Sunset in Zanzibar and the happiest drummer in the world

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September 19th 2018
Published: September 19th 2018
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Tanzania day 11

Sunset in Zanzibar and the happiest drummer in the world

Nothing is ever simple for us. When I booked the flights from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro and then from Arusha to Zanazibar I hadn’t known that the Gombe safari company had booked us flights to cover the first leg. I couldn’t get to even cancel just one of our booked flights let alone get any money back so we just thought we’d take the one back down. After we got here I remembered once having a flight cancelled because I hadn’t taken the first part so I contacted the airline. They messaged me saying our second flight had been suspended as we hadn’t taken the first one even though I had told them we wouldn’t be taking it and it wasn’t actually a return flight as it was using two different airports.
They said we would have to pay some fees but didn’t tell us how but we should contact the travel company. They are in England and were very unhelpful last time so we decided to turn up at the airport early to see what we could do. The fees were a processing fee and a noshow fee which came to $75 each. I kept emailing them and this reduced to just the noshow fee and eventually they said we could pay this at the airport. In cash only. So last night we sat working out all our money in case this had to be paid in dollars as we only have so many dollars. We have Shillings, Euros and Pounds but we would be stretching what we have to spend with this extra cost.
Why do so many countries want payment in dollars? Use your own currency! The US is going down the pan anyway thanks to the current president so back up how everyone feels and #ditchthedollar.
After a breakfast of cold pancakes we had our free ride to Arusha airport-see yesterday’s blog as to why this was free. We went to the check-in desk and asked about paying the fee but she said we were in the system and there was no need to pay. Hooray!! We are going to Zanzibar! It’s been quite stressful thinking we may not even have flights but a happy ending for once.
After we checked in we went through to the departure lounge where gate number 4 seemed quite busy. There were no boards saying when flights were leaving, no indication of where to go and no announcements. We knew when our boarding time was and so chilled and had something to drink. And then went through gate number that was the only one used for all flights.
Through there was quite packed and the system was as chaotic as the amount of planes parked higgledy-piggedy on the tarmac. Someone would come over and shout what colour boarding passes you should have for that flight and then lead everyone to the plane. This would involve walking past other planes but no-one was killed so that’s okay.
Some Australians were being idiotic by asking if two of them could swap seats so the child wasn’t on her own. Just do it and get on the bloody plane you numpties! The flight was fine and we were soon landing in gloomy Zanzibar with a little rain hitting us as we walked to the bus and then to the terminal. Our bags arrived and were carried in to the terminal in twos rather than bring the carriage in. No conveyors here!
All our luggage was then scanned for the third time today before we could leave the airport. Seriously, what do they think I’ve bought in mid air??? And how did whoever I bought whatever it is off get it through two scans as well??
A taxi was soon acquired and we were on our way to Garden Lodge where we are to stay for three whole nights! The room is fine and even has air conditioning as well as a really high bed. It’ll do fine. Just a few days ago we were in a tent with no electricity with buffalo in our way when we went to the loo so this is luxury.
We unpacked a little and then realised that I had left my Lonely Planet guide on the plane. What a pillock! Nowt I can do though so hey. It had a good map of Zanzibar Stone Town and showed where we are etc as well as other useful information. Ah well.
We ventured out to have a look round and find the port so we could pay for our ferry crossing on Saturday evening. It’s booked but you have to pay 24 hours in advance so may as well do it now and get it done. We wandered through stone town which is like a medina and meanders in so many directions you lose your bearings. I kind of remember it as being one straight street but getting lost appears a lot easier now. The weather was warm and dry now by the way.
We had no idea which way we were heading and had to consult the map in Claire’s book. Someone offered to help and actually did by pointing is in the opposite direction to the way I thought it was. He was right though and once at the port someone else helped us by telling us where the ticket office was. We are so used to people trying to sell us things or want something for helping that we can be stand offish to be honest. It’s nice when people do actually help though!
Next to find somewhere to eat and we found House of Spices and made our way to the rooftop restaurant. The food was good and we had the place to ourselves which was nice. Now to watch the sunset...but first we need to find the sea....
Should be easy right? Nah, this is Zanzibar Stone Town but after a few twists and turns there was the sea at last. The sea front has lots of tourists, touts, food stalls, boats and a sandy beach where the locals swim, play keepy-uppy with footballs (and a lot of skill I should add) and tumble (with a lot of skill I should add).
We walked along the beach while watching and photographing the sunset in Zanzibar. Pretty blissful.
The only problem here is the amount of manky, mangey, cute and cuddly cats. After a dearth of them for the first 10 days we are now overrun by the damned things. Someone’s happy though....
We had been given a leaflet earlier for a concert of traditional African music which was only £3 to get in. We wandered around the seafront, I had a 30p ice cream and we stopped for a drink in a cafe until it was time for the show.
Every Wednesday the Dhow Countries music Academy presents Kirundo a five piece band with the happiest drummer in the world. On the first floor of the old customs house a room at the side has a stage and quite a few chairs. There weren’t many of us to start with so we chatted. An English guy had seen the band tuning the drums using fire and a Palestinian guy very humourously said this was the first time in his life he had been considered white. Not long after the band started the seats were almost full and everyone sat back to enjoy what was a really good show.
It was difficult to take your eyes of the beaming drummer at first as his smile was infectious. The other English guy was beaming as well. They played for over an hour and were really really good. Sometimes they came out front and danced and during one song they got some audience members to join in. Amazingly this didn’t include me. The instruments they played varied from things I have no idea what they were to an electric guitar.
They got a standing ovation at the end even from the German couple who had annoyed Claire by talking through most of it. Sadly they didn’t have any CDs for sale as we would have bought one.
When we left something amazing happened. We were over half a mile from our hotel, it was dark, we had no map and hadn’t walked though this part of town before. Yet we managed to walk straight to our hotel. US!!


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