May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


School kids
November 20—Janet made us some delicious pancakes before we rushed out to the cab.  (I left a t-shirt and socks drying in the room.)  When we got to the airport, the guy didn’t have our info.  Eventually, we found out we were there the wrong day!  We were put on a plane to Zanzibar anyway, and ended up at the Flamingo Inn.
fish at the market
…Onwards to the market to see if we could find beach shoes and rain jacket for Les and a replacement t-shirt for me.  He got a pair and I picked up a local shopping assistant that I couldn’t shake. 
Treasures we find when getting lost on our walk

We ate an early dinner facing the beautiful sea, and waded in the warm water.  At the hotel, we read then went to the roof to hang laundry; and there was a big wedding party going on—except it was all women! (Muslim men apparently party at some other place.)  We could see them bobbing their dances in the window.
No Malaria for me

They sang for hours—call and response—and when they started leaving, we watched the parade of amazing dresses and headpieces flow from the hall.  I woke to the calls of prayer at 5AM and looked at the stars from the roof.

These are used for walls, shingles, window covering, etc.

November 21—After breakfast, we packed and made our way to where the dalla-dallas (bus made from a truck with a roof.) were.  A guy lead us to the Matemwe bus, another helped with the bags on the roof and asked for money.  He said 30,000 each.  I said I heard it was 1,500.  He said that was the old price.  No, I got it today from the hotel.  He said, ok 30,000 each.  I said 3,000 for two. Need to pay for bags--Ok, 10,000 each. I went to the driver to ask how much a fare is and he said he didn’t know. 5,000 for two. 10,000 for two. 5,000. 10,000. 5,000. The bus started pulling away with our stuff on it.  He had me.  I gave him the 10,000, Grrr.  They pulled away as we were getting in.  As it turns out, everyone pays a conductor who rides in the back.  Most people paid 1,500.  It was crowded with everyone watching everyone else’s moves.  We couldn’t be sneaky in taking photos. 
Cloves drying along the road

Communal Well

They dropped us at Mohammed’s bungalows, where we walked through a little village with a central well where women were pulling up water with a plastic container on the end of a rope.  Goats and chickens were walking around, and we soon found we were the only guests there.  We wanted to snorkel and also make it to our next place in the SE part of the island.  We walked to a diving place, but he wanted me to do a refresher course before taking me out (smart on his part, actually—I don’t remember much), and it would take 2 days.  So we asked Mohammed (who is one of the few Tanzanians with hotel business; most are Europeans) if he could take us out snorkeling. 
Jim look at that boat construction!

They walked the boat at low tide

The island around where we snorkeled

Communicating with water maps

Les "takes the bait"

He called boatman Hadj and his son who took us to the island where we saw lots of fish, sea snake, helicopter and long fish, a beautiful spotted ray, and a white fish you couldn’t see unless you disturb them.  The son picked up an old piece of coral for us to hold, and inside were lots of tiny blue fish; it was like holding a magic ball.  The water was the warmest I’ve ever snorkeled in.  Hadj yelled to us that the tide was going out.  We went back and because the inner channel was shallow, they got out and walked the boat.  Once we got out and pushed.  Hadj got a sea urchin stuck in his foot and I pulled out what I could with my fingernails.  Eventually we could go no further, we walked to the shore and home, happy with our adventure.  Les’s new shoes did well in this situation, but they don’t feel good on his feet, so he will give them to Hadj before we leave.  Les took a couple of tumbles, one into the hole of the hull, rolling like a tumbleweed, and another getting into the boat and falling backwards with pack on. Yikes.  Dinner was the best calamari I’ve ever had, we relaxed in a hammock (a woven bed of branches raised between two trees) and watched the stars emerge, with a strong sea wind in our faces.
November 22—We had breakfast and went out to wait for the dalla-dalla.  A taxi van came by and offered to drive us for $30US.  We said we would wait for the bus.  Eventually he took us for what we were willing to pay for the public transport.  Yeay.
We went to the bus lot in Stone City and caught the next one to Jambiani where Pakachi Resort awaited us.  When asked to pay a guy, I said I’d pay the conductor.  I wasn’t about to make that mistake again.  It ended up even cheaper than I thought it would be.  When it rained, they put our bags on our laps.  Other than the bolt in my back as we rode, it was a lovely ride.  A Maasai warrior was in there with us too; and a white woman! 

After we were dropped off, we borrowed the snorkeling gear and went out into the hot sea!  It was cooler a distance out, but nothing we could see. Then a swim.  After we got back, the sea retreated WAAAY out there.  People went out to gather seaweed for soap making.

We met a nice German couple who love to travel.  Man Tomas and Karen had quite the adventures roughing it when they were younger!

November 23—I tried to use the Internet for hours and hours and didn’t get very far.  Les read.  Later we went for a walk to the nearby town and back.  It was very simple; not much there.  Nice walk, save the few folks wanting us to buy their stuff or services.  It sure is beautiful.

Lumber yard.  Build your home with this.

November 24—Breakfast, a little business and off to catch the dalla-dalla.  At one point there were 32 people and 4 infants on board a truck with benches around the back and a roof.  We took a van to the airport, had a little trouble getting a flight, had a real shot of espresso at the airport and sailed off over the small bit of ocean to Dar Es Salaam.

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