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The Kenya Diaries - A Cork Invasion

Tuesday 17 January 2012
Now, this wasn't actually the pool that I found. This one came later. But it does represent pure, lovely water. So don't get too cross with me.
I spent the day wandering and meandering, which always suits me down to the ground. I was craving a swimming pool - the dusty heat of the city made me want to leap into some water and possibly hose myself down, elephant style.

I was at my locker in the hostel, ready to make my moves, when I heard the sweetest sound I've ever heard in my life - a Cork accent. Now, there's a sentence I never thought I would write. Even better, it was a Cork accent as Gaelige! What a perfect time to impress with a cupla fucle. I immediately jumped into their conversation (though I should point out my cupla fucle (few words of Irish) was just that, and we were in English fairly soon after). I felt right at home.

Oh God, the relief, the pure joy, the unadulterated pleasure of Irish company. No offence to any other nationalities, my own included, but the Irish are the best strangers you could wish to meet. We made plans to meet at dinner, and I set off with a spring in my step.

After a while investigating, I found a pool at a nearby grotty looking hotel. I I paid to get in, but I needn't have bothered. As I walked in, I saw that it was actually in the middle of their restaurant. And no one else was swimming.

Throughout all of my travels in Kenya I'd been respectful with regards to my clothing. Covered arms, covered legs. So what's the protocol in a swimming pool that no one else is using? And that people are dining right next to? I gave it a good few minutes thought before coming to a conclusion I often come to.

Fuck it.

So I stepped gingerly to the edge of the pool. A thousand eyes watched as I tried to navigate towel dropping, ladder descending, bikini wrangling before, finally, hitting the water. Ah, water. Cool, cool water in the searing African heat. Of course, as soon as I jumped in the skies clouded over and the sun wasn't so much searing as hiding. But still, it was glorious.

I went back to the hostel to find my faithful Paddies. The Yanks are there too, but heading off to have dinner elsewhere. We left them to it, and were joined by yet another Irishman, a Dubliner who lives in Sligo (very near to me). What are the chances? We had a lovely, slightly boozy dinner. And oh, how the conversation flowed. At some point, the yanks came back and joined us. The Peruvian Princess was quiet, and I was glad. Because we could show them all how to tell a story. We could show them how you chat with strangers. For this is second nature, this is everyday life, this is Ireland!

Well, I think it was technically still Kenya. But you understand my reasoning, I hope.

I liked Lauren again. We sat illuminated by my head torch due to a power cut, chatting and drinking, before heading to our beds. I was back in my luxurious tent, listening to the deafening grind of the generator next door at the China Centre. Just as this dawned on me, the power come back on and the generator cut off.

Heavy rain began to fall, and I'm not sure if it was the wine, or the company, or Africa. But I was happy.

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