Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7/10th, 2009

I am literally sitting on the beach, feet engulfed in white sand, surrounded by the familiar sounds of Bob Marley, rasta vibe abound looking out at the clear blue waters of the Indian ocean- consumed with pure and utter tranquility. Words cannot describe.

I have been hit this hard with culture shock of: leaving Lusaka, my arrival parade through Ethiopia and destination of such; described.

With one day notice I booked a ticket from Lusaka to Zanzibar anticipating a cheap vacation, where I could put my hostel on a credit card and read a couple of development books (one of which I highly recommend; DEAD AID- MOYO). BUT, to my despair I arrived to Zanzibar lost and a bit confused... I was unaware a US Visa would require a multiple entry and thus US$100 dollars, so I had to talk my way through customs (with no passport as they held it), through the million taxi's awaiting my business, to town to the nearest ATM and prayed to all the Gods in this world that I'd be able to extract a mere $30US dollars (yes, $30.00 US dollars!) from my bank account. It worked.

The 7th of July (7,7)
Then I proceeded to the hostel I had booked online (the day before), thinking it would be a little more than most, but nonetheless, worth the $US16.00 also assuming, keep in mind, that the charges would apply on my credit card. So....then I find out that the place where I booked, Jambiani, is a $50US dollar taxi ride- an hour from the airport in Zanzibar. OK...back to ATM and praying....again, it worked (dad, am I praying to you?). I arrived to Casa del Mar and a smile overtakes my every emotion, from chills to calmness, just pure and utter happiness. I sit in chill mode for a good hour, taking in the smell, air, freshness and peace and quiet of my surroundings. Amazing.

An hour later I am informed that the remainder of my bill is due in 36 hours, IN cash (Shillings of which I have none-nor do I have any American Dollars! lol). AND, there are no ATM's in Jambiani (total beach town). So I make arrangements the following day for Stone town, which is 'in town' about an hour away of which I cannot afford to get to so I am reluctant to be- befriended by one of the Casa del Mar workers, Bashir. Bashir is a young, intelligent- striving to study- boy who works at the guest house. Bashir was kind enough to accompany me to Stone town where I could pray again, to access the ATM (so as to pay for my guest house). I was overcome with cultural shock when arriving in Stone town...not just bustling busy-ness but rather the literal culture at hand. Stone town, actually Zanzibar in general, is predominantly Muslim and therefore all businesses, bars, restaurants etc. follow Muslim religion, tradition etc. meaning, no one sells alcohol, food is limited (and or particular) and every woman around is covered head to toe in a garment. (Just made me feel a bit uncomfortable being that it is 100 degrees and i can't even shed my sweater to expose a well covered tank top!). So, although interesting, (I visited the Slave Market- from the late 1800's for example), I was eager to get out of Stone town and back to Jambiani asap!

The following day Bashir accompanied me back to Jambiani where I stayed another night at Casa del Mar, and today, found a lovely guest house (run by two American brothers) which is on the beach, a 'self-contained room (i.e. a single room with ones' own bathroom/shower)and is only 25,000 TSH (Tanzanian Shilling) equivalent to less than US$20 dollars. And here I have been sitting, for 3 1/2 hours talking endlessly to locals about the beauty that surrounds us, development of Tanzania (again, influence of the book I have just finished) and literally, taking it all in. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Ok, I am off to prepare for a beautifl sunset and bonfire. I know, it's ridiculous, especially coming from DRC/Zambia-of endless hours, days, weeks and months of travel and work in inane and unpredictable conditions!
I'll update again soon (now that I know where to find Internet!) so as to keep all updated on my travels through Zanzibar, Ethiopia and finally, USA (July 17th).
mambo vipi....
A group of us went on a ‘moon walk’ around 11pm, which was unbelievable! It was a full moon last night and the Indian Ocean has a low tide and high tide twice a day, last night the tide was SO low that we were able to walk all the way out, maybe a mile or two on the sand bars. The moon lighted our excursion and, not even photos can describe the ‘coolness’ of it.

The past few days it has been windy and even rained a couple of times, still though, beautiful and tranquil. Today was sunny however and I am well into another book! A true paradise really, not only the ambiance but the ability to sit, read and enjoy the sounds of life- a little less hectic.
I have two more days before I head ‘home’ with a few stops in between, I can’t believe I will be back in Los Angeles in a week!? The only way to describe it is as weird, very weird…

1 comment:

  1. Hi Krista

    I have already send request to your Facebook account and also send a mail at your barneskrista@gmail account in which i desribe my self and also how I found you please read that mail and reply
    I am looking forward to working with your organisation