On the coast of somewhere beautiful...

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June 15th 2008
Published: June 17th 2008
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low tide

I left Arusha in a hurry to try to get back to get my passport in time to catch the Tuesday train to Zambia only to find that the passport had yet to arrive. I certainly didn't want to spend anymore time in the terrible Dar Es Salaam, so I decided to head to Zanzibar for a few days, and I'm very happy with this decision. There are certainly worse places that you could spend a few days (or 6!) than on the edge of a sandy white beach surrounded by tourquoise water. Did I say it was amazing?!

After getting the bad news at the High Commissioners Office, I immediately headed over to the ferry terminal and bought a ticket on the slow ferry to Zanzibar's Stonetown. I met 2 nice Northern Americans: Andrea, from Toronto (she lived in Tanzania for a few months last year, so she knew her way around) and Jarin (Minnisota). The ferry ride was uneventful, except for the wetdog smell and the children peeing on the floor. It is supposed to be better than the fast ferries (which I later experienced include lots of puking people). Andrea was staying at a friend's in Stonetown so Jarin and I set out to find a place, and stayed in Stonetown for one night before heading to the beaches. We met Andrea and went to the market for some amazing and cheap seafood/local food. All of Zanzibar, which is an island off the coast of Tanzania, has been without power for over a month because an underwater line broke and they were waiting for someone to come and fix it. The local people seem tired and angry with their government, but it wasn't so bad for us. It made the experience rather romantic. The only thing that sucked was that there was no cold beer, but that just means no headaches or stomach aches---well in theory, the local food did not agree with my stomach.

Jarin and I decided that we would head to Jambiani beach, and we certainly weren't disappointed. Beautiful beach, and a small village. We got a bungalow on the beach for about $9/night, and just chilled, went snorkelling and had the locals bring us overpriced (still cheap) fruit, but atleast I didn't have to get off my beach chair! After 3 days, Jarin went to the north shore of the island, and my Korean friend, Minnie (who I met on the truck to the beach) joined me in the bungalow.
While snorkelling, I got a bad sunburn, so I spent the rest of my days in the shade eating plenty of coconut and reading. It was so nice to just relax for a while, and I definately feel that I have my batteries charged now.
I spent some time getting to know the locals who were constantly coming up to the fence which surrounded our place (good thing!) and chatting. I helped some local kids with the English lessons in the sand in the late afternoon and watched their soccer matches on the beach. Minnie and I also got to chat with a group of women while they cooked their dinners in the village. It is such a small and inviting place. It was a great experience.

I should mention something about the daladalas here. They pack the people in, in a way that I didn't think was possible. On the way back from Jambiani, I had a sleeping 4 year old on my lap because there was no other place for him. After 2 hours of stop and go

this is when we almost flipped...I really though we were going in, but they pulled though.
as they load everything from cement, to people, to produce, you have lost feeling in all your lower extremities, you are hot sweaty and cranky. But the beach is worth it all.

Additional photos below
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18th June 2008

Great Snorkelling
Hi Erin, The beaches and water looks so beautiful there in Zanzabar. I would love to have been there snorkelling with you. Great pictures. Take care. Love you Dad and Mom XXXXOOO

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