41 – The Old Town, street vendors and dhow captains

Vasco da Gama Street - kongwa2london.comWhat little boy doesn’t like to explore and Mombasa’s old town was the perfect place. I walked past street vendors selling sugar cane, roasted peanuts and betel nuts wrapped in its leaves. The latter being a mild stimulant – my first experience of a ‘legal high’, if there was an age limit, I was under it. All was washed down with a drink from the chai (Kenyan style tea) seller from his conically shaped brass ur


Fort Jesus - kongwa2london.comOne approach was via Vasco da Gama Street named after the Portuguese navigator. You enter a maze of narrow streets and alleys, which would eventually take you to Fort Jesus. In the process, you passed ornate doors and balconies, a legacy from the Arabs.
dhow - kongwa2london.comThe Portuguese built Fort Jesus and was once used as a prison and is now a museum. Alongside the fort is the Old Port where the dhows docked and I would watch their cargo being loaded. It was rumoured that the dhows still traded in slaves as late as the 1960s. Looking at their captains with their bejewelled daggers tucked into their sash belt, you could believe they still did.

This little boy was not for the taking and leaving the latter-day Sinbad behind, I made my way home and back to the twentieth century.

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