Awesome - and you aren't even in Zanzibar yet.
Awesome - and you aren't even in Zanzibar yet.
Loving this, totally loving it.
Started Feb 18 2011
"There's a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path" - Morpheus
Day 20 Moshi to Zanzibar
The plan for the morning had been for the driver to arrive at 7:30 to take me to the airport for my flight to Zanzibar. At 7:00am however, the phone rings, awakening us from sweet exhausted oblivion to say that the driver is here. Akkk. That's early. Then I think about it and realize that Freddie must have made a call and told the driver to get here a half hour early figuring that Leonce and I would not be compus mentis enough to think about things like alarm clocks. Bless his thoughtfulness, he was right. Thank goodness I had done the bulk of my packing before dinner last night. Leonce helps me with the mad scramble to get all the little bits and pieces packed and zipped up.
I pin my hair up, tangles and all, figuring that I will get around to combing it out later. I jump back into last night's clothing found strewn here and there around the room while Leonce grabs a 30 second shower. I feel like savoring that sweet funky musk of lovemaking a while longer. Ummmmmm. Leonce and I sit in the back of the taxi together holding hands and kissing like a couple of lovesick teenaged puppies all the way to the airport.
Somewhere in the middle of the night, I had asked if he could come with me to Zanzibar but this is high season for his company and they are very busy. He has another group to lead up the mountain. The shear strength of that man is amazing. At 5'10" and 150, I am at my goal weight but I will never be any delicate little ballerina. But he can put an arm underneath me and pick me up and move me to another spot on the bed if he wants to. I am not used to being "portable" like that. Sigh.
So, we have to wave goodbye and I wing my way off to Zanzibar. As the plane takes off, I have a strange mix of emotions and thoughts doing battle in a tangled up swirl inside my head. In some rational corner of my brain, I realize that there is no future for a relationship with Leonce. I can't just turn in my plane ticket and "go native" as the Brits used to say. I have an obligation back home to take care of my Dad. This whole thing would have been much easier if we had just called it a fun one night hook up. Oh, well. I guess that is the price one pays for actually caring instead of just screwing.
So, I arrive on the island of Zanzibar for some much needed R&R. It is a very different place from the mainland of Tanzania. Zanzibar is predominantly muslim whereas the mainland is mostly christian. This was the trading port, the gateway between east Africa and the middle east forever and the Arab influence here is very strong.
I am taken to my hotel in the historical district of the capital city of Stonetown. It shows an interesting mix of colonial influences from both the middle east and Europe. I watch from the window of the taxi as the tourist curio shops pass by endlessly. It seems that this once magnificent city bypassed the "quaint" stage somewhere on the downhill slide into seediness about a century ago. Its only reason for being now seems to be separating tourists from their money with cheap trinkets probably manufactured in Thailand.
I get checked in at the hotel which is a gorgeous Moorish style building with lovely old heavy ornate woodwork everywhere and very steep staircases. My still rather sore knees protest at the climb to my room on the third floor. It's only about noon but I crawl straight into bed and am asleep before my head hits the pillow.
As the sun sets I awake to the eerie caterwauling of the Mussein calling the faithful to evening prayers. I get up and finally comb out the rat's nests caused by last night's wrestlings from my hair and take a much needed shower. They have ginger scented soap that smells good enough to eat. Well, Zanzibar is the original "Spice Island".
I think about going to dinner but just can't face the steep stairs involved in getting anywhere in this building. So, instead I crawl back into bed with my journal, some Tanka Bites, LaraBars, and some baker's chocolate I had left over from my Kili climb. They fed me so well the whole time that I never really much needed all the supplemental food I brought. My vision is finally getting cleared up to the point where I can make a start on catching up with my journaling. I think I just scratched the surface of my eyeball and it needed a few days to heal up. I'm so glad that it wasn't permanent damage. I stay up until midnight when another wave of sleepiness overtakes me like a tsunami.
Last edited by Paleobird; 10-26-2011 at 11:26 PM.
I did a 14 mile "Urban Grok" hike today just around my city. The weather is gorgeous and all that free vitamin D was too good to pass up.
Since I got back from Kili and have been maintaining well at my goal weight and even a bit under, I admit i've been slacking a bit in the exercise department. I've been doing some hikes on weekends but I really need to pry my ass off this chair and get outside as much as possible before those bone chilling 60 degree San Diego winter days set in.
Day 21 Stonetown to beach resort
The next morning I finally feel like I have my head on straight again. I venture down the three stories of steep staircases to the lobby to inquire where the restaurant is located only to be told that it is on the rooftop, six stories up. Of course it is. Where are my hiking boots when I need them? I trudge all the way back up but the view from the restaurant is well worth the price of the climb. From the aptly named Tower Top Restaurant, one can see a 360 degree panorama including the ancient waterfront and the sparking turquoise colored sea. A delicious omelet and some fruit start my day out nicely.
The next three nights I am going to be spending in a beach resort at the north end of the island of Zanzibar. This will be better than Stonetown for total R&R. The driver comes to get me to take me there but the taxi can't come right up to the hotel because the "street" it's on is more like a cobblestone pathway. The hotel porters carry my bags a couple of blocks (on their heads) to the waiting taxi van.
The seedy Stonetown hustle and bustle falls away quickly as we head up the road through fields of bananas, mangoes, rice, etc. Then even the fields stop and we are in just pure uncultivated jungle. All of this lush greenery is a welcome change after the stark dry moonscape of the Kilimangaro peak.
Then on the left of the two lane highway, I start catching glimpses of an improbably bright blue ocean in between the jungle growth. We are almost there. We pull off onto a very rough and pitted dirt road and wind our way around for several more minutes. I'm certainly glad the driver knows where he is going. There are absolutely no signs to help you out.
We pull up to the gates of the Amaan Bungalows which are a little cluster of one story buildings. There is a restaurant and bar overlooking the ocean built out onto a stilted wooden porch. The sand is blindingly white and there are dugout canoes and triangular sailed fishing boats of ancient manufacturing techniques peacefully coexisting with big modern pleasure yachts offshore.
It feels good to settle into my spartan little bungalow knowing that I don't have to move or do anything for three whole days. At the airport, I had tried getting some money out of the ATM, but, not only did I not get any money, the machine also ate my card. I tried to find someone at the airport who was responsible for that machine but nobody seemed to know anything about it. So, now I have to spend some time on the phone getting that card cancelled but making sure the other one I still have is still viable. I found a money exchange place here by the beach where you can get cash in the local currency using plastic for an outrageous fee of course, but then, beggars can't be choosers. The restaurants around here accept Tanzanian Shillings or US dollars but not plastic so I either do this deal or starve. The silly little stuff that happens on vacations can be time consuming.
While I was on the phone, I called home to tell Dad I had finished the Kili climb and all was well and good. I restrained myself from telling him that I have fallen head over feet for a handsome mountain guide and won't be coming back. How can you miss someone SO much after only one night together?
So, after all the logistics of international phone calls, lost debit cards, and money exchanges are done, I wind up in the restaurant hungry and with a huge wad of Shillings to spend. (They won't change them back into Dollars.) Just as I am wondering what has become of my sunglasses, up walks the guy from the money exchange store with them in his hand. I am very grateful to get them back but turn down his offer to "get together later". I hope he doesn't think I left them deliberately as a come on. I honestly am still so tired I might forget my head if it wasn't attached.
It is sort of between the official lunch and dinner hours, but if you want to order steak and lobster, they are only too happy to oblige. I order two dinners, one the steak and one the lobster and just eat the veggie sides for both and leave most of the rice. This is a soak-the-tourists for all they are worth kind of an area but the prices are still absurdly low compared to what you would pay for steak and lobster back home. And the spices are delightful.
I sit there journaling as I finish my epic meal. There is this Indian guy watching me from the next table who finally comes over and asks what I am writing. It turns out that he is in Zanzibar on a business trip and that he works for a big manufacturer of sugar in India which is thinking of outsourcing some of its raw production over here where sugar cane grows easily.
No, I don't even mention the PB and the evils of sugar. There doesn't seem to be any point in trying to save the soul of the devil himself. His name is Nash. He is 35 with a handsome face and gorgeous big eyes but he already has a well developed spare tire around the middle that will probably be a fully fledged middle aged paunch by the time he turns 40.
But I let him distract me from moping around missing Leonce. He is a very witty, charming, articulate conversationalist. We go for a walk up the beach as the sun is sinking into the ocean silhouetting the triangular dhow sails along the shore. He tells me about how lonely it gets traveling for work so much and how he recently broke up with his Spanish girlfriend because the stresses and strains of making a long distance relationship work had just become too great.
All this as he is trying to "put the moves" on me. I just wanted to watch the sunset. And, excuse me? How did we get from, "It's nice to meet you", to, "Your hotel room or mine", in thirty minutes? I tell him that I am just too tired to even consider such things right now and go off to my room. To sleep. Alone. Thankyouverymuch.
Last edited by Paleobird; 10-27-2011 at 09:21 PM.
i love a good place to be on a beach.
Well-behaved women rarely make history : Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
My New Primal Journal : http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...tml#post821642
My 1st Primal Journal (including travel journal of Africa) http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...back-to-Africa
did you do a tour of a spice farm? we did one and it was AWESOME! one of my favorite memories from africa.