THIS IS THE FIRST OF MY DIARY ENTRIES FROM FIVE WEEKS IN TANZANIA & ZANZIBAR, I’M LAME ON HTML, SO THE ‘TRAVEL FACTS’ FOR PEOPLE LOOKING FOR HARD INFORMATION ARE ALL IN PURPLE AT THE BOTTOM.
But first some freeform:
Malaria flies with the dust, red mixing with the pink hope of the morning.
Sea hedgehogs rolling in with the tide. Stranded starfish with violent red spike dots beach on white dunes. Sea brains. Sea sponges. Massais on mobiles. Sand in shoes. Is that a skin cancer mole? Do the sun screens have chemicals with arthiritus inducing properties?
Will the Doctor Haushka last the whole trip? Will the aftersun last another five weeks?20 uses for the face cream – it that for people with big faces?
I spent five hours researching the best flip flops before I left, can’t buy white soles because the red dust of Africa will stain. Panic. Maybe the gold.
Holiday people here wear Diesel. The Maasai have wibbly rubber straws with beads through their toes. They’d be freaky bad back in London, I mustn’t buy any. They’re probably on sale in the resort shop for $50. I was gonna spend £100 on some Tony Burch flip flops in Selfridges. Then realised I had some…My flip flops are fine, I got them in a BKK market, made of recycled rubber but they’re not Havaianas.
I dreamt I was in Fortnum’s consuming. Is that the best my subconscious can do?
I’m in paradise and I don’t want to kill a little starfish, welk or coral as I go to the naked sandbanks at the distance of the far tide. Warm water at my feet. Is the sun too strong. Are my shoulders offensive. This is Muslim territory. Jambo (Hello) Mambo (Alright?) Pou-er (Yeah, man, I’m cool).
Let it go – finish Jacky Collins. Absorb. The ocean is a creche for children in search of a mystic fish to please mummy. Boats – wooden and fewer plastic. Dhows. Wooden masts shorter than the palms ashore. Sails stunted by three men guiding the boat back into the shore with the catch we will eat later.
HOW WE GOT THERE: HEATHROW TO DAR http://www.britishairways.com
CAB TO FERRY: $25, there are loads of official operators at the airport wearing photo id. Those hustlers are the guys who speak better English than the drivers. They co-ordinate for a cut of the cover price.
FERRY: Here’s where it gets stressy – there are zillions of middlemen, ignore them if you can and go straight to the windows of the ferry companies. Find out from the officials which ferries are leaving and when (they run from around 6.30am to 4pm to Stone Town, and the last from ST to Dar was around 6.30pm). There are several different operators. First or second class was $35 with the people we used.
On arrival at Stone Town, there’s like a decompression hut where the hustlers can’t get in, it’s organised by the Zanzibari Tourism department, get your bearings there. They can organise rides, hotels, whatever (probably for a little commission, which you’ll be beginning to learn is part and parcel of being a tourist).
We got lucky with a local ride turning right along the waterfront. They waited for us to have lunch, looked after our bags and helped us out with orientation, all for the princely sum of about $50 to take us to Kizimkazi in the very south of the island, maybe an hour and a half away.