I am sitting in a bar in Zanzibar with an Ibiza and a Salou feeling. Ibiza, because there are many hip white people and a Salou vibe, because there is a party every night in a different bar or hotel on the beach.
Rich white people
In the meantime you would almost forget that you pass through the corrugated iron houses at the hotel. At Afrikaners, the local restaurant, we mix every evening when we’re at a Swahili meal, like egg with fries, a typical local dish. Also thanks to the Masai who walk on the beach in traditional clothing and try to sell jewelry you notice that you are in Tanzania. Only those who have some kind of stamp on their cheeks are real Masai, others dress like Masai, because then you probably sell more. But apart from these tourist sellers I hardly notice that I am in Africa. At least not the Africa I have in mind.
With the Dala Dala to the doctor
Until I have to see a doctor, because I am suffering from yellow fluid that has been running out of my ear for a few days. I can be taken there for forty dollars, but I know by now that the Dala Dala, the local bus, is barely a few euros, so I go myself. Actually I arrive without any problems at the doctor who reassures me: I have no permanent hearing damage. I have an ear infection and a week on the drops helps me to get rid of it. Fortunately, because I already had a doom scenario in my head that I might never be able to dive again, but it is not that bad.
Back home I’m near Stone Town, the town on Zanzibar, which is an island and can be reached by two hour boat trip from Dar El Salaam, the capital of Tanzania.
I’ve heard so many different stories about Stone Town, from being very boring to a nice town where you can stay for a few days. I wouldn’t do the latter, one day is enough, but it is a beautiful town with narrow streets that looks Portuguese. Unfortunately the internet here is so slow that I am not able to find out what the history of Stone Town is on Zanzibar.
Most white people who come here, including many Dutch, Germans, Danes, Swedes, South Africans, Russians and Poles, come for kitesurfing. This is one of the best places in the world to do and learn. Moreover, the weather is good.
Quiet due to ending of season
March is the end of the season, next month the rainy season starts, so there is not always wind and there are less tourists, but to be honest I like that. There are still enough people to party with and at least not too busy on the beach.
The people of Tanzania are not as annoying as in some countries where they keep stalking you to sell something. Everyone is very nice and tries to start a relationship before they sell you something. They don’t always expect money, which is nice.
Back to Paje
After seeing a large part of Stone Town I decide to go back to Paje, where I have a hotel on the beach. A man says I can’t go to Paje anymore, but I decide to check if the Dala-Dala is going and yes, he is. I just can’t go directly.
First at least two buses pass by, because they are full. Then when a bus arrives everyone starts running, including me. I want to come back. A man starts complaining about me in the crowd. I don’t know why, but I knew it was about me and say something like ‘wow, hello! The whole group of people starts laughing and eventually we neither get in the bus.
Child in the bus
Luckily I can do it with the next one and the man can’t, so I am happy. We stop a few bus stops further to let two women and a child in while the bus is completely full. Still they want to come along and so first the child is hoisted inside, he is pushed into the hands of a strange woman on which the girl starts to cry and then her young mother and girlfriend get into the bus who are squeezed together at the door. Then we start driving the girl starts to cry harder, because she doesn’t see her mother. Nobody responds. I don’t think I have ever seen this before: as a child you are pushed into the hands of strangers in the bus, but in Tanzania or Zanzibar nobody seems to look up.
Parties in Paje
Late in the evening I am back in Paje where I eat locally, a chapati with some small snacks. Chapati is Indian, but also typical local food in Tanzania. How it ever came to Tanzania? No idea, but it is delicious.
Back in the hotel everyone is there again and I pick up Salou life again. On to the next party.