party. (

However, if you had a more detailed map, you would see an even smaller island called "Pate", an island with no cars and hardly any bicycles, an island so remote that people walk from one side to the other (two hours, just in case you wanted to know) and our guide told us that an average of 100 tourists visit there every year, most of them curious about the Chinese history (broken Chinese pottery from as early as the 1300s cover the ground).

The men there are Muslims and live simple lives, wearing long skirt-like wraps and surviving off of their daily catch of fish. The soil is fertile and produces all sorts of wonderful tropical fruit, and the fish are plentiful. Our guide walked us to the other side of the island and introduced us to this man, who was the designated "hotel" owner (i.e. his house) in that village.

We stayed with him for a night, and the next day he wanted a portrait with his boat before I left. I took this, finding it interesting that he cared not to look directly at the camera, as most Kenyans had. Then he slowly wrote his address for me, which was an underwhelming two lines, including his name, the village he lived in, and "Lamu" (which of course was far away for him--a two-hour ferry ride).

Visiting far-flung places is really what excites me most about travelling, and I would like to put together a travelogue on Lamu sometime later, as well as Eritrea.

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Additional Photos by Soon Ah Kim (redsonja) Silver Note Writer [C: 1 W: 0 N: 14] (78)
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