|We posted this poisonous centipede photo, a creature in the crustacean family, that we took shortly after we’d arrived. A few nights ago, I encountered another of these on the bathroom wall during the night. In the flurry of activity, I didn’t stop to take another photo. I didn’t scream, but I did awaken Tom, who promptly got the dustpan and brush, flushing it down the toilet. For days, I worried it would come back up the toilet causing me to check out the toilet bowl frequently. This is the one creature I fear.|
Last night after dinner, Tom prepared to do the dishes as always, only to discover we had no running water. Not a dribble. No way to flush to the toilet. No way to shower in the morning. Oh.
|The long walk from the security area at Sails Restaurant on which vehicles aren’t allowed. At night, when returning in the dark, a security guard escorts us on the walk.|
Jeri, Hans’ wife, has contacted a plumber. We wait. Is it another broken pipe? A pump no longer pumping? What could it be? With no city water in Kenya, property owners are dependent upon well water with small water towers dotting the landscape.
|This tented area is the location of the Sails Restaurant at the Almanara Resort, one of our favorites thus far.|
Who are we to complain when the highway we frequent is littered with shacks where there’s no water, no electricity, and only fires for cooking? I continue to remind myself of this when these situations occur, finding little comfort in the discomfort of others.
|The beach we hadn’t been able to see in the dark the last time we dined at Sails Restaurant at the Almanara Resort, almost walking distance from our home in Diani Beach. (We always take a cab each way due to dangers on the highway).|
Last Sunday we ran out of cooking fuel for a day finding ourselves eating tuna out of the can with coleslaw, sliced tomatoes, and carrot sticks on the side for dinner, the likes of which we’ve never had before.
The previous week we had no power during almost an entire day and a few days later, during an entire night. After all, we’re living in a third world country. What did we expect? Utilities working? A microwave? A stove that turns on when you turn the dial? A TV? High-speed Internet? Air conditioning? A bug-free zone?
|Arriving a little after 6:00 pm, we were finally able to see the property at Sails Restaurant, part of the Almanara Resort. Locals are proud that their Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, had stayed at this resort some months ago.|
Our expectations are subject to the environment from whence we came, what’s familiar. If one never had a computer, one may dismiss it as an unnecessary frivolity. It’s all a matter of what we’ve become used to, isn’t it? There’s no right or wrong in this fact. It is what it is.
|After dinner, as we awaited our cab, we lounged in this seating area in the dark.|
We decided to live in these conditions. No one forced us. Will naivety suffice as an excuse for not knowing these things could happen? Perhaps, in part. Perhaps, in part, our desire for adventure led us down this road to a lack of basic familiarities which simply “goes with the territory.”
|The moon and the ocean, never disappoint.|
Me, who showers every morning without exception, poured a bit of bottled water into the bathroom sink doing the best I could do, dressing in the same clothes I wore yesterday (clean underwear, of course). Wearing the same clothes twice, was out of my realm in my old life. Now, there’s no chance of such frivolity, of such wastefulness.
So, what do we do? We wait. We don’t complain to one another. Hopefully, by 5:00 PM we’ll have water again, hot water after we push the button to get the water to heat in 20 minutes, so we can shower before going out to dinner.
|The moon never disappoints.|
Hopefully, we’ll be able to wash the dishes before we leave, the 3 pots I used to make dinner last night, now crustily sitting in the kitchen along with the dirty plates and flatware.
I resign myself in the knowledge that somehow I needed to learn these lessons; to not take conveniences for granted, to appreciate the most basic of amenities, to diligently and discriminatingly use whatever is readily available.
|Last week when dining at Sails Restaurant, the moon was in its full glory.|
Now, a year out, we’ve learned the following:
1. Wash and reuse plastic bags if possible.
2. Cover food in the refrigerator with a single paper towel (no Tupperware or plastic containers with lids).
3. Use small leftover pieces of bar soap for frequent hand washing.
4. Use a small flashlight when getting up in the dark to ensure no creatures are wandering about.
5. Wear the same pants, shirts, socks until they are obviously dirty or smell.
6. Always wear and carry insect repellent.
7. Don’t scream (me, only) when spotting a poisonous creature in the bathroom.
8. Use plenty of olive oil on the bottom of the metal skillet to avoid sticking (non-stick doesn’t exist here).
9. Don’t flush the toilet every time (especially now with no water).
10. Carefully monitor data usage. Don’t watch videos other than shows we’ve downloaded during the night using the “free” metered nighttime data we receive after loading more data via scratch-off cards.
11. Wash the bird poop off of the glass table every morning using ammonia, washing hands immediately thereafter.
12. Be careful when plugging anything into an outlet (220 gives quite the jolt. I know from experience).
13. Have cash on hand for tips. Credit card tips not allowed.
14. Don’t complain about the food or service aloud.
15. When walking on the road to the beach, produce stand or anywhere in public say “jambo” to every passerby.
16. Don’t feed the wildlife.
17. Clean up bits of food promptly after eating or within minutes it will be covered in ants. Don’t eat in bed. Food attracts bugs.
18. Inspect shoes, socks, clothing, and bath towels before using them.
19. Keep computers and MiFi’s plugged in while in use in the event of a power outage. We’ll have 3 hours of use on the batteries.
20. Step carefully when walking. With no codes, few handrails, or lights in public facilities, tripping hazards are many. Recently we purchased 2 tiny LED flashlights we use when going out at night.
21. Every night, upon getting into bed, check under the sheet, the pillows, around the pillows, and around the mosquito netting for whatever may be lurking there. Most victims of centipede stings have received them while sleeping in a mosquito netted bed.
|Tom sure enjoys the liter bottles of locally made Tusker beer, at KES $250, US $2.94.|
So, if the “universe” intended for us to appreciate more, to learn more, to experience more, the “universe” has succeeded. And, as any education we are fortunate enough to receive when the “hard work” is done, we feel fulfilled and grateful for the knowledge and for the opportunity to incorporate this knowledge into the remainder of our lives.
|Complimentary appetizer Tom had eaten the last time we visited Sails during our first week in Diani Beach, consisting of batter-fried seaweed and chicken stuffed puff pastries.|
|Tom enjoyed this dinner of Crab Au Gratin and fries. He gave me his plate of veggies as usual.
Look at this pile of grilled red snapper and veggies. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the freshness and flavor. The server explained that the snapper was caught in front of the property earlier that day.
I promise. I’ll never look at a Ziploc bag the same way.
|Although Tom doesn’t eat sweets when drinking beer, we got a kick out of this menu of homemade ice cream offered at Sails Restaurant.|
Note: As I write this, the plumber is here repairing the water issue. Hesborn explained that we’ll soon have water. Apparently, it was a switch in the private water tower. Guess we’ll soon flip the hot water switch in order to do the dishes in 20 minutes or so, promptly turning it off.