Zanzibar

Dates of Travel - October 14-19, 2013


Greetings Beautiful people of the world!


The flight to Zanzibar was uneventful.  Though when we changed planes after the layover, my party was a bit taken aback at the size of the plane.  It was small.  It had propellers.  It took off and landed with no mishap, so all was well.


I was very excited to be in Africa.  I was ready to explore the beach, have some seafood and try snorkeling in the local waters.  First, there was immigration!  After all, when visiting the wider planet, one must be photographed, stamped and pay fees.  Sadly, the visa cost me $100.  That is well over the norm and for a four night stay, I might as well be honest and say, disappointing and an overcharge.  This feels especially like an overcharge when every, single country on the list had a $50 fee except United States of America.  Oh.  EauxKay.  Well, some diplomat, somewhere must have represented us poorly.  Clearly not someone from Oak Cliff.


Our driver was waiting for us as we exited the terminal.  We were taken directly to our housing.  It was in no way disappointing.  The home was lovely.  There was a small issue with one of the bathrooms, but we were in no way going to let that put a pause in our happy song.


Two minutes walk from our housing was Crazy Mzungos.  Little did we know upon arrival, but this would be the base of most of our meals and a great deal of our fun.


First things first, break out the liquor!  Thank goodness for Duty Free shopping.  This is always a stop, one never knows what the bar may look like, so being prepared prevents an unexpected dry holiday.


We made arrangements with our housing manager for food and hit the beach.  I fell asleep and risked a sunburn.  Thankfully, I was traveling in a group, so someone woke me and I was only toasted and not burned.


After a great, extremely leisurely dinner, we called it a night in anticipation of our tours on the next day.


Our early morning saw us in a bus traveling to a far beach.  Our guides outfitted us with life jackets.  Fellow travelers taught us to sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat in another language (Dutch).  We snorkeled, chilled on a disappearing sandbar and enjoyed the most deliciously grilled ocean offerings I have had in some time.


The boat trip back seemed much longer now that I was tired and in need of a water closet!  One can not simple piss over the side of the water craft.  Rude that.


We made our way back to the housing, which we found at www.airbnb.com by the way, and changed for dinner.  A couple of us checked out Paje by Night.  If ever I return to Zanzibar, this is where I will reside.  The Paje Hotel was very current, had a lively bar scene, lovely pool and excellent kitchen.


The next day those of us who planned ahead (not me) passed out school supplies to the local children.  That was fun.  Lots of pictures were taken, the children showed off their manners with lots of thank yous and my fellow travelers were able to show their love of children in a useful way.


This was the night our manager host and the staff entertained the visitors.  There was a beach bonfire (small) and singing and dancing.  A great time was had by all and it felt very much like an intimate party with old friends.


The next day is when all the drama began.  We were supposed to go visit the spice farm, but a passport was lost.  We spent hours looking for the American Embassy.  Only to find upon arrival, the Embassy had relocated.  The next day we were to depart, so our fellow traveler was forced to leave at 5 in the morning, catch a ferry to the capital and rush to the Embassy so she could have her travel approved.  It was dramatic.  Nevertheless, she and her faithful friend made it to the airport before we did!


I, on the other hand, missed my second flight!  YES!  I was stuck in Nairobi, Kenya.  WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS...


A couple of my fellow travelers and I determined in our spirits we had to try this well known restaurant that specializes in all manner of meat.  Every type of known meat and some wild game not ordinarily found on the dinner plates of Americans, can be sampled at Carnivore.


We went.  We ate. We surrendered to the meat.  I wish I could tell you what all I tried.  The reality is, I have no idea.  I know I ate some poor animals balls.  May his sacrifice be forever noted.  Carnivore serves some of everything, including ostrich, crocodile, and giraffe meat.


After our lunch, we did a bit of shopping and headed back to the airport.  En route, we were in an extremely minor accident.  The accident was so minor no paint was scratched and there were no dents.  Our driver was not of the same mindset.  He was enraged.  He was dismayed.  He was fully distraught.  He pitched a fit for over an hour.  No matter how my fellow travelers and I begged and pleaded with him, he would not be moved until the offending party had transferred a sum of money to his boss.  It was a truly unique experience.


Upon arrival to the airport, we dashed from the curb with our luggage to no avail.  We had missed the flight.  We were forced to pay a fee, that cost us $200.  We were forced to book a room.  We called our driver's boss and explained the situation.  After some serious cajoling he drove us to our hotel for free.  After all, his driver made us miss our flight over an accident that was really just a small bump.


The next morning, we made the happy discovery our hotel elevators were not working.  We were forced to travel down many, many flights of stairs holding our luggage.  One of the hotel workers followed us asking many questions about how to get to America.  He did not offer to help us carry our luggage.  We did not offer him any information on immigrating.  The reality is, we really have no idea.  We were born there, what can I say?  


I was never so happy to be wheels up and away from a place as I was that day.  Kenya Airlines did me a solid and got me back to the GCC, just in time to drive to work.  


Oak Cliff Ambassador Out!




Oak Cliff Ambassador