4 days in Nairobi, our new city. Still feels strange and not as real yet. I start my first day at work tomorrow; I can’t believe I haven’t worked in 9 months! Time flies when you’re having fun. =) I remember when Mike and I first started on this crazy adventure/move in March. Back then, it felt like it would be a long time if you didn’t work for 9 months. Everyone says, “you’re so brave, I wouldn’t be able to do that.” But really it’s much easier than you think to take that leap. A leap of faith that everything will work out fine. I’m sure I’ll look back and it will be a minor blip in my work history but such an amazing, fulfilling 9 months.
Anyhow, more on Nairobi later, but I wanted to post a reminiscing post about Dar and what I’ll miss most about it. The beautiful beaches and the ocean! There are two main islands off the coast of Dar that people can go to for the weekend, or you can head down to the southern beaches too. The two islands are called Bongoyo and Mbudya. A few weekends ago, Mike and I went to Mbudya Island with some friends. Mbudya is further north than Bongoyo and smaller, but it has a larger beach area where you can hang out. We took a bajaj up to White Sands Resort, which is about 20-30 minutes north of the Peninsula depending on traffic. At the White Sands entrance, you pay for the 30 minute boat ride and the marine reserve fee ($25 USD each for reserve fee plus round trip boat ride).
After you arrive on Mbudya, there are two beaches on either side of the island to hang out on. We didn’t get there until late in the afternoon and the whole first side was full, so we headed to the other side. We got one of the last bandas on that side, thank goodness! It costs 10,000 Tsh ($6 USD) to rent a thatched banda hut for the day. We spent most of our time in the water since it was so hot and the water felt so nice.
From the banda, you can order food and drinks, so we got our ocean delivery of warm beer (no refrigeration on the island sorry!). No matter, it was fun anyway just to hang out on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
After we came in from the water, our fried fish and chips (fries) were waiting for us. I don’t know what it is about swimming in the ocean, but it always makes me hungry! The fish was delicious and we devoured it in a heartbeat with our salty fingers. We stayed on the island until it was close to sunset time and took the last boat back to White Sands.
We had so much fun at Mbudya that Mike and I went to Bongoyo Island on our last Sunday in Dar. We couldn’t leave Dar without checking Bongoyo out too. We were staying at the Slipway serviced apartments and conveniently, the boat to Bongoyo leaves right from the Slipway dock. It costs the same to get to Bongoyo as Mbudya. We took the 1:30pm boat there with a Chinese group (there are a lot of people from China here in East Africa doing a lot of the construction of roads and buildings).
Bongoyo has just one small sandy peninsula on the northern end where you can hang out. Mike and I rented a banda with some wood and rope reclining seats. Very relaxing. I think there is a trail you can go hiking on through the middle of the island, but it was again SO HOT that day, that the few yards I went down the trail was literally steaming and also swarming with bugs. Turn back to the water! It was really cool to see some big baobab trees along the trail though and there are some right on the cliffs of the island.
It’s quite stunning to stand out on the edge of Bongoyo and have turquoise water on all 3 sides. I think after being to both islands, Mike and I prefer Bongoyo. It’s more convenient to get to, and the beach is just as nice. It doesn’t feel crowded even though you are all in one area, there’s just not that many people there.
There is one corner of the bay where there is a rocky tide pool. I saw some people standing over there so I decided to check it out. It gave me a little shock when I saw tons of slithering eels coming in and out of the shallow pool. Ahh! I’ve never seen eels this close to shore and in such shallow water, only when I’m diving. Turns out the food hut there throws their crab scraps out there and the eels wait there to fight over the scraps. While I was standing there, sure enough they threw a crab in and I swear there were at least 30 eels scrambling around in the water. Creepy!
And so we ended our last weekend in Dar together with a great Sunday on Bongoyo. I will miss this so much, but I’m sure we will get to know and love Nairobi in time as well. Wish me luck on my first day at work tomorrow!