Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Zanzibar - " Nemesis Island"

Well I guess you have to laugh about it. This post is kind of like one of those stories you write when you are seven years old at primary school using the black crayon - "the worst week was when..."

We are having a few issues with our volunteering placement at the moment. To fix it (in Jeff and Kate style) we figured a nice trip to the alluring azure island of Zanzibar would work a treat.
Zanzibar held an aura of hope, of nice food, tourists to yarn to and an ease of life we desparately sort.

We departed Pangani last thursday at 5am on a motorized dhow. Yup. This sucker was made from mangrove and powered by an almighty 9.9 hp motor. Kate, myself, the boat captain, our rastafarian tour guide and 4 other unnecessary randoms transported across the open ocean on this thing. Anyways, despite the apparent hairiness of this mode of transport it worked fine. The guys even caught a 1 metre long fish of some description (yellow? with fins?) using no rod. Impressive.

So we land on the beach (well in the ocean next to the beach) and promptly get hit up by a cop. He was a real cop we have been assured (despite his casual clothes and photocopied badge/extortion permit). Anyways he wants us to get an immigration stamp. We refuse as we aren't immigrating and he packs a sad. Our rasta tour guide has a friend on the island who comes to help. His form of help was to take money from us and give it to the cop. This of course worked very well. It was of course annoying to see this cop and this "friend' sharing out the money 30 mins later. Crappy incident #1.

So anyways, we stay the night at premier beach resort the Kendwa Rocks. This was fine. We picked out our room and our rasta tour guide Ali decided to stay there too. Next thing I know we're standing at reception paying for our room and it becomes clear we have to pay for Ali's
room too!?! Apparently when he said he'd take us to Zanzibar he meant "I'll sit on the boat with you in return for a nights accomodation, food and money for me to get home!." So that night picture us sitting at our candle light table on the sand in a very romantic honeymoon style setting - just me, Kate and our Tanzanian Rasta tourguide. Funniest part about Ali is that he actually had never really been to Zanzibar before and thus had no idea of anything much at all. Just another hilarious situation we'd manage to find ourselves in. Thus I dub this crappy incident #2.

The next morning I wake around 4am feeling hot. I rewake at 7am and i'm feverish and feel terrible. We promptly bail from our beach resort and hire a taxi to boost the 55 km into Stonetown in south Zanzibar where a hospital and western ammenities beckon. Kate at this point secured us a minor victory in the battle against Zanzibar. She scored us a taxi for 20000TSH instead of 50000TSH. This was a grand saving except I think it meant that the driver decided to skip the procurement phase of our drive and thus we conked out of petrol half way up the first hill 500m from our origin. So we sat there for an hour. They feigned mechanical problems and took out the battery etc until reinforcements arrived. Crappy incident #3.

Anyways, we get to Stonetown a couple of hours late and promptly check into the Baghani Guest house. This place was nice and great relief for me. It had a tv, a western bog and an alright bed. It was here I spent 3 full days lolling around sleeping, sweating, feeling rotten etc etc. My efforts at going out were fascical and brief. Luckily though I tested negative for Malaria and merely had a mean bout of gastro. Kate during this time didn't really get much touristing done and generally had a bad time too. We dub this crappy incident #4.

Anyways when we go to leave the Baghani on day four we realise our small camera is missing. Cliche! Turns out that someone has clearly taken it during one of my brief sojourns out of the hotel. The safe in our room was broken so we'd been hiding our valuables etc etc and plus this place was actually nice so we weren't too worried about our gear. Management accused us of going touristing and losing it somewhere knowing full well we'd barely left the place in days. So you'll have to wait even longer for photos now. Crappy incident #5.

So anyways, after I began to recover we planned to do some tourist stuff. Some tour guide called Rasheed organised a tour for us. It was 70 000 TSH and sounded great - we had a private car to take us around and show us the industry etc. So we jump in the car which drives for 2 mins before stopping. Rasheed has to visit his aunty. After this brief delay we drive 10 mins to a plantation. We did have a good time there looking round all the sorts of trees and plants for tumeric, cardamom, vanilla, chilli, coffee, etc etc. This was nice. After about an hour though our tour finishes and the tour guide wants paid. Yup. So we have to fork out 10 000 TSH ($10 bucks) to pay for our tour. Rasheed then drives us to a "popular" beach for a swim. Kate had her togs and everything. Well after wading through sewerage to get to the ocean we see it's got all these sharp underwater rocks and swimming would be a tad unwise. We storm back to the car. Rasheed tells us that is the end of the tour. Rasheed senses our annoyance but can't work it out. We eventually tell him and so he refunds our 10 000 TSH from teh spice tour. We then have a blubbering apologetic Rasheed trying to appease us for nearly an hour. There is an encore but you've had enough of this one. Crappy incident #6.

So today we are leaving. We got up nice and early, got set for our 10am ferry but it turns out there is none. Dunno why. The 12:30 is broken and so we are now catching the 4pm. Thus I have time to share with the whole world our delightful Zanzibari experience. I am sure this island is alluring and exotic and delightful for most but it is certainly our nemesis island and one we will not be returning to for love or money...

The only real highlight for me was watching McCullum's 158* live on some random Indian cable channel. These things happen though. At 4pm we're off to Dar and then tomorrow on the 10 hour bus to Arusha. Onwards and Upwards.

Hmm. 3 more hours to kill. I wonder if Rasheed has something for us to do? or maybe Ali? or some other nice tour guide?...

Damn I'm looking forward to using our new toaster.

1 comment:

Waimate Offspring said...

hi guys you sure know how to sell the destination. sorry to hear youve been sick and that the work not sorting itself out.

Good luck with the head charong from london.

i got to catch up with barb over lunch &coffee am hoping they have a great time with you in africa.

we are all good , vic graduated was great she has been doing a lot of gigs so we have had the pleasure of having so nights out to see her play. she goes to auckland on thurs for a gig with a new group. had Matt and grandma here last weekend. Hope all good nowfor you two. love chris