21-12-2011 by Freddie del Curatolo
I admit it, when an Italian tourist or, worse, a resident, calls the sandbars that emerge on the beautiful stretch of sea between Malindi and Watamu "Sardinia 2", I have a shake of the heart that turns into an eruption of anger and comes very close to the prodromes of the homicidal instinct.
I have seen it written on blackboards inside tourist villages, even in brochures of safari agencies.
They sell you the trip to Sardinia 2 all the beach boys of this stretch of coast, which should really be called "Mayungu", after the name of the village that overlooks the stretch of sea concerned. But what do the beach boys know?
They are innocent, verbally (and not only) they would do anything to earn some money and they wouldn't be shocked even if we called Silversand beach "Viserbella 3" or Che Shale beach "Sabaudia 4".
Besides, who taught them to tell white girls "you want to taste my toblerone"?
Or to tell potential reefer smokers "I'm your brain doctor"?
We are the cheap colonizers, the ones who, in order to cover up our congenital difficulty in speaking (and understanding) other languages, have to Italianize everything. We almost have to thank heaven that the Tsavo National Park is not called "The Other Maremma" and the Maasai Mara "Lucania with animals".
Sardinia 2 is really far from that landscape, those smells, those sensations.
Those who have known and appreciated both places can grasp the differences: the sea is probably more beautiful in the Mediterranean island, where, however, there is neither a coral reef, nor small islands of sand in the middle of the wonderful nothingness of sea and sky.
By the way: listen to how good the word "islet" sounds in Swahili: "kisiwandogo".
Isn't it even more exotic, more captivating to say "let's go for a trip on the "kisiwandogo" of the marine park?
Of course, who remembers that word...and then will the "w" be read "v" or "u"?
And where will the accent go?
No way, it seems that we have to resign ourselves to hear much worse things: now there are also those who call the "puddles" of warm water at low tide become a kind of natural pools, "Jacuzzi".
And down everyone laughs!
And so on the equatorial beach of Malindi you can be approached by those who propose "let's go to the Jacuzzi of Sardinia 2".
Then you also find Flavio Briatore and that's it!
(Even if Flavio is too forward and a bit of a snob, he doesn't want to be a pain in the ass and is already going a bit further, to Corsica 3).
I don't know if Malindi has ever been a "smart tourism" destination, smart tourism probably doesn't exist anymore, at most it has been replaced by conscious tourism.
In any case, in my own small way, I will continue my linguistic crusade to try to remove these idiotic nicknames from the Mayungu sea.
And I am preparing, with some local wood craftsmen, some plaques and signs to take to the Emerald Coast.
It says "Welcome to Watamu 2."
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