Our second day of Mafia mellowness started with Matt granting me some much appreciated free time from Sam. While the two of them played chess at the hostel, I headed down to the pier arrowing off from Kilindoni and strolled the 2 kilometre stretch of nothingness along its grey boards, out to an open and unfenced twenty metre platform at the end.
Buffetted by strong winds, I sat in the centre of the platform and looked out to the endless Indian Ocean. An eeriness swept over me, as I reminded myself it would be very foolish to fall off the platform. I don’t know why I would have ever fallen off, but I reminded myself just the same.
After I returned, the three of us took another walk along the beach to Kilindoni, but this time with the intention of getting a local minibus across the island to the ferry to Chole, the ancient capital, which sat on a tiny island off the coast, and was now home to all of the ritzy resorts on the island.
The bus was filled with Islamic women and children, adorned in colourful robes highlighted with sparkling jewelry and metal threads. An hour drive to the ferry, which consisted of a runabout with an outboard, and we were away across the emerald waters to Chole with our three African fellow passengers.
‘Sam is pretty chilled, Jab,’ Mat said. ‘I don’t know how my kids would go if I got them to do this sort of stuff.’
‘Oh yes, travel doesn’t faze him at all these days.’
We jumped into the warm shallows and waded ashore, shoes in hand. A walk around some nineteenth century ruins of jails and administrative headquarters revealed the stone buildings were only standing because the strangling figs growing in their courtyards and rooms were holding them together.
I pretended to Sam I was stuck behind the bars.
‘It is Azkaban!’ he cried.
But I couldn’t see any Dementors floating about.
We looped back through a cute village with no roads, only walking tracks, and the primary school where a baobab dominated the grassed playground. The children, in their white shirts and emerald pants and skirts gazed and giggled at the wazungus.
Our relatively short excursion landed us back soon enough at the verandah, once again watching the tide come in while we played chess and practised juggling and catching.
‘I never learned to juggle,’ Matt said.
‘It’s not a skill that is normally required in surgery,’ I reminded him
Another spectacular sunset saw the sky lit high in crimsons and pinks, reflecting on the water like a Turner seascape. There was a lot of time where we all just looked and nobody spoke. My heart rate was possibly the slowest it had been in the entire trip.
Unfortunately that night my heart picked up tempo Booming reggae and African dance music thumped across the village all night. We were to learn later that it was a wedding, which I suppose made it more understandable. It stopped at 4am but then restarted, much to my and Sam’s irritation, 20 minutes later. It wasn’t like you could call the police to complain. Just before dawn, the music had to compete with the call to prayers from the mosque. It made for an interesting contrast in vocals. At least I couldn’t hear the mosquitoes hovering inside my net.