I like making circular trips, traveling in a single direction. I don’t like having to either backtrack or return over territory I’ve already covered. It boarders on the maniacal I suppose, though I am willing to make tactical retreats where necessary. Anyway, it was nice to get away in the days before Christmas and to have the opportunity to see some of Africa beyond
It was important to me to arrive on
Searching on-line for a water-borne option, and I did waste some work-time planning my trip, finally turned-up a cruise-ship that was making a five day journey out of Mombasa but which would, if requested, drop passengers off at Stone Town on Zanzibar the first morning out of port. Perfect! I made a reservation satisfied that I had found the final link in the chain of my adventure. And just making reservations from
I was so glad to be leaving
Because this was the ship’s maiden voyage the operators had gone to a lot of trouble to arrange for local musicians decked out in African garb beating drums and other percussion instruments to line the walkway to welcome the guests. It was somewhat gruesome, like someone’s twisted version from an old Tarzan movie of what Africans should look and sound like. Still, it was entertaining. Since I had arrived so early I was able to retire to the upper open deck and sip a Coke and watch everyone else arrive. It wasn’t cheap; my one night cost me $250 with everything included, but after nearly a year in
The operators had requested that passengers dress for dinner. As I always travel in a suit, something I learned early on gets you far better service than dressing like a typical American in ragged jeans and a dirty t-shirt, I arrived in the dining room comfortably attired. Given the low number of passengers the ratio between staff and customers was ridiculous. Throughout my dinner I was never surrounded by fewer than four waitpersons who seemed to hang on my every mouthful and who whisked plates away and placed new ones before me with astonishing speed. At the end I wanted to linger over my coffee but it felt so uncomfortable being stared at by so many staff I finally left.
When I awoke the next morning I found that we were just arriving at
The Anglican Cathedral in
was built atop the
site of the last slave market. Arab
traders had for centuries brought slaves captured all over the African interior
sale. One of the first Anglican
missionaries decided to build the cathedral right on the site, the altar being
built on the spot where the tree to which slaves were lashed was located. There is a museum on the cathedral grounds
describing the history of slavery on Zanzibar . Zanzibar
|Anglican Guest House|
The guest house was a lovely two story structure located next door, nestled amongst palms and flame-trees and covered with bougainvillea. My room was charming with cool tile floors and a four poster bed inset with decorative tiles.
I arrived in
On Sunday I purchased some plantains and locally made bread and bottles of water. The beach resort I was heading to was located on an isolated stretch of beach and I was afraid supplies would either be difficult to find or terribly expensive. I learned both the positives and negatives of human behavior that day. In the main market in
But in the small Indian owned shop where I purchased bottles of water and some other small items, all I had were a few large Tanzanian notes and the owner said she could not make change. This lady, who had never seen me before in her life, allowed me to take my bag of groceries with me with the promise that I would return later and pay her what I owed. I was overwhelmed by her trust and kindness and I made a frantic effort to break my large bills so I could return and pay the shop what I owed.
In the evenings vendor’s set-up grills all over the main square down near the harbor where you can wander the stalls until you find what looks good and then order your dinner. Being an island there was all manner of seafood which would be made into kebabs and cooked over the flames. I had some fish and chicken kebabs, it was great and watching the large crowds milling about the square was a pleasant way to spend the evening.
|Buses in Zanzibar|
After about an hour bus 309 arrived. The bus was a mid-sized truck in which the box-cab in the back had been removed and replaced with bench seats along both sides and covered with a canopy. A handful of us climbed in, and I sat towards the front on the right side. The schedule required about three hours which I found hard to believe for a trip of only around 30-miles. But not long after we started we stopped in a commercial district along the main road where for over an hour dozens of sacks of flour and sugar and other commodities were loaded onto the canopy roof. Another stop a few doors away added more freight to our roof and I realized that it was the freight and not the passengers which really paid for this trip down to the far coast of the island. Once we got going we also stopped frequently to pick-up passengers who waved down the bus and by the time we got deep into the countryside around two dozen people were squeezed into the seats along with a pile of luggage. The seat next to me was the last to be occupied, no one wanting to sit next to the “muzungu,” until there was no where else left to sit. So often in
After almost exactly three hours we arrived at my hotel. The cost for the bus ride was 1500-shillings, or a little over a dollar. By comparison, when I returned to
|Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar|
|View out my door|
Nearly all the other guests were Germans. I met one chubby German who was there with his family. He had lived in Dar for a couple of years working for a company. He said he loved it and would keep signing up since it was much more pleasant than living in
|Dar es-Salaam ferry dock, Zanzibar|
Like most African cities Dar was a hole, a dirty, stinking hot sweaty place. Coming off the boat you are immediately assaulted by touts offering taxis and hotels. I had already picked-out one or two hotels to try. I had to be at the airport early the next morning so I only needed a room for a few hours, long enough to catch a nap and explore Dar some. But it was a few days before Christmas and all the hotels I checked were full. After the third hotel said they were full I instead just took a taxi to the airport, difficult in the late afternoon traffic heading out of town. It meant about a ten hour wait at the airport but I didn’t care. I was just glad to be heading back to