Thursday, 11 November 2010

WATAMU Nov 6th
The flight from Nairobi, on Air 540, was fine save that the plane held 30 passengers at full capacity and was, therefore, shunted around a bit more by the inevitable turbulence. Any comparison with security in the USA or Britain is impossible and hilarious. I went through a door, straight from the pavement, at Nairobi Airport which said departures. A bloke took a cursory look at a print-out of my flight details. There was one scanning machine. I had forgotten to take my computer through separately but it didn’t seem to matter. Malindi Airport was something else. Bags dropped by hand at the door from the tarmac. Nicky Parazzi waiting right by the door to fetch me.  I suppose it was only an internal flight.
We did a couple of things in Malindi before the short drive north to Watamu. Nicky knows everyone, it seems, and has an ease and familiarity with Swahili and the African that I think is unusual. She talked non-stop, which she always has. I am still trying to get my head around the exact function of the Turtle Watch because Nicky’s explanations tend to go the roundabout route. Essentially it is coastal conservation in the widest sense with the turtles as the flagship. I do not think those on site at the Turtle Watch will develop much of a programme for me until Monday. Ideally I would like to accompany anyone who is doing fieldwork with a view to assessing its suitability for a small group of Wellington students. I suspect that much of the work on the impact of agriculture, tourism and climate change on the coastal environment and, especially, water quality, will bear fruit in a longer term than the week any students would have available. So I am going to try to assess the feasibility of a study based more on short term variables in the local ecosystem with a bit of practical/factual assimilation thrown in.
One thing I do appreciate, which I take for granted at home, is ease of travel. I am trying to sort out how to get from Nairobi to Gilgil ( location of Pembroke House prep school ) and back over the weekend of Nov 19-21. There is no train or bus. I am certainly not going to risk a drive, having been taken round the edge of the city at 9.00 this morning and seen matutu buses and taxis in full competition. There is not a flight, as it is only 100 miles. It is a conundrum and I may have to use the services of a driver.
I’m taking it all in at the moment. Much of it looks chaotic but it sort of works, even if it does so at its own leisurely pace. I’m about to switch off the light and will fall asleep to the sound of cicadas and distant dogs, the sweetish smell of warm dust and safe in the knowledge that the two geckos on the wall will deal with any mosquitoes.

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