Published: April 23rd 2008April 18th 2008
i have been socked in out on the east coast these past day by heavy rain and foul weather generally.
jambiani is a small village where once grand european hotels stood along the coast and the powder white sand but now have been reduced to crumbling wrecks. when it rains, which it has done every day, the sand turns to mud and the locals get wet and i run for cover. in the morning a spooky blanket of mist makes walking through ancient village ruins of goats and weather beaten women like something from a dream and every morning i get lost looking for bread but then find my way suddenly from the wafting smell of it. broken walls with trees growing on top and old chickens that nobody wants to eat because they are too old and little tiny kids who want to play with your hair and steal your pens and you let them. the landlord of my strange shack was once "captain starfish", back in the good old days when he had a boat and tourists ran rampant in the streets, his boat has sunk, now he runs this funny place where i stay and tells long stories of near misses in his quest to get to europe, and long rambling dreams of what he will do when he gets there. weird home made visions of what it must be like. i suggested going by land and crossing from morocco, he had considered this already. he climbed a fifty foot palm tree in the rain with a machete in his teeth and hacked off a few coconuts which we ate and he related tales of friends of his who had met white women on the beach in days of old and now these friends lived in luxury in london and various places. somewhere in new york city lives a zanzibari man named captain dolphin who was once the best of friends with captain starfish until a beautiful american girl showed up, and this captain dolphin has not made any attempt to communicate with starfish in the last five years despite a standing promise to return with a ticket for him. nervous laughs.
i left this place this morning in the never ending rain and mud on the local bus, which is a pickup truck that has a wooden roof constructed over the back. i was the fifteenth person to squeeze in and another ten squeezed in after me, not including babies, and constant stops for men who hung off the tailgate. leather faced women with dried up toes with howling infant children leap into the moving truck and even though there is no room there suddenly magically becomes room for them and their sack of tomatos. a tire blew out on the main road and we came to a stop but the driver changed it and we were off again. out of a tiny crack in the mass of people in the back i saw i man buy a living chicken from another man on the side of the road and they put the chicken in a plastic grocery bag with its head sticking out, looking around. we were followed for some time by an empty dump truck completely full of people standing up, they were a wedding party heading out to somewhere from somewhere, a dump truck is used here to carry a group of forty or more.
there is a nice motorbike here for me, if i want it, and i do want it although it has been raining a lot and when it does it is actually quite cold. i am weighing my options.
how is the snow? if you get a chance someday you should come to zanzibar and jambiani... there are a lot of funny people here, white people who must have come on vacation and never left, like three old german woman running a coffee and cake shop that has no coffee or cake, just bananas, in the jungle in the middle of nowhere on crystal clear water whitest white sand beach that you would never find if you were looking for it. they just sit there on the porch and speak german and read german books and do nothing and eat bananas.