Friday, September 3, 2010

Hello, Zanzibar.

After an emotionally draining last few days in Swaziland and many hours in transit, I FINALLY arrived in Dar Es Salaam last night. I waited an hour in a line full of impatient South African fishermen to get my visa, had a nice but unsuccessful evening drive through Dar in search of a working ATM, slept a peaceful (but very warm and humid) night at the Safari Inn (I'd recommend it), and then took the 90-minute ferry over to the island of Zanzibar this morning.

As the ferry pulled into the Zanzibar harbor, all my memories from my last trip to Zanzibar (seafood and Fantas from the night market, nearly passing out from the heat on our spice tour, Persian baths, stepping on a sea urchin, more seafood) came rushing back, replacing any apprehension I had about leaving Swaziland with the excitement of getting to spend nearly a MONTH in this island paradise.

I spent my first few hours in Stone Town (the old part of Zanzibar Town) dragging everything I own (literally) through the cracked and puddled cobblestone streets, looking for a backpackers for less than $20 a night. I'm staying here for 3 weeks...I really can't afford $20 a night! So I begged and pleaded and finally found a room to rent in a house near a backpackers for $7 a night. I have my own room with a sagging, grass-filled mattress, a small school desk with an attached chair, and a shared kitchen, bathroom, and living room. (Although the kitchen has no stove because I guess somebody stole it.) Apparently my house mates are a Portuguese couple and a Tanzanian man, but I haven't met them yet, and the other apartments in the building are all full of Zanzibari families that, so far, have been very welcoming.

The one thing I HAVEN'T yet figured out is food. It's Ramadan on the predominately Muslim island of Zanzibar, which means that there's not a whole lot of eating going on between sun up and sun down. Last night I was too tired (and only had $100 bills!) to hunt down food, and today I've been traveling and so preoccupied with finding housing and working ATMs and getting a new sim card and informing people that I'm alive (that's what I'm doing now) that I haven't actually eaten anything since the beef and potatoes on the flight. 19 hours ago. But is it disrespectful to eat in public in front of people who are fasting? Dilemma.

Anyway, I'm off to find a plug adapter for my computer and phone and camera (they use the British 3-prong one here and all I have is the EU one), to find (sea)food, and to find my friends from Swaziland if/when the phone network magically starts working again.

I'll try to make it back to the internet to post photos and whatnot sometime this weekend...If, in the meantime, you need to contact me, my new number for Tanzania (which SHOULD stay the same until December) is: +255 686 205 710. (If you're dialing from the US, you can either dial the + or 011 before the 255. 255 is the country code for Tanzania. Sometimes there's a 0 before the first 6, sometimes not.)

I love my life.


No comments: