From a distance Malindi looks like any typical Kenyan coastal town, however, her defiant demeanor hides a rich history, culture and civilizations that existed long before other parts of East Africa were inhabited.
Located 120km northeast of Mombasa, this town is characterized by swahili-inspired architecture, numerous mosques, makuti thatched houses, dusty roads, sweltering heat, humid atmosphere, salty breeze and distinct marine stench.
, House of Columns (Coelacanth museum), Portuguese Chapel and #VascodaGama
pillar are some of the major historical sites in town.
I have spent the last three days touring Malindi seeking to learn its history, which goes back to almost 2,000 years ago, experience her culture and sample her delicious meals. The engineer in me is intrigued by the structures. See, back then buildings were constructed without use of cement or steel bars. Coral stones and limestone were extensively used hence walls could be as wide as two feet. Lamu-style doors, windows and household furniture intricately carved from exotic hardwood, were the finishes of choice complete with narrow streets.
As we chill on the beach a low flying chopper hovered over, which Abdul, our guide claimed belongs to the sensational F1 personality & Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore. This explains the presence of numerous exclusive beach resorts in the area with some like Lawford's having been operational since 1930's.
Although, Malindi plays host to several communities including Arabs, Indians, Swahilis, Giriamas, Italians control a huge chunk of its economy. This is evident by how locals from kids, small-scale traders to youth speak #Italian
fluently yet can hardly converse in English.
What stood out throughout my trip is how inconsequential we human beings are in the face of time. From establishment of Swahili settlement in late 1200's, Oman Arabs rule, Chinese explorer Zheng He visit in 1414, Portuguese, Zanzibar & British rule, and now Italian dominance, Malindi has seen it all and still remains untouched.
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