Of Soul-Homes, Sky-Temples and Safaris: Part 5
|Me the beach by our hotel in Mombasa|
There are few places in the world where one feels genuinely happy, happy within. Mecca was one of those places; Saif-ul-Malook in Pakistan, and Masai Mara were others, and Mombasa, though very very lovely, was not – at least not for me. The beach was truly idyllic â€“ powdery-white sands, balmy blue waters, plush green palm trees â€“ and the White Sands hotel was truly honeymooner-heaven, with its spas and saunas and bars and nightclubs and white-curtained bay-windows. Mombasa was, overall, a rather merry little place, as all port-towns are apt to be, and the old Muslim quarter was just charming – it reminded me very much of the Walled City back in Lahore. Arab traders founded the island-city in the 11th century, and in 1698 Muslims from Oman won it back from the Portuguese after two centuries of abrasive Portuguese rule (incidentally, the famous Portuguese-built Fort Jesus isn’t that great at all â€“ at least not after you’ve seen the Mughal forts of Lahore and Delhi!). The area was taken over by the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1840, and finally came under the control of the British in 1898, who made it the capital of their East Africa protectorate.
|White Sands, Mombasa|
I don’t know what you’d think, but I generally found the place too touristy for my liking. A great holiday spot for most people, I’m sure, but I’d much rather live two weeks in a tree-house in Samburu, or camp out at Fig Tree and see the leopards by night, or trek up to tiger-haven Rathangore in India, or to Kanchanaburi in Thailand and visit the fabled temple of the tigers (oh dream!).
If you want to get out, you will, if you want to be free, you will, if you want to hear, smell, feel, touch, understand, see the jungles for yourself â€“ you will!
You just have to want it passionately enough. Leave the rest to the universe.
Now get your bum off that sofa and go see the world!
Kwaheri, na safari njema! (Farewell, and bon voyage!)