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Sep 25, 2005 - Off the coast of Tanzania
ZANZIBAR Island !

Reported by JoMar All rights reserved.

... departing Nairobi was welcomed, all the hype about it being so very "unsafe" almost made us sleep with one eye open. It is even nick-named: Nairoberry, and on the back of our hotel room door, where it usually states the room rates, check in/check out times and perhaps the evacuation route in case of an emergency... it also said:

" WARNING GUESTS... Please be aware it is NOT advisable to leave the hotel on foot after sunset; please take a taxi to and from the hotel door. Beware there are muggers, rapists and murderers in abundance".

So we abided by the rules and warnings and we kept safe!

We expected our airport transfer @ 09:00 hours the morning of the 14th, as our flight departed Nairobi @ 13:00, with an hour ride to the airport.

We waited.

No one came :-(

We called the contact we had (Paul) from Kenya Wildlife Trails, and he said he would send someone immediately.

NOT ...

*uck.

Thanks Dipak!

We did make it on our own, called a taxi and got there in due time, but the drama did not stop there!

We got to check-in counter at about 10:45am to find out there had been a schedule change with our flight back in April! Luckily it was not earlier, but later... instead of a departure at 1pm, we were now leaving at 5pm! So, a six hour wait!

But, not all bad news, Kenya Airways put us up in their executive 1st class lounge, where we enjoyed free internet, any drink you could dream up, meals, lazy-boy recliners, you name it, we had it! Those 6 hours "flew" by, pardon the pun!

Arriving Stonetown, Zanzibar was great! We were a bit worried as we did have another airport - hotel transfer that was expecting us earlier, they too, did not know our flight was changed. But they were informed and they waited!  Good thing as the transfer was just under 2 hours through this jungle-like terrain; we would have never found it!

Arriving on the North end of the island was the area called Nungwi... wow! Our accommodations were very cool. Our own little cabin right across from the beautiful turquoise waters and powder-like sand along the Indian Ocean. It was a small village, with tons of life. There were restaurants by day that turned into these crazy dance clubs at night, that I just loved -- I love to dance! (marc)

We chilled. We ate. We drank. We slept. We loved it!

Bugs?  Yup...  Man, were they B I G!  One morning, right outside our cabin, over the palm awning, was this big assed spider.  OMG... it was huge. It was the size of my hand, with fingers spread out!  We had to quietly, sneakily crouch out from that day forward from our tropical get-a-way cabin in Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar ...

We stayed in Nungwi for 4 days and had a blast. We met these two girls from Arizona, students that were going to be in Tanzania until December, volunteering to teach "Aids Awareness"! They were, Corrie and Wendy. We had so much fun with them for 2 nights dancing the night away along the warm sands of Nungwi Beach. Wendy and I also got henna tattoos, that was cool! Hope you guys are well.

In one of the places we ate, there was this local who had these great ankle braces made from beads that symbolizes his Mari (pronounced Mawree) culture. It went from his ankle up about 4 inches, different colours. I loved it.  But he said I could not get one, as it really only went to Mari warriors and you had to speak Swahili.

I begged.

I received !

He took me to some very spooky house down the pothole filled road and I met this woman who measured my ankle and I paid her $10USD for this and went to pick it up the next day.  It is mostly white, with green and blue diamond-like shapes. I love it!  BUT, it was not as big (long) up the ankle, it only goes up 2 inches instead of his 4" brace... and she said once I learn Swahili, I could then return and she would make me a larger one!

After the 4th day, we were transferred back to Stonetown. A very cool city, reminding us of the narrow streets of Europe, like old Nice and Prague. Stonetown is famous for their spices and Freddie Murcury, who was born there!

A very poor city, with children as young as 2, alone, on the streets saying: 'US dollar please'... luckily, again, like Nairobi, we were only there for a few days, but could not help but feed these unfortunate little ones. They were just as happy to receive food as they were money, that we decided not to give, as they are also addicted to glue sniffing  :-(

Our hotel was pretty good, it was clean and bug free! We were still having to be very aware of mosquitoes/malaria, repelling our bodies every night, before sunset. We seem to have beat it, touch wood, we have NOT been sick at all!

One day, we took a little boat out to one of the islands off Stonetown, called Prison Island, where, as you can guess, there was a prison once.  Wow, that was so beautiful. We rented this boat and a driver to take us there.  It cost us $10USD and he dropped us there and waited until we were done exploring the island and its great turtles along the beaches!

Also met a handsome guy, Halili, who took an interest in us. He loved that we were Canadian and took the time to speak English with him. His English was very good anyway! What a great day ...

All in all, we were sad to have to leave Zanzibar, but also looking forward to the ferry ride from the coast of Stonetown to the hustle and bustle of Dar Es Salaam to meet our flight to Capetown, South Africa, where we will begin our 24 day safari with Drifters!

On a more personal note, I miss all of our friends that we met on our tour in Egypt. GoBus~Egypt... Hope you are all well and still following us along our journey. Drop us a line and let us know how things are.

Guys from home, you know we think of you "all the time" and miss you.

The home-sickness is better. For a while there, I thought I would be a mess for the duration of this venture, but I must be over the hurdle. It is easier, but not easy being away from you.

lots of love,

Johnny and Markie xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

 

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