Most people see Malindi as a small and boring beachside resort town. I think it’s special, but I mostly because I wrote the best draft of we of the forsaken world there… I also discovered its hidden beauty accidentally. I was previously more interested in Lamu, a more secluded and traditional Swahili town, and it was the place I first wanted to go to when I returned to Nairobi. The bus ticket dealer convinced me it was cheaper to go from Nairobi to Malindi and then to buy a ticket from Malindi to Lamu, but he most probably wanted me to use his bus service. I got on the bus, and a random person from outside of the bus realized I was a foreigner and suddenly came on to ask me for money. When I didn’t give him any money, he started to insult me, curse at me, and threaten my life. I was afraid, but even more so because no one on the bus did anything. He left, and the bus drove on, and some thirty-something Christian woman began a prayer for my sake. The people on the bus clasped their hands together and sang. We reached Malindi on the next day. Small sand piles breezed between the streets and the attempts at pavement, the wind was pleasurable on my back. Its Swahili architecture reminded me of Mysore, but the smell of the vendors crisping their potatoes and the curls of the African women covered head to toe in Muslim garments gave it an atmosphere of something else. Though I liked Malindi when I had been traveling Kenya, I really loved it my second time. I decided I would rather live here than Mombasa or Lamu, and while I was going to buy an Internet dongle at a store, I was lucky enough to meet a person who worked there who happened to have a friend looking for someone to live in her house. It only ended up costing 300 dollars to live on the entire floor of a house. The roads of the neighborhood were made out of mud. The colors of the jasmine and the hibiscus covered the bushes. The nearby houses had design ranging from the Swahili to the Victorian. It was the perfect place to write.
Malindi has its own share of valuable tourist sites. Since the 14th century, Malindi has been one of the most important trade ceners of the Swahili Coast. In the 14th century the Chinese explorer Zheng He came to Malindi for the sake of trade, and the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama came with similar intensions, praising the hospitality of the city to such an extent that he erected a pillar in the city’s honor, which still remains to this day. The advanced civilizations of the Swahilis can be seen in many ruins, such as in Gede ruins, where the remnants of 15th century towers and mosques remain to this day. Malindi also has excellent beaches. Some of them are white, some of them are brown, but all of them are good places to rest a bit, enjoy life, and sink one’s feet deeply into the sand.