My dear fans,
I know it has been too long since my last post and that you are all dying to know if the Africa tattoo on my back is real or not (translation; mom I’m finally posting a blog for you and no I would never get a tattoo… in Africa). In my last few weeks here, I have done more than terrify my parents with the pictures I’ve been sending. I have been swimming in the Indian Ocean, drinking Sugarcane juice, and trying to cherish this incredible place as my time here is slowly coming to a close.
But guys guess what… While I wasn’t blogging I found this place called paradise.. Aka Zanzibar!! One of the most beautiful places that I have ever been!!
Last Wednesday, I flew to Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania! I went with some great people too!!
Johnny, Julia, McKenna, Beth, Jenn, and I all boarded the plane together and set off to paradise. We got to the island around 8:00pm, so it was very dark. We all piled into a taxi and buckled in for yet another terrifying ride… I will never listen to anyone ever complain about Jersey drivers again! I shut my eyes and held Julia’s hand the entire ride!
When we arrived we were exhausted yet excited to see our temporary home. We were staying at a hotel called Mustafas in Page. Now if you we’ve go to Page, you MUST spend a night at Mustafas. I felt like I was in a movie or a fairy tale. Whatever it was, it was too good to be true. Mustafas was an open area covered with sand that had different huts for people to stay in spread throughout the property. We stayed in the Round Room. It had three beds and then an upstairs loft. After a some chacula kitamu (delicious food), we lala salama’d (slept peacefully).
We woke up very early so that we could watch the sunrise on the beach. The sand was white and the view was incredible. We walked about two minutes from our hotel to the beach ad just sat down and took in the moment. The water was incredibly clear. Once again my pictures truly couldn’t captivate the beauty of it all.
After the sun rose, we had some chacula cha asubuhi and then went back out to the beach. While we were sun bathing a woman came up to us and gave us all henna tattoos. Well we thought it was henna but apparently it’s Chinese hair dye… The good news is none of us had the allergic reaction that other Wazungu have had to it. Oh well it is what it is.
After I got tatted up, Julia and I went on a walk on the beach to collect seashells. I got a bunch because they were absolutely gorgeous and I just love shells… Also free souvenirs right :). We spent the rest of the day laying on the beach, relaxing, and taking in the day.
For dinner, we had some big plans. If you haven’t heard of the Rock, please take the time now to look it up. Don’t worry I’ll wait…. The Rock is literally a restaurant in the middle of the Indian Ocean, so we had to take a boat to it. Dinner was delicious too! I also had a cocktail called the rock… Fitting right?! (Ginny you would have loved it!)
The next day we woke up early again. We didn’t want to waste any daylight!! We had booked a dolphin tour the day before, so at 6am our tour guide picked us up. Once at the beach, we all got on this small boat and headed out to where the dolphins were. I’m very surprised that the 40 min boat ride on rocky waters didn’t make me sick!! We saw two dolphins jump out of the water and then swim right underneath our boat! It was incredible!! Unfortunately, right after that is when my friend started to get sick. So we decided to head back to shore and solid land.
After the tour we did some research on something to do for the night. Jenn earned her title as MVP of Zanzibar when she found this place called the Mtoni Palace. We decided to go there for dinner and a show! We journeyed to Stonetown, which was on the other side of the island and met our friends Phil and Steve there.
After getting lost (which is common in Stonetown), we arrived at the ruins. After a round of shots to celebrate my country’s independence, we went on the tour. Following the tour was dinner and a show. They sang for us and danced while we ate dinner. It was quite the experience and a very different way to celebrate the Fourth of July.
On Saturday, we spent our time at Prison Island, which apparently was never used as a prison. We took some selfies with the tortoises on the island, explored the sand. After we went snorkeling off the coast. I saw Marlin, Dory, and the rest of the cast from Finding Nemo. I think that swimming with the fish was my favorite part of our whole trip.
Saturday night was a girls night! Wooh! The five of us decided to check out Stonetown’s famous Night Market. We didn’t know what to expect but being out and about at night was a big deal. We got there and the place was set up with tons of tables. At each table there were different kinds of chacula (food). They had skewers of fish, fruit, bread, and Zanzibar Pizza! We all tried as much as our stomachs could hold. The best was my second Zanzibar pizza, which had peanut butter, Nutella, and bananas in it. (Taylor flats, it was almost as good as your pizza tacos, but not quite!) We spent most of the night trying to convince the chefs that we were from Arusha (it didn’t go so well) and fending off locals (were just that pretty). One or two marriage proposals later we headed back to our hotel to lala aka sleep.
Our last day in Zanzibar was spent on a spice tour. We were shown all sorts of different spices that were native to Tanzania. Our guide had us guess what they were before he told us, but my sense of smell failed me as I didn’t guess any correctly. McKenna on the other hand came up strong guessing most of them. I think the best was the liquid bandaid that they showed us, aka Marijuana. Nah just kidding, ( no they really use weed as liquid bandaid) but my favorite was the cinnamon. It reminded me of Thanksgiving and more importantly, home! During the tour, our guide made us bracelets and necklaces and princess crowns to wear! The tour finished up with a performance! One of the men climbed a coconut tree and sang a song. Now as someone who can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, it’s safe to say I was thoroughly impressed! And don’t worry, Jenn and I are working on memorizing the lyrics to that song, so stay tuned for a mind blowing performance.
With the conclusion of the tour came the conclusion of our trip to paradise. With our princess crowns on, we boarded a plane to Dar and then to Arusha Airport.
My whole trip to Zanzibar seems like a dream now. Every single part of it was incredible and will be engraved in my memories forever. And although snorkeling was one of my top moments, I think the best part of the trip was the friends that I spent it with. It’s crazy to think that these people who were strangers to me a little over a month ago have quickly become my family. With my days here numbered, I keep counting my blessings ( and shillings) and reminding myself how lucky I am to have these people in my life.