After packing, breakfast, and checking out I still had a couple hours until I needed to head for the embassy and airport. I'd planned on checking out the weekly Maasai market, walking around the city, checking email, and getting lunch. I made it to the market. I'd gotten the feeling that the market wasn't going to be that interesting - I was wrong. I recognized many of the owners of market stalls and curio shops buying there. Things were much more reasonable (with bargaining - of course), and there was a fantastic selection. Plus I felt better about giving the money directly to the crafts people. Also there were items from all over Africa. I spent my entire two hours there and only made it about half way through the market. I had picked out a number of things that I was going to go back and buy but was rudely interrupted when I asked someone the time and realized I was already fifteen minutes late. As it was I bought an old Maasai calabash (decorated gourd used to carry milk), an Ethiopian cross, a pair of sandals (requested by a friend at home), and a beaded bracelet. If I'd had the time I would have spent at least $100 more...
Rushed back to the hotel to collect my luggage and meet Henry (my taxi driver). Got to the Ethiopian embassy minutes before their closing for lunch and picked up my passport with the shinny new Ethiopian visa (if I'd missed them it wouldn't have been a huge deal - I'd just have to pick it up Friday morning - I'm more comfortable having it with me). At the airport checked in and got hit up because my luggage was about twice the allowance but a smile and a handshake was bribe enough.
The plane is a nine seater Cessna Caravan I - I have no idea how old. The flight is far from smooth but very scenic - also longer than I thought, almost two hours.
Took a short ferry from Manda Island (where the airport is) to Lamu. Set up in a very nice hotel right on the water for about $11 (low season means bargaining is quite productive). Spent the evening wandering around doing my best to get lost. Lamu is a lot like Zanzibar - except it's dirty, rat infested, rusting, and crumbling at the edges. It's also a lot more friendly and feels a lot more authentic - it hasn't been white washed over yet. The winding back streets are almost reminiscent of Fés or even Aleppo - no way cars are ever going to invade here. A sudden and very unexpected rain chased me inside, luckily at one of three places on the island where you can get a beer (at least cold), plus it's up above to catch the breeze and overlooks the channel between Lamu and Manda.
Wandered around again after dark - I can't believe how different these places feel once the sun goes down. Lamu has a definite buzz after dark - totally unlike Zanzibar. Had a great dinner of street food (samossas plus sin-sin for desert - kind of like peanut brittle with sesame seeds instead of peanuts).