Not all those who wander are lost - but I'll be disappointed if I don't get lost frequently!

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Tom and I get along really well, so it didn't phase me a bit when a few tent buddy shuffles occurred and Tom and I needed to share a hotel room in Stone Town. How many naps together  had we already shared on the truck beach? Men hog the bathrooms less too, so I wouldn't have much competition for the mirror when getting ready. Score. We laughed and joked about 'sleeping together' as we made our way up the two flights of stairs to our room, inserted the key and opened the door...... To find a beautifully made up queen-size bed. Oh.


I know Tom had been my 'Root' in the 'Root, Shoot, Marry' game yesterday, but come on!

As the door swung open, we looked at each other, smiles frozen on our faces as we each processed the thought of actually sleeping together. I mean, we got on, but I hadn't been planning on spooning him any time soon. I guess this night would test just how good of friends we were.

All this happened in a micro-second. We looked back in at the queen bed, and then watched as the door continued to swing open and reveal a cute single bed tucked up next to the wall. The relief!


That morning we had taken tuk-tuks from the camp site to the ferry terminal in Dar, my first time in one of these contraptions. Three people, three backpacks full of essentials for five days on Zanzibar, and one professional camera lady's load of equipment made for one extremely cramped tuk-tuk. At least we got there faster, as the crazy drivers weaved in and out of the slow-moving traffic, drove on the side walk when necessary, and pushed their way to the front of the cars queued to get onto the car ferry across the channel to Dar itself.

The ferry-ride to Zanzibar was rather uneventful (thankfully). I had taken a tablet for sea-sickness (from my well-stocked and ever handy medical kit), had a good breakfast (included in the price of the ferry ticket) and drank a fair bit of water, which is all supposed to help. We sat up top, chatted for a bit, then I napped for most of the three hours due to the effects of the lovely sea-sickness tablet.

Before I knew it we had arrived in the port of Stone Town on Zanzibar's main island, Unguja. Disembarking from the ferry in the crowded port, it was hard to keep track of where all the Oasis crew were, so some bright spark put up a Gary and we all managed to find each other. Zanzibar thinks that it is it's own separate country from Tanzania (it was an independent country for a few months between being a British protectorate and then merging with Tanzania), so we had to go through 'immigration' and get another stamp in our passports.

Our local tour guide, Ali, took us to the hotel through the warren of alleyways that I was immediately lost in. Then the whole 'sleeping together' moment occurred, and after Tom and I had recovered from that and settled into our room, we set out to explore. While a small group went out on an organised tour of the local sights and spice farms, the rest of us had lunch at Freddie Mercury's (he was born in Stone Town). I had a seafood pizza and a mojito for lunch. Yum yum, just what I needed for an afternoon of shopping for Tanzanite!

I had decided before I even got to Africa that I was going to buy some tanzanite jewellery. I'm not a big one on souvenirs; beaded bracelets, fridge magnets, and bags with 'insert city name here' written all over them have never been my style. I much prefer to save up all my mula for a few meaningful souvenirs that I know I will keep forever. To me, this usually means jewellery. After much deliberation I bought a pendant and some delicate (read small) earring studs of the rare gem from Memories of Zanzibar. They were the shop recommended to me by Ali, and after going to three shops they had the best price per carat and probably the best selection. At six hundred plus dollars a carat, Tanzanite isn't cheap. I keep telling myself that I must have good taste, as all of the pieces I chose to look at were all more than a grand. One day. For now I am very happy with my little pieces of Tanzania (Tanzanite is only found in two secret mines somewhere near Mount Kilimanjaro).

After spending the rest of the afternoon getting thoroughly lost in the streets of Stone Town, checking out all of the local goods and souvenirs on offer, we were eventually guided back to our hotel by a local who was on his way to work at the fish market for the evening. Man, were we lost! Heading in completely the wrong direction and definitely out of 'tourist market' territory. We were running late to get back and meet the others for sundowner cocktails, but at least we had a good look at the markets the locals go to.

Gary joins us for sundowner cocktails at Maru Maru
Sundowner cocktails on the roof of the Maru Maru hotel were on the agenda for that night. There was a special of  2-4-1 drinks, but I can't really say they were nice cocktails. One of them was really difficult to imbibe, giving me a weird feeling in my cheeks as I tried to swallow each mouthful. It was all about quality company, not quality drinks for me, though.

Getting dinner at the local fish market, Forodhani Gardens

What better way to have dinner than eating local seafood off of a stick at the fish markets? I sampled 'sticks' of kingfish, lobster, and chicken, bartering with the stall owners to get a good deal. It was hard to tell in the dark, but I'm not 100% sure that my chicken stick was cooked, so I didn't each much of that one. The kingfish and lobster certainly made up for the dubious chicken, with the salty sweetness of the fish meat covered in local spices for an extra kick. Clare and I shared a mango and nutella crepe for dessert, a weird sounding combination but one that is definitely worth trying.

Ali took us to a local's club after dinner, where they were having a talent competition. I spent the evening watching dance-offs, singing, rapping and modelling. The dancers were especially good, the crowd was going wild voting for their favourite dance crew. 

That night as I drifted off to sleep, I dreamt of twinkling tanzanite and break-dancing beats.

My tanzanite and diamond pendant. 
Is it just me, or does anyone else love to buy jewellery when travelling?

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