Saturday morning we all piled in the Landcruiser with Ibrahim one last time. In the middle of nowhere, he abrubtly stopped the car and said, “I have to go see a friend.” He got out of the car and we all looked at each other and around the car – there wasn’t a soul in sight. Who in the world could he need to see? Then as Ibrahim walked behind a bush it became apparent that he just needed to relieve himself. We laughed even harder when he came back to the car and told us, “He wasn’t there.”
Ibrahim dropped us off at the small Arusha airport, where Steve, Angela and I munched on French fries and Joey devoured a cheeseburger. We all had a few beers and some Dramamine in anticipation of our flight. Soon the gate agent collected us from the bar and took us through the small security area and out to the tarmac. We walked to our itty-bitty, 12-passenger, propeller plane and I said a Hail Mary.
|Walking to our plane. Oh God.|
The pilot turned around and asked all the passengers to please not take pictures during take-off and landing because he had been hit in the head with a camera too many times. Then he turned on his Garmin. I said another.
The air in the cabin was stuffy and hot and once the wheels were up it felt as flimsy as a paper airplane. Luckily the beer and the Dramamine knocked me out before a full-blown anxiety attack kicked in, and I woke up over the electric blue of the Indian Ocean. It got even hotter in the plane before we landed in Zanzibar, but we landed so I didn't care that I'd almost soaked my shirt and my thighs were chaffing like crazy.
|Bargaining. It's his new favorite sport.|
A different representative from the safari company picked us up from the Zanzibar airport and drove us to Stone Town. At first glance Stone Town is dirty, dilapidated, and oppressively hot and humid, but the warmth of the people and the eclectic Arab, Persian and Indian architecture quickly charms its visitors. We spent the next two days wandering the little alleyways, visiting the markets and the famous Forodhani Gardens for fresh-caught seafood, admiring the impressively carved doors, eating some truly delectable meals and delighting in marvelous sunsets (both for the colors and the reprieve from the staggering heat). Angela and I bonded over pedicures, we shopped and Joey entertained himself by bargaining for everything we bought. One shopkeeper got so frustrated with my husband he threw his calculator across the alley. Another asked him, “How long have you been in Stone Town?” When Joey replied that he lived in Nigeria, the shopkeeper replied with an understanding, “Ooooooh.”
Here's the link for all of my Stone Town pictures.
Monday morning we met our tour guide again for our transfer to the beach and stopped for a tour of a spice plantation along the way. The young boy who climbed a fifty-foot coconut tree with his feet tied together and a knife in his mouth yet somehow managed to sing all the way was definitely the highlight. Our guide told us all Zanzibarians learn how to climb the coconut trees, but once they turn 26 they may not climb anymore. He also told us that Zanzibarian men may not eat nutmeg because they believe it makes them more prone to father daughters than sons. And then he told us that he had always really wanted to marry a white woman, so he found his wife on the internet. But not until he'd "dated" 180 white women from the internet first. Many women flew to Zanzibar to meet him, but he sent them all away, especially the one with the club foot. He saw her from afar and told his driver to tell her he was out of the country. #youcan'tmakethisshitup.
Here are all my Spice Tour photos.
We parted with Angela and Steve since we had separate beach accommodations and settled into a lazy and relaxing routine of not doing a whole lot of anything for the next five days. The drastically changing tides, brazen red monkeys and many a book kept us entertained. The seaweed and coral that surrounded our beach made it a little difficult to wander, but at low tide we were able to find our own tiny island paradise at a sand bank in the dazzling aquamarine waters. Our last morning we commissioned a local fisherman named Captain Roger to take us out on his tiny little sailboat. What a wonderful week.
Only a few hours after our morning sail in the Indian Ocean we had dinner in Addis Ababa. We tried a different traditional restaurant and chowed on the vegetarian sampler platter with lamb tibs. The next morning it was back to real life when we boarded our flight to Abuja.