For part 2 of the Lamu posts, first a little history and some dry facts:-
Lamu town was founded in the 14th Century by Arab traders and until 1907, when it was abolished, its main income was from the slave trade.
The Portuguese invasion began in 1506, the Portuguese having a virtual monopoly on shipping along the East African coast.
In the 1580’s Lamu led a rebellion against the Portuguese prompted by Turkish raids.
In 1652, Lamu was assisted by Oman in lifting Portuguese control.
Lamu’s years as an Omani protectorate mark the town’s golden age.
During this period, Lamu became a center of poetry, politics, arts and crafts as well as trade.
Since the 1970’s its economy has been primarily based on tourism, although it does still function as a busy port.
The town’s population are predominantly Muslim.
Ok, thats enough of that……….
What this means in practise for slowly de-stressing photographers on the run from a life in a country they have grown to hate and the craziness of Nairobi is;- beautiful buildings with intricately carved doors and cool breezy courtyards (a prime reason for its UNESCO world heritage ranking) , a maze of tiny streets (which reminded me of a cleaner version of parts of Varanasi in India) , amazing sea food, a few choice bars (which I’m told during the high season are filled to bursting with Kenyan prostitutes from the mainland) and a promenade bustling with life.
There are the inevitable hassles of silver tounged beach boys looking to make a fast $ from tourists or find a rich western girl to take them to the bright lights of the big city and some ecological issues caused by the towns ever-increasing waste management issues and thirst for electricity.
For me, it was a glorious week of sunshine and relaxation.
(Big thanks to Hassani , Maffi and the Germans I hung out with while I was there ;-)
And so, a gallery of unashamedly tourist shots, with a few Uchujinesque gems thrown in for good measure.