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Somali pirate threat a joke

December 1, 2011

Malindi is a small town about 20 minutes drive from Medina Palms and it was decided yesterday, and not necessarily by the men in the party, that a spot of African retail therapy was required.

My malarial fever being at its height, and with the swimming pool empty, I expressed the opinion that I would perhaps impede the enjoyment of the shopping experience and that maybe I would stay behind as there is a great deal more detail that I must soak up as a representative of Medina Palms, and ultimately it was that comment which sealer my fate. Apparently, in order properly to represent this fine development, I needed to visit the biggest local commercial area in order to impart full details to impending customers. So said that nice lady decorator, and thus my fate was sealed.

Men will know and sympathise straight away with that situation where one is not feeling ones best and one is then dragged into at least 16 shops (and here I use the term loosely, scruffy little caves might be nearer the mark) in equatorial heat with air conditioning a thing of the very far future to search for cushion covers. My continual bleating about stopping for a coffee was ignored and so I found myself slumped in various chairs in various murky corners of Africa whilst that nice last decorator searched for that perfect purchase

There is a stronger Arab African influence here than in Watamu which like much of Kenya is broadly Christian. That means there is a wider range of shopping available from the Masai beads through African carvings to Italian goods, because many Italians have also made their second homes here, allegedly due monies gleaned from involvement in the Italian “insurance” business if you get my meaning.

There is also a number of material shops and eventually in one of these Aladdin’s caves, Ali Baba sold her the items she required, but a more fearsome haggler he can seldom have encountered. If he had 40 thieves to start with, the number would have risen to 41 had he taken on that nice lady decorator, such was the level of discount she extracted from him. He honestly looked like he had seen enough of tourists by the time she left.

Talking of thieves, Somali pirates have had an effect on the outside perception of safety in Kenya, but now I am here, I can see that it amuses the locals rather than posing a serious threat. Actually the only threat is the damage the story does to the tourist industry. At least the locals can smile about it, as my picture today shows.

A couple of pirates together

It was taken at PiriPan, the sun downer restaurant and bar I wrongly described as Pourrapiri yesterday. It looks like the guy on the left is more of a pirate than the cartoon, certainly when it comes to describing himself as a writer.

Following our return from the retail delights offered at Malindi, we returned to Watamu to collect my new-made-to-measure tailored turquoise shorts (don’t tell my style guru Mr Humphreys if you see him and he is free). So pleased am I with these items which cost me 900 Kenyan shillings, a full £6.50 at today’s exchange rates according to the best foreign exchange service Currencies Direct, that I promptly ordered another pair in lime green, together with a matching hand-made shirt which I shall look forward to showing off at the best Regs golf tournament, weather permitting. They will pick up the green trim on my silver golf shoes perfectly.

It is true that after a siesta sun downers were required but being less than on full song, I retired early, after the soup, to sleep, at least that was the idea, but the drink fueled cackling that I have loved for many a year could still be heard by the pool late in the evening.

Chris France

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