Barak says polepole
After a good flight full of airplane food and movies, we touched down in Dar Es Salaam, with plenty of time for our connection to Zanzibar.
The little plane took us over the water and we are met at the airport by our friends Gareth and Jackie, who have been here for a couple of days already, in Stone Town.
We share their taxi and travel north west to Matemwe beach, passing through small villages collected along the road. The driver has his hand on the horn pretty regularly. Bikes, motorbikes (pikipiki) and buses (dalla-dallas) move out of the centre of the road and we pass by.
We reach Seles bungalows, and are welcomed by the staff, with a chorus of "Jambo" (hello) and "Karibu" (Welcome), words which we will hear very often on the island. The bungalows lead through a small cosy bar down to the beach. White sands and palm trees, turquoise ocean, blue sky, flitting clouds.
We are taught essential Swahili by a friendly member of the Seles 'crew' called Barak:
polepole - slowly
mambo? What's up?
Poa - cool
Tafadhali, naomba bia mbili - 2 beers please
The catch of the day is king fish and red snapper, that comes in local spices. A cold bottle of Serengeti beer quenches the thirst perfectly.
Days are spent swimming in the ocean, watching the locals fish for squid and tend their seaweed plots. We take a boat to the reef for snorkelling and see the wonders of the colourful fish and corals.
Later we vist the more touristy part of the island, which has a perfect beach, but also plenty of touts. It is low season, but thankfully the rains have held off for now.
E's 40th birthday celebrations are a slap up dinner of lobster and cocktails overlooking the Indian ocean.
We also visit Jongzi national park and see the Red Colobus monkeys in their native habitat of mahogany trees.
We bid farewell to Gareth and Jackie as we reach Stone Town, as they head back to London. We have a couple more days before going back to Dar, and then on up to Arusha and the project.
The flat is packed up, and so are our backpacks. After several leaving drinks saying cheerio to all our friends and family, we are now looking forward to a week in Zanzibar with our friends Gareth and Jackie, before heading north to the voluntary project:
It has been an exhausting and busy week...I think we will sleep on the flight
Collecting our visas today. The visa office is located in the same building as a trucking company, and so the receptionist who is very knowledgeable on the benefits of single or double entry visas, can also give you a heads-up on the pros and cons of the latest models in the van vliet fleet of jugganauts.
This unusual setup is the result of a friendship between the owner of the truck company and the Tanzanian consulate.
The flat is awash with boxes and lists. In a week we will have moved out of the flat.