Tanzania Day 18 - Our first day in Zanzibar

I slept fairly well last night, except for getting up about 7 times last night to go to the bathroom. It looks like we’re both getting traveler’s diarrhea again. Yay.

We got our usual breakfast at 7am, and then finished packing our stuff to make sure it didn’t go over the weight limit. We then went to the lobby at around 8:00 with the hopes that Abel would be there. Luckily he was, and he had a driver waiting to transfer us over to the airport. We asked Abel about the 80,000 shillings that we lent Elvis, and he said he didn’t hear about that and that he’d probably have to end up wiring us some money after the trip is over. Ugh.

We met our driver, Dale, who was going to bring us to the airport. It was cloudy and raining, so we weren’t able to see Kilimanjaro one last time :-(.

We made it to the airport and had a ridiculously easy time getting our tickets and getting through security. The airport is small, and parts of it were open and getting rained on. After waiting a little while, we walked onto the runway to get onto our plane. What fun. There was a bit of turbulence on the flight because of the clouds, but nothing too bad. The flight lasted about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It was raining when we arrived in Zanzibar. It also rained the entire hour drive to our hotel :-(.

Open eating area at Kilimanjaro International Airport
Zanzibar airport
View of Zanzibar from the plane
Our plane on the runway at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar

To get to our hotel, we did the typical routine of driving through sketchy, dilapidated, polluted areas. It’s weird since this is what most of the country is like, and we just drive right through it to get to our luxurious escape.

When we got to Langi Langi Beach Bungalows, I gave the receptionist my name, and he looked very confused as if he wasn’t expecting us. I gave him my name, Charlie’s name, Abel’s name, and Ahsante Tour’s name, and he still didn’t seem to know what was going on. Eventually he had me sign in, but he said our room wasn’t ready yet even though it was 1pm. We ended up waiting over an hour for our room to get ready. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even walk outside because it was raining, so we just sat in a small room next to the dining room with nothing to do.

Eventually we made our way up to our room which was beautiful. We have our own balcony which overlooks the lower deck and the ocean. The rain finally stopped, so we decided to talk a walk around the “sketchy” roads to find a grocery store and get some water and beer. It was hot, even with the sun behind the clouds. We were also wearing pants to respect the culture. They frown upon shorts and bare midriffs.

The people in Zanzibar are much friendlier and less heckling than the people in mainland Tanzania. We walked around the beat-up roads for quite a bit. It was unfortunate how much trash there was lying around on the sides of the road. There were lots of goats, and there was one baby goat that was probably only a few days old, and was hopping around all over the place.

Walking through a village in Zanzibar.
Wardrobe sign at Zanzibar discussing appropriate attire to respect their culture.
The trash in the local villages of Zanzibar was terrible, even at the "Waste Management" center.
Walking through local Zanzibar.

We walked along the beach a little bit as well. We passed by lots of dhows, a.k.a. fishing boats. We walked past a boat yard, and Charlie talked with one of the boat builders, and he said a medium-sized boat would sell for about 7.5 million shillings.

We continued to meander through the streets some more and bought a pineapple, two mangos, and a coconut for about 4800 shillings ($3). Wow, we didn’t get ripped off for once! We also got a small water bottle for 500 shillings (about 30 cents).

We were getting hungry, so we headed back to the beach to find a place to eat dinner. It was a maze trying to get out of the streets, but we eventually found our way. We found a restaurant right by the water and started by ordering ourselves some tropical drinks. I had a Pina Colada, and Charlie had Sex on the Beach.

We ordered our dinner, and then spent some time talking with a local guy, Abuu, who works for Spanish Divers. His job is to convince people to buy water sport packages, which he gets a 10% commission on. He was telling us that local people like him get paid about $350 a month, but if you are from another country (regardless of where you had your education and how good your English is) you can make over $2500 a month to do the same thing. He thinks his boss is a bit racist.

Abuu asked us how long we’ve been together. When we told him 7 years, he asked us why we weren’t married. According to him, I have Angelina Jolie’s eyes and Charlie looks like Brad Pitt. Hah!

We learned a little bit more about our friend. He is 31 years old, and has a wife and 3 kids. He lives in a house without electricity, and his family waits for him to get home from work before having dinner (which ends up being around 8:30pm). He was a very nice guy.

Abuu also told us about how a storm today destroyed the fabric canopy to the restaurant we were staying at. Apparently it was very windy, and it was the worst storm he had seen in 10 years. It was really bad around 1am, and apparently our friend’s boss called him at midnight to ask him to move their jet skis. He said no because the people who get paid more than him should do it!

We saw remnants of the storm as we were walking through the streets. Many of the trees had fallen down, and many roofs had collapsed or had trees on them.

We ate our dinner which was delicious as usual, and then Charlie ordered a bottle of Tusker while I ordered a spice cake with chocolate frosting. After talking with Abuu for about an hour, I still hadn’t gotten my cake. I asked the waiter again, and Charlie said he saw him run out of the restaurant into the street, probably to get my cake. The cake was horrible. It tasted like an old gingerbread cookie and was really hard to get down.

Dinner on the beach in Nungwi, Zanzibar
Tusker beer. Apparently it was named after the elephant that killed one of its founders.

After dinner, we headed back to our hotel. Tomorrow we’re hoping to go snorkeling. We had met someone earlier in the day on the street who could do a trip to Mnemba Island for $25 each. He will pick us up at the hotel tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

Oh, I forgot one thing. Apparently four Turkish people own most of the resorts in this area. Crazy.