We caught a matatu north from Kilifi to Malindi, cramming ourselves and our big rucksacks into the front seats of the minibus. These seats are nicknamed “the death seats” and I wish we could have sat further back, the driver revving his engine impatient to go. The conductor hustled for business to fill the seats and people came up to the window to sell water, nuts, plastic haircombs. The driver offered us his newspaper to read when he saw us looking at the photo of a silently gesticulating Wenger and Guardiola. Just as we’re about to leave the driver hopped out to be replaced by another who drives north on the main road that hugs the coastline through smallholdings and forest and mud villages.
We reach Malindi, a small town by the sea, and find out hotel. We’re not here for long – just to catch a flight the following day – so we relax for a bit then when it’s cooler head into town to explore. The tuktuk driver has given himself the added job title of your guide and shouts back to us over the chugging engine, pointing out “…the bus station, and this is the petrol station and this is the butchers and this is the mosque”. We have the wind in our faces as we bump over every pothole and get a mini tour of the town.
On Jamhuri Street we buy some small spicy potato balls and a disappointingly cold samosa for about 15p from some nice guys who wrap them up in newspaper. A guy follows us for about 10 minutes chatting nonstop to Moz about football.
Along the beachfront there are lots of kids playing and in the hidden alleyways women sit out and watch as we pass, kids call out to us and old men play chequers.
It gets dark quickly and we walk to the centre to a small local place, filled with families and men from the mosque in their long white thobes (robes) and prayer caps. We share chicken and chapatti and spinach and eat with our fingers. Tomorrow we fly north to Lamu!