Published: May 11th 2009May 10th 2009
In Mtoni Marine, Zanzibar
Just as my personal life hit a bump in the road and my morale needed a boost, Meghan arrived in Tanzania! I am so lucky to have such a great support network of family and friends- and so many of them have taken the time (and money) to come out and visit me here. Meghan's timing couldn't have been better and her company for one and a half weeks was just what the doctor ordered.
Meghan arrived on a Wednesday night, so I still had 2 days of work to get through. During this time, she visited some of the local tourist spots (pools, markets, etc). In the evenings we went out for meals and I showed her some of my favorite spots around Dar. On Friday, as soon as I finished work, we headed out to the airport and flew to Zanzibar for the weekend. Normally, I would be tempted to write that we headed to "sunny Zanzibar," but luck was against us in this case. We were picked up from Zanzibar airport and driven to our lovely hotel- Mtoni Marine- just outside of Stone Town, on a beach. We were given a 30 minute introduction to our room,
Post Spa Lunch
Meghan is looking slightly more revitalized than I...
including instructions on how to boil the water in the kettle, which packets contained tea, coffee, or milk, and even how to work the toilet and sink. Eventually Meghan cut the guy off and he left us alone! We took a quick tour around the hotel and made some spa appointments for the following day before grabbing a cab and heading into Stone Town for a wander around and some dinner. Saturday we had big plans to go on a spice tour (what Zanzibar is known for), which would have been my first time going on a spice tour, but the weather was not in our favor and after we completed a lovely walk along the beach after breakfast, the rain began to come down in torrential waves. Needless to say, our spice tour was canceled, so we went ahead and booked ourselves into the spa for afternoon scrubs, massages, and henna painting. Afterwards, we headed back into Stone Town and spent our afternoon shopping in and out of the rain, having lunch at one of my favorite haunts, and then relaxed and read books back at the hotel. Sunday brought, shockingly, more rain, so we hung around our room
6:30am on a day off... now that's dedication!
and the hotel restaurant, reading, grading papers, etc. while the rain refused to let up. Apparently the rainy season decided to not only appear late, but also to disturb our trip to Zanzibar! It was still lovely and relaxing, and a nice getaway from Dar.
We spent Monday afternoon at one of the local orphanages, where I volunteer after school with some of my Grade 5 girls, so Meghan got to see some of the babies and we played with the toddlers (including the one I fell in love with in December, sad to see he's still there). Tuesday and Wednesday Meghan entertained herself at gyms, pools and beaches while I had to work, and then we spent some time at the markets shopping for souvenirs and gifts, practicing the fine art of bargaining. When work finished on Thursday, I had a 3 day weekend! So, we hopped in a safari vehicle and drove south to Mikumi National Park for the weekend! Luckily, the weather was on our side, and we had a sunny and not too hot weekend away! The rains had started in February already in Mikumi, so by the time we got there this month, the
Alex and Meghan
and the Hippo Pool!
grass was super tall! This did not hamper us from seeing any of the major animals that the park had to offer, except sadly the warthogs (which are my favorites). We saw plenty of elephants (and babies!), giraffes, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, impala, eland, hippos, crocodiles, etc etc! We were so lucky! We were also probably the only ones in the park to see lions on that Friday... with our first sighting being at about 6:45am, as we followed two females walking on the road to get back to their newborn cubs (you could see from their teats that they were still nursing). They went off into the tall grass to find their babies, and suddenly came crashing back out at full speed! There was all sorts of roaring and commotion and what ensued was an exciting chase scene as the females chased another female and her male mate off their territory! Later that day we saw the two females again as they went out for dinner, and the next day we saw the mating male and female (during a non-mating moment), and ended our trip seeing a pregnant female! Talk about the circle of life! It was an excellent safari
We had such nice weather, we could safari out of the roof!
and I'm glad that Meghan and I could enjoy it together.
As soon as we got back from the eternal drive back (no longer than the drive there, but it sure felt like it), we only had a few hours to relax together before Meghan had to head to the airport and leave me.
It was so nice to have her here for 2 weekends away, but also to see my day to day life (she visited the school and everything!), meet some of my friends, and go out to some of my favorite restaurants. Not to mention that it was super great to have a good friend that knows me from home to be here for me when I was feeling a little fragile. Thanks for a great time Meghan!
And then it was back to the reality of work... winding down for the last few weeks of the school year!
There are more photos below