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February 23, 2002

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This morning we re-entered Kenya by plane. We landed at Mombasa, the largest port in East Africa. Mombasa spreads over Mombasa island, connected to the mainland by bridges on one side and guarded by an old Portugese fort on the ocean side. It's a place where Arab, Indian, European, and African influences meet. Hindu Temple stands next to Muslim mosque, the architecture of the old fort shows Portugese and Arabic influence, and Old Town's hanging balconies and tight alleyways display a mix of Indian, Arabic, and African designs. Earliest historical records reveal that Arabic traders settled here in the 12th century. Swahili, the dominant language, means 'coast' in Arabic. The Portugese came in the 1500's, and the city changed hands nine times between the 1600-1800's while various European and Arabic countries vied for control. Indian immigrants arrived seeking their fortunes and adding their own touches to Mombasa's cultural heritage.
Covered women shop in covered markets.
View of Mombasa's "New Town" from our hotel balcony.
How does she plan to get a tan in that outfit?