Lost in Stone town, my name is Taxi and a summary of Tanzania and Zanzibar


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September 22nd 2018
Published: September 22nd 2018
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Tanzania day 14

Lost in Stone town, my name is Taxi and a summary of Tanzania and Zanzibar

Homeward bound today so it’s time for the usual conversations after we’ve visited somewhere. Things like could we/would we live here, would we come back and would our cat Cosmo like it?
We wouldn’t live on Zanzibar; the attitude to women is far too oppressive and we like holding hands when we are out and being able to give each other a hug. Simple things but in a sexist society they are things that can get you hurt. The only reason we would come back would be to revisit Cheetah’s Rock or, even better, work there. We have enjoyed it here but seen nothing else that would make us rush back-we still have lots of places to see believe it or not!
Tanzania has been wonderful and yes we would come back to go back on safari and definitely spend more time in the Ngorongoro crater. But there are countries we haven’t been on safari in yet and gorillas we haven’t seen in the wild. We haven’t seen anywhere that looks good to live but if we were taking people on safari.... I mean that’s not going to happen but that doesn’t mean you can’t discuss it.
And would Cosmo like it? Probably not on Zanzibar as there are too many manky cats that would give him diseases and fleas but at least he’d rule the roost. In Tanzania he may get more room to run around and he’d enjoy the sun, but not the rainy seasons.
So last day, last breakfast and not too much money left but with some things left to buy. Our plan was to wander through Stone town, buy the presents and then find a restaurant to chill in until it was time to go to the ferry. Claire dragged us way out of our way first to photograph two cats in a park from a distance....with a wide angle lens.... Apparently there’d been loads of cats in Victoria Park the other day but I only saw two then and two today.
When we ventured into Stone town the other day we must have hit the locals part as the part today was lots of lots of souvenir shops. With lots of people trying to entice you in with many a hakuna matata, jambo and pole pole. You do get a bit sick of hearing those words! I also get sick of being accused of being a taxi as you can’t walk more than 5 yards outside Stone town without someone saying ‘hello taxi.’ I am NOT a taxi, although my daughter may say different.....
My Mum collects thimbles and we try and get her one from every country we visit, my Dad does the same with pens. Both should have the name of the country on. Well Mum and Dad, you ain’t getting those this time I’ll tell you now. We haven’t seen a single Tanzania or Zanzibar pen anywhere in the last fortnight. We have though seen one thimble, quite plain but with Tanzania written on and a Tanzania flag.
Turns out this is an incredibly rare thimble, possibly used by a Sultan in the past and perhaps contains some gold. Must be something special as the guy wanted £12 for it, yes TWELVE pounds!! My starting point would have been what that would cost in England so I had to laugh and tell him this transaction wasn’t going to happen. Sorry Mum, it may be the only thimble for sale in Tanzania but it wasn’t worth a fifth of that.
We ended up buying some more things for ourselves and did some haggling with some reasonable vendors. And then we were nearly out of money but needed an ice cream as it was incredibly hot. We needed to find our way out of Stone town first and get to the sea front but this ain’t easy to say the least. You follow what you think is a sea breeze, head towards a palm tree, follow a sign....and end up somewhere you saw earlier. We even saw Salim, our guide from yesterday, but even he couldn’t give us directions that woud help. We were soon lost again.
Good job we had plenty of time as it took us ages to finally locate the sea front where we really needed the aforementioned ice cream. We wandered up to take a picture of an enormous tree and then wandered round the uninspiring fort.....because it was free.
We were both getting worn out now and decided to change our last Euros so we could sit a while in a restaurant and have a drink. We changed the money at the post office and ended up in a Turkish restaurant where Claire had pizza and I had some Turkish pitta type thing and some delicious Swahili food.
After collecting our luggage we struggled with our heavy bags in the blistering heat and got the full force of every taxi driver on the island. Or people really do call me taxi? It’s only about 3/4s of a mile to the ferry port and I think I was called taxi six hundred and thirty eight times.
So you get there and you have your ticket checked. You then have to fill in a departure form and queue up with heavy bags on your back so one guy at a window can stamp the form and take your photograph. Finally two more windows opened but it took a long time.
You then have everything scanned of course and then get to check in before finally getting to sit down. And then you have your ticket checked twice before you finally get on board. Kind of the opposite of a well oiled machine but still better than Kos airport. Every seat was full in cattle class but at least it was air conditioned. I smelt quite pungent by this point but I don’t think I was the only one.
Once we got moving some people moved outside but there was no shelter and we would have fried. We had to move though as a parent was letting their kid repeatedly kick the back of Claire’s chair.
The journey was fine for us but quite a lot of sick bags were handed out and filled. On arrival at Dar es Salaam we joined the melee and were soon met by a taxi geyser....what a surprise! I had no idea how far the airport was or how much the fare should be. He said $25, I said $20. $20 it was including airport fee.
As we walked out he said be careful as we walk out of our belongings because there will be a lot of people and ‘most of them are thieves.’ Not some, not a few, not even half, but most. We watched each other and made it through the mayhem with everything intact.
The taxi ride was reasonably long and the driver was saying how much the fees were so we made sure we got our bags before he tried to charge us more. $20 it remained. Don’t forget to #ditchthedollar though anyone but the US!
We are now sat outside the airport looking forward to a few scans but our flight is still four hours away so I’m writing this and hoping to upload it before we set off. Normally I wait till we get home to fill in what goes wrong with the flight home and who annoys me but I’m being brave....I can always add bits later...
I had to finish my seventh book of the holiday first, yes despite all the amazing things we’ve seen and done, plus writing blogs every day I’ve still managed to read seven books in the last fortnight. And now I have to start my eighth...
You may have guessed that we have had an awesome holiday with so many incredible memories and it’s difficult even to say which has been our favourite day. Tanzania gets our hearty recommendation. We know we’re lucky even to come here and I hope you’re that lucky too.
PS I have been known to get....ahem....quite ill on holiday previously, you know with doctors and things and this may be a bit premature but....I haven’t even had one bit of diarrhoea this holiday. It could be the predominantly vegetarian diet, it could be the probiotic pills but whatever it is, it certainly helps me to enjoy the holiday more!


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