11th of April 2016:
Today’s the day that I have been waiting for since I started this whole journey (apparently 82 days!) Where has the time gone! When I awoke it was raining. No one wants to pack down the tent in the rain, but we had no choice, unfortunately. I was having a very sloth morning no matter how much I knew I had to move quicker my body just couldn’t seem to do it, I wasn’t the only one thankfully. We caught the ferry at 9:30am and this was an experience to say the least. Our tour leader told us to stay together and she was not kidding. We became cattle in a way, 100’s of people commuting to work squished into a little railing. People were pushing every direction it was like a mosh pit when you have no control where your going the mass people around you pull and push you in ever direction. Our group were separated but thankfully we got on the ferry in between the cars. It was still raining at this point so shelter was wanted by all these people trying to not look like drowned rats at work. Although Africans have this power to somehow repel dirt, they all seem to look glamorous no matter what, whilst I have a shower and step out and get dirt on myself again. We then walked a few metres to a tuk tuk to take us to the Zanzibar port. Kate, Andrea and myself jumped in. Our tour guide and us had told him where we were going. He smiled and took off, clearly this would make you think he knows where his going. After driving around (apparently aimlessly) and stopping to chat to people on the side of the road he asks us again where we would like to go. After once again saying Zanzibar ferry he all of sudden says “boat” so now he takes us to the ferry. By the time we arrived our tour leader was starting to panic and everyone who walked were already waiting. Our ferry ride only took 2 hours with non stop Israel the Voice kids show on. We had no idea what they were singing but we had already picked our favourites.
By the time we arrived at Stonetown, Zanzibar it was 12pm. We checked into our own private room which was gorgeous. After sleeping in a tent for so long a private hot shower and king size bed was paradise. We quickly left the hotel to begin our spice tour. After our lunch we took a mini bus to a little “forest” where our guide would take us through the trees, bushes and plants to show us the natural forms of spices. It was incredible and made me realise how useless I am determining spices through smell and taste. Something I should experiment with back home. Although I personally don’t enjoy eating raw ginger and pepper. As we ended the walking part of the tour with a starfish on our heads and “natural red lipstick” on our foreheads.
We witnessed a man singing and climbing a coconut tree, very unique talent. All of a sudden Kate turned to me and said she was about to pass out, her face was green and her eyes were dazed. After 20 minutes of Kate sitting down we got her into the mini van to head back to the hotel.
We continued on through Stonetown, weaving in and out of concrete buildings with impressive huge wooden doors.
Stonetown was a maze with every building looking the same no matter which direction you look. We stopped off at an amazing coffee shop, typical me as I don’t enjoy coffee or tea I ordered a hot chocolate and it was delicious. We continued through, ending in a gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking the sun setting over the ocean. After a cocktail we were on our way to the night market. After continuously being hassled to come to their stall we choose chicken yiros (their equivalent) and for dessert Nutella, banana crepe. So delicious. Once we got back to our room it was so nice to have wifi again so we caught up with everyone back home and updated the blog and photos.
12th of April 2016:
We had the morning to ourselves in Stonetown which sounds exceptional after being on a tour for so long to have freedom but it was just a free ticket to getingt lost. We had a late breakfast where we went for a walk with Bella. She took us to an amazing coin shop that made necklaces and rings out of coins from all over the world. Then we went to a little Spanish restaurant where we drank hot chocolates till we had to head back to go to the northern beaches of Zanzibar.
We took an hour drive to the Northern beaches where we stayed in a gorgeous hotel on the beach. Once again we got a private room with a balcony, after all this glamour it’s going to be hard to be happy in a tent again.
The service however at the restaurant was true African time, to receive food it took an hour once we had ordered, even for drinks it took 30 minutes. At least we were prepared for this for dinner. The rest of the evening consisted of naps and eating, hard life I’d say.
13th of April 2016:
This morning we had a well deserved sleep in (8:30am) and went down to the beach front for breakfast. The locals speak very little English as I speak very little Swahili, so ordering breakfast was an adventure. Ellie and Rhet were told there were no more eggs left, then 15 minutes later they were ordered to stay because their eggs were coming (even though they weren’t exactly the order they had originally made). We then went for a little walk down the beach, the weather wasn’t exactly what I dreamt of. Being on a beach you generally dream of the hot Ray’s soaking into your skin. Unfortunately for me it was merely rain that was soaking into my skin. Our new adopted dog Rusty followed us all the way down the beach.
For some odd reason, Africans don’t like dogs, Rusty ran up to the hotel owner when men were chasing her. As we were walking with her she was so upbeat and playful even knew how to play catch with the stick, however as soon as we walked past locals she ran in between us. She was so frightened it made me feel so sorry for her, knowing when we leave she may be left stranded again. I wish we could have adopted Rusty. The rain began to end by early afternoon so we laid by the sun beds overlooking the sail boats in the flat water whilst hearing sellers trying anything to grab your attention. At 4pm we were on a old sail boat sailing and drinking alcohol till darkness fell. It was surprisingly fun, considering I thought it would be the same as the other sunset cruise we did in Livingstone. As the sun was setting we stopped to jump off the boat (again and again). First time in my life I’ve done a backflip into water, let alone with alcohol in my system. Although possibly why I actually did it. It’s not like backflips are hard, to me after gymnastics and trampolining I can easily do it, it’s just I normally hate diving. When we arrived back to land and got changed out of our bathers we went out for dinner. Nick was quite drunk, and the next day didn’t even remember what he ate (a whole chicken pizza). At the bar there was a swing and he fell off thankfully without spilling his beer. I however just loved being on a swing, swinging till my heart was content. Overall tonight was pretty incredible and fun, we don’t drink often but the nights that we have they seem to have held wonderful memories and laughter.
14th of April 2016:
The morning after last night was a different story. I wasn’t as hungover as I have been on this entire trip but upbeat and awake I was not. We laid on the sun beds again, as the sun was out and shining. After an hour or so the massage lady came and I jumped on the idea. I haven’t had a massage the entire time we’ve been travelling and my back, neck and shoulders were so tight. I had knots in my back I didn’t even realise existed because I had become so used to living with it. Before travelling I was exercising every day and stretching a few days a week, now I’m hardly exercising and haven’t really stretched since the last yoga session with Kat, and that was not long enough. After an hour massage I felt taller and better than I’ve felt in awhile since travelling, it was exactly what I needed. Then the rains came, no more sunshine and maybe getting a tan. A huge storm rolled in, torrential rain and thunder opened up the skies for a few hours. Thankfully it was perfectly timed for lunch time. When I had finished my huge portion of chicken and avocado sushi the rains stopped and the sun came out again. Tonight was our last night in the northern beaches of Zanzibar. After last nights ordeal we had an early night with a special feast for the group. Entree, mains and dessert on a table on the beach with candles lit around. Honestly if it wasn’t for 8 people you would call it romantic. It was one of those settings you see people getting proposed in, and unless Andrew was going to propose again to Kat there was just going to be no romance.
15th of April 2016:
We left at 8:30am to head back to Stonetown where we would catch the ferry back to Dar Es Salam. As we jumped into the mini-van to head back to Stonetown, Bella thought she had lost her passport. After frantically looking around her bag and her room she thankfully found it in a little bag she never puts it in. Thankfully, she found it cause she wouldn’t have even been able to board the ferry to Dar Es Salam. We only had an hour and a half in Stonetown to head back to the coin shop and the coffee cafe.
We quickly caught the ferry back to Dar Es Salam. It was a bit choppy, and even though we were watching some Chinese karate movie (not in English) I started feeling ill. When I was a kid I would never get sea sick, now I’m older I seem to be getting motion sickness on what ever boat I get on. Whilst we were walking to the other port to get to Dar Es Salam I still felt nauseous, I wish this feeling subsided quickly but after two days I felt more normal. We arrived in Dar Es Salam at 4pm to see George who was underway cooking dinner for us all. I tried to help out just so I could distract myself from the motion sickness. It started to pour down so everyone upgraded to a room, as we were also leaving at 4:30am the next day. The rain was coming in so hard sideways whilst we were in bed that it was like a light spray.
16th of April 2016:
Today was another long driving day with 14 hours sitting in the bus bored to our brains. Thankfully today was the last 14 hour drive we will ever have to do in Africa so it always seems to make life that little bit easier. I still had a bit of motion sickness feeling when I awoke but surprisingly when I read, it seemed to be the only thing that would cause it to disappear. I read an entire book today. I don’t think I’ve done that in a good few years. Even Nick started a book, I was so proud of him he reached nearly the 100 page mark which is a miracle! Normally he won’t even pick it up to read the title. We arrived in Snake Park in the afternoon, where we went about our normal routine of setting up a tent and having dinner cooked for us by the campsite staff.
17th of April 2016:
I was so thankful to wake up when I wanted to and not to an alarm, even if it was still 7am. We had a very relaxing chilled day where we went to see the local shops. Tanzania are famous for their Tanzanite, which are gorgeous diamonds. All the girls swarmed over to the display cabinets knowing in their hearts that there was no way any of us could afford it or reason ourselves to spend that much. Andrea bought the most gorgeous wedding band I have ever seen. Her wedding is in November and she has seen the exact same design in Mexico for double the price and apparently with worse quality (“glistening effect”) diamonds. It was a simple thin, silver band with tiny diamonds glistening around her entire finger.
We came back to the campsite to watch the snake feeding. We had heard a lot about it and it only ever happens on a Sunday. I was actually pretty keen. At 1pm on the dot we were at our campsites snake park zoo all buzzing with excitement when the zookeeper told us today they feed them an hour early because of the sunshine. I was fairly disappointed but non the less we walked around to see all the snakes, when all of a sudden I see a quick slither to the corner. In as quick as a blink the snake was at the birds neck with its tongue. This gave me goosebumps and still is just writing it, I will never get the image out of my head. The bird did nothing, as if freezing made it invisible, unfortunately it opened its mouth up and started eating it… Slowly. When I say slow I literally mean 30 to 45 minutes of this bird pecking it’s eyes because it ate from the feet first. It was horrifying to see the terror in the tiny little chicken knowing that it can’t escape and being eaten alive. As I moved on to the next window a python as big as what you imagine Anacondas in the exaggerated movie to be. It was freaky, I couldn’t even comprehend how big it was with its skin wrapped around its cage and its self.
Nick, Andrea, Kelly and myself decided to do the Masai walk this afternoon (4pm) because it wasn’t raining and we knew we wouldn’t feel like doing it after the Serengeti. We started our walk through a little local museum, showing us the different huts and cultural norms of the Masai men and women. Their culture is so unique to the western society. Numerous practices which are norms for them would consider you a sinner if you were a westerner. The biggest fact that I still can’t get my head around is that men are allowed however many wives and children as long as they can provide for all. Therefore some may have 1 or 2 wives whilst others may have 20 wives with 50 children. To be considered a Masai Warrior you must pass the test of manhood at 14 years of age. Boys are held down by other warriors whilst an elder completes the practice of circumcision. Unfortunately just going through the procedure means nothing, to be a warrior the boy must not make any noise, cry or show any sense of pain. Please tell me how this is possible it sounds dreadful. It’s not like in the western world where we have pain killers. If you thought this would be enough to be considered a warrior you were wrong. Originally boys then had to hunt and kill a lion by themselves and take the head back to the village. This may have taken days or weeks. Now due to protection of lions they do not continue this practice.
After the museum we walked to the local Masai village. 50 children aged between new borns to teenagers were outside playing. The young children were adorable as they hung on to you wanting to spin them around. Exactly like Laos and I remembered how dizzy it made me.
They thought Nicks beard was so funny and kept wanting to touch it. He would play with the children allowing them to get close to his beard then growl as they ran screaming and laughing falling over each other. Then Kelly brought a tennis ball out of her bag, when the little children were playing it was fine they would be sharing it between each other trying to chase it. As soon as the teenagers saw it, things became aggressive very quickly. One girl literally flung a guy on the ground as he tried to steal it off her, this resulted in the ball being taken away from them.
It was time to say goodbye and my god I loved the walk through and playing with the children, even the baby goats were saying goodbye.
We went into the snake park clinic which is dedicated to solely people being bitten by snakes. Two young boys were in their. One was doing his homework as he had already been sitting there for a month. Apparently it was lucky he didn’t lose any limbs which is beyond words.
Today was a pretty full on day with so many different experiences to say the least!