The drive back from the airport was strange, surreal. The loud markets with meat hanging from hooks, the bars blaring the match of the day, the smog, dust and horns bursting from cars trapped in a jam and the crowds thronging our car hoping to sell air time and newspapers contrasted so sharply with the silent beach paradise where I had woken that morning. I felt strangely calm in this confusion. I had woken by the ocean where the bluest sky kissed the lapis sea, where the sand was baking hot. Now I was back in the land of bodas and sidewalk roasted meat. I was coming back to earth, slowly but surely but I was carrying the sea inside of me. We all were.
It was hard to believe that for 9 days I had been on the edge of the world.
Luxury is never over rated. I have just spent 9 days on a beach at the tip of Lamu island in the Indian Island and the entire time I was caressed in the lap of luxury.
Lamu is a small island off the coast of Kenya, with one car and plentiful donkeys. Most people chose to stay at the delightful Shela beach where the famous Peponi Hotel is located but we stayed further afar on a beach over 20 kms from Lamu town. Few people ever visit this corner of Lamu where the beach is deserted and we only needed to share our sunset walk with ghost crabs. If the beach was too hot we lay on swinging beds and read in the shade while the children leapt in and out of the pool. Our evening meal was caught by fishermen and brought to our kitchen, our chef made us a cake each day and served it with afternoon tea and the only dilemma I toyed with was whether to have two slices or three.
One sunset we climbed the dunes behind the house where cushions were laid on a mat and we sipped drinks over looking a 180 degree view of the Indian Ocean. After the children arrived, having climbed the sandy hills on donkeys, Samburo warriors arrived to dance for us as the sun slowly slipped away. Our last night we ate under the stars while lobster caught that day was grilled on a fire by our fabulous chef. Once dinner was over we lay on cushions beside the fire and star gazed until, sleepy from the heat of the day we walked barefoot back to the house.
I am a lucky girl and my inner princess was satisfied greatly by the 9 days I spent on Lamu. Best of all I was with my London family and my children frolicked with cousins all day long. My sister, who is more princess than I, lay beside me for hours each day, laughing and gasping over our perfectly good fortune.
I feel restored by these days spent by the sea. I have washed away the dust of Kampala, for a time and have nurtured my family, my soul and my mind.
It was magical. I long to return.