30th October 2010
When I asked the previous evening for some ice in my coke, I fleetingly wonder whether the water is pure enough to drink, but it's hot and I am really thirsty and an ice-cold cola is much more refreshing than a lukewarm one...
Bad error of judgment. I wake up at 2.30am and have the runs. The only way to more or less stop them is to lie still. As soon as I get up, I need the loo again.
Trouble is we have chosen a tent spot according to the view rather than according to public conveniences.
And for the first time I've only brought the absolute minimum of items into the tent (I'm getting really fed up with lugging so much stuff back and fourth). I did not expect to need medication, which is safely locked in the inside of our truck.
The only useful item locked in the outside compartment of the truck are some all-in-one incontinence pants.
I am so grateful that I bought them, especially when I find out that there won't be many toilet facilities on our journey today...
Our truck drops us at the small ferry which crosses over to the financial district of Dar. Dar looks sophisticated and ultramodern from the water with its sparkling skyscrapers in different geometric shapes.
We have half an hour to exchange money and go shopping before catching the big ferry to Zanzibar.
Things go badly wrong for AH and I. He says he forgot why he was meant to go into the exchange bureau because I kept reminding him to take his Malarone. (He had been under mosquito attack all night after he had forgotten his anti-bug sleeping bag liner in the truck, and Dar is a hotspot for Malaria.)
Anyway, he comes back from the exchange buerau with small Dollar notes. I stare at him in disbelief.
Our tour guide has told us since yesterday that we need sufficient Tanzanian Dollars for Zanzibar (...which incidently turns out to be untrue. Most places want Dollars and give bad exchange rates for Shillings, but of course we only know this in hindsight.).
The exchange rate is worse when you exchange small Dollar notes, and what's worse: We've lost time and our chance to go to the supermarket.
Let's just say the walk over to the big ferry is not one of the crowning verbal exchanges of our marriage, as we are both hot, bothered and extremely irritated.
It doesn't help that I have not been able to eat breakfast and are beginning to feel faint. Where are the banana sellers when you need them?
This part has a happy ending, as AH spots a banana seller in the distance just as we arrive at the port. He manages to buy a big bunch of bananas for me - probably at tourist prices, but I don't care. A banana has never tasted so good!
The big ferry is surprisingly modern and prompt. I just sit on the upper deck, hoping that my stomach will hold out.
To distract myself, I snap a few photos, but only those I can take without getting out of my seat.
As the skyline of Dar disappears and small islands with English looking lighthouses appear, my mind is already in a nice comfy bed somewhere on the island of Zanzibar. Oh, what bliss to have a bed tonight and a roof over my head, rather than a foam mattress and tent canvass!
I manage to dose as the boat rocks gently from side to side, a much smoother journey than travelling on the truck where I get bumped off my seat every time we hit a pothole or speed barrier (of which there are many!)
Stone Town finally comes into view. First impression: Grand buildings, many in desperate need for repair and a lick of paint, but still impressive, even in their faded glory.
My bed is still more than 1 hour away. First there is the haggle for the right taxi price and then the drive in a local minivan to Nungwe at the northern-most tip of Zanzibar.
The women's attire and the palm trees remind me of Goa. (The population here is apparently African, Arabian, Indian and Persian.)
We are told that there are elections tomorrow. One would think that there is only one party to vote for, judging by all the supporters in green and yellow on the streets...
Finally, we get to the Amaan hotel. A twin bedroom with two generously-sized beds, mosquito nets, a huge fan to provide air conditioing and our own ensuite bathroom. Working hot water! My own fluffy white towel! Even ORGANIC showergel and bodylotion.
I'm gonna stay here! (At least until I have recovered from my stomach bug