It’s the rising white architecture, glowing in the bright sun. It’s the water, blue sometimes, grey sometimes and mysterious. Lamu is old but it doesn’t get old. It’s familiar yet you always see something that makes you go, ooh!?
Lamu isn’t Lamu until you do a sunset dhowride. This is where you get in a dhow turned into a floating living room (if you are two) or you get on a bigger dhow if you are in a big group, cushioned seats and all, and you drift off through the mangroves as the sun slowly falls in the horizon in a fanfare of oranges and reds.
It’s something of a climax in Lamu. It will cost you anything between Sh6,000 to Sh10,000 a pop, depending on how good you are at negotiations. (Hotels charge an arm for them, nobody books through hotels unless really they are white).
Sunsets were destined to be enjoyed with a drink in hand. I truly believe this. However, there are people who don’t drink so I can’t speak to what they should have in their hands.
Almost everybody always has a phone in their hand during the dhowride and a phone is great to document this moment but a phone also is a distraction when all you are focused on is trying to find the right angle for your social media and end up being present in the moment.
And the moment is magical. The masts always have a message or a flag or some kind of a story. If you book in the real swanky dhows they might be serving fresh oysters, those slimy things that some people love.
The sun drops faster than you imagine, it’s almost in a rush to exit stage left. So you will miss it if you aren’t attentive and darkness will quickly descend around the dhow and when that happens the charm quickly ends because it will all be dark and you could be anywhere, even in a bad dream.