I love to sleep. Does sleeping early ever work? No. seriously. Does it? I’m the snooze button champion. The snooze button is the only thing I tap on the regular. Waking up in High school was a nightmare. We used to call sleep “Mtuno”. If someone is going to sleep, they will say “Naishia Kutuna.” While the cool kids in high schools like Moi girls were coming up with cool monikers like “Quabbz” for their school, we were busy coming up with words like “Kutuna” and “Koboa”.
Our teachers were strict disciplinarians and extreme firm believers in using the cane. We had a “disciplinary committee.” It consisted of teachers that majored in complex subjects like physics but decided to seek greener pastures as you know, caning teens. For your information, the cane used was those Bunsen burner gas pipes. They took the phrase “ass whooping” literally.
The morning preps bell rang at 4 AM! Kwanza, who used to ring the bell at such an ungodly hour? Madam Principal would come into our dorms shortly after that and beat the living hell out of anyone still sleeping. She was like a BDSM Queen. She would whip us ruthlessly only that the usual choking and being told you were pretty was absent. (I’ve read fifty shades). Her version went like “MNARARA MPAKA SAHII? EH! WACHINGA WAMERARA WEREFU WAKO DARASANI”. I’m not making this up.
One minute you are snoring, the next minute you are sprinting out of bed following a good beating. Imagine girls running and again, I am not lying, half naked, others with towels and some in their nightgowns from the dormitory to class. If you ever wondered how night running started.
Anyway, my point is, I lost the number of times I got beat up. I rarely sacrifice sleep. Speaking of sacrifices, traveling is probably the only thing that I can sacrifice sleep for. I’d gladly pull an Abraham on sleep.
I have an intense crush on the world. Wake me up at 2 am and ask me to pack up and leave. If the circumstances allow (and sleep is not usually a constraint), I will only ask where we are going on our way there. I’m spontaneous like that. It is how Zanzibar came to be. Spontaneous. Zanzibar has my heart. Okay. Sleep will always have my heart, but Zanzibar is magical. We took a detour to Dar es Salaam, and after two nights we set off to Paje, the southern part of Zanzibar. I should mention that Dave and Larry took the pictures that I use on this post. Much appreciated my peoples.
Dar es Salaam
First things first, their Swahili never gets old. Remember the Swahili mufti those textbooks by Wallah bin Wallah? Our folks wasted cash on those because Tanzanians find our Swahili lousy.
I met this woman at a shop while looking for sim cards and I said the usual “Sasa” to her.
The conversation went downhill from there…
““Poa. Watoka Kenya. Sio?”
“Ah. Aisee. Nafahamu Kiswahili chenyu. Ni Kibovu jamani.”
A few seconds later a white young man came by like he was sent from by the devil himself and mumbled “Hamjamboni ” to us.
After responding, the woman said to me “Jione! Yahe wa lugha yetu mwenyewe kasema hujambo, wewe mweusi kazaliwa Kenya Wang’ang’ana na eti sasa.”
Fam, aren’t Tanzania’s supposed to be polite?
I stood there muddled thinking, this person’s ancestors had already taken half of our people, why is he making me look bad in my motherland by shining in Swahili?
It is a two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride to Zanzibar. These ferries are nothing compared to the ones at Kenyan coast. I am talking about comfortable seats, snacks on the ride and even Wi-Fi.
Getting into Zanzibar is like visiting another country because your passport will get stamped and you will be asked for the yellow fever certificate.
Immediately we arrive at the port, one of the guards calls me to ask where my nationality. All the while he’s looking at my legs. I got the message loud and clear. Zanzibar is a Muslim state, and they prefer African women, Muslim or not, dressed conservatively. Anything above the knee will get you not so subtle stares.
Below are some of the places I got to visit while in Zanzibar.
Stone town is art, and while we are at it, those people who stare intensely into two parallel lines on canvas in the name of art, you know yourselves. Ditch those habits pronto and visit the stone town. Now that is art. I could now see why Stone town is listed as a UNESCO heritage site. Stone town’s buildings reflect their culture which is mainly African, Arabic and Indian.
House of Wonder, Palace Museum, Forodhani Gardens
This place is beautiful at night. Here, you have the option of eating all types of seafood while enjoying the view.
Slave town slaps you back to the reality of the History notes on the African Slave trade that we used to cram back in high school.
It sits on michamvi beach. Now, the first time I saw this restaurant I felt like I was in a fairy tale film. To be honest, I have never seen anything like it. If the tide is high, it gets surrounded by water.
Safari Blue-Kwale Island
Zanzibar locals refer to a tour to the Kwale Island as safari blue. The highlights include, Sailing on a canoe used by the local fishermen,exploring Kwale Island, snorkeling, feasting on fresh grilled sea-food.
Prison Island & Freddie Mercury Bar
As the name suggests, this island was initially used as a prison for slaves now turned in to a tourist attraction. It’s home to gigantic tortoises. Suleiman our guide mentioned that these tortoises came from Seychelles sometime in the early19th century. Oh, by the way, the oldest tortoise is currently 192 years old. The beach is white and perfect for sunbathing, basking and relaxing. Later on, we visited the Freddie Mercury bar named after the famous British pop star that hailed from Zanzibar which is a bar overlooking the ocean. You can catch epic sunsets at the bar.
On our last day, I met two lovely ladies from Belgium, Nadia, and Lies. Her name is pronounced as Liz but written as Lies. Reminds me of my friend called Mwongo. Tell me how I’m supposed to buy anything these two tell me. How I’m supposed to argue that I believe something I heard from LIES and MWONGO. Oh! Come on. I also met this gorgeous lady from Amsterdam called Janneke. Zanzibar was her pit stop to the Victoria falls in Zambia. I hope she went bungee jumping. Nadia, Lies and Janneke, if you are reading this, it was nice to meet you.
I am obsessed with seeing new places, experiencing day to day activities of the new environments and interacting with the locals. Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar were amazing. Have any of you visited before? Did I miss any exciting places in both regions that you would recommend to anyone planning to visit?
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