Sunday, December 20, 2009

Zanzibar Blues

First I will start by saying I did figure out how to call or text my phone from the States. If you dial 011 255 684 059173 that should put you through to me. Not that I think my phone will now be ringing off the hook but if you feel like calling at Christmas that is always much appreciated. My cheapest rates are when I am still here in Tanzania but that is only for a few more days. I leave for Rwanda and gorilla tracking on the 23rd then on to Uganda for a week or so. My phone does work in these places but I guess is significantly more expensive for me to use.
Anywho, I have escaped from the island of Zanzibar. Am in Dar Es salaam (or just Dar to us traveler types) for the night then back to Arusha tomorrow. I could not wait to get out of Arusha and never dreamed I would be looking forward to going back but I guess that feels like my home base now. I know the lay of the land there and feel somewhat comfortable. Also, I have to fly to Rwanda and it was by far the cheapest place to fly from. So, 9 hour bus ride back tomorrow. Yippie.
So I have not been sick in years. I just plain don't get sick. So what happens the second I land on the exotic island - I come down with a fierce head cold. Not sure if it was the heat or what but I felt horrible.
Stepped off the ferry a few days ago in Stone Town, the main port of Zanzibar. Zanzibar has been a main port of the Indian Ocean for like a thousand years and Stone Town has the feel of the old medinas you find in old Arab cities like in Morocco. The whole island is very Muslim and they consider themselved to be a bit seperate from Tanzania (I had to go through customs) although they are still part of the country.
My first night was spent on Stone Town. All the power has been out on the island for over a week and it is thought it will be out for another few weeks. Apparently they don't get to things like, say, electricity too quickly here. Stone Town was SWELTERING so I decided to head out the beautiful beach town of Kendwa up to the north of the island.
People are always out to scam you on this island so you really have to watch yourself. I am staying at very low end places (along with all the other backpackers) so you really don't ever feel like you can trust anyone (not meaning the backpackers). So I arranged to take a shuttle out to Kendwa with the hotel I was going to but you make these arrangements and you never really know how things are going to go. So some guy (big and scary) shows up for me in the morning and says he is my shuttle yet he had no idea where I was going (I had arranged it with the place I was GOING to). All these guys know your business all the time so any freakshow could have heard at the front desk what my plans were and just decided he was my shuttle. So we had to walk down all these alley ways to get to the van. We get there and there are 5 guys hanging around the van. I am quizzing the guy the whole way as to why if he was sent for me does he not know where to take me. Then he wants the money up front. I am not feeling to good about this but I get in the van anyway, keeping an eye on all closest door handles to jump if I need to. We drive all around town without picking up a single other person.
TO BE CONTINUED (internet time out again)


  1. to be continued?!?! that is a major cliffhanger! & sounds way too scary for me. you are one brave chica, but don't get in any more vans w/ big scary dudes...
    be safe