October 2, 2009
By the seaside, oh-oh, by the beautiful sea…
And yes, that was another Sweeney Todd reference!
I have had the most incredible, relaxing and wonderful day and this post will probably just come off as me bragging about wonderful everything is, but I’m in such a great mood that I just can’t help it.
This morning, after a last run in Stonetown with Laila (Alex, appeared in her pajamas before we left to say that she was bailing out on us), the whole group of us loaded ourselves and our luggage onto a bus yet again and rode for an hour and a half to reach the northern part of Zanzibar. The bus ride was actually pretty fun as I sat next to Meryl and we chatted about nearly everything under the sun for the duration of the trip.
The hotel we are spending the night at is fabulous. I am in a “bungalow” with Rachel R. as my roommate and Zach and Anton in the room next door which shares a wall with ours (and as a result can somewhat hear them chatting away as I type this). Our room is very nice. One huge bed and one smallish one (I took the smallish one as it is closest to the door which means I can get up and outside easily in the morning if I wake up really early in the morning), both with functional mosquito nets and the hugest toilet/sink/shower room ever.
We arrived around 10:30 and then were able to check in and spend an hour playing in the ocean before lunch with the group. The chapatis, eggplant in tomato sauce and fish were really good – I wasn’t brave enough to try the octopus stew that so many people enjoyed large plates of – it looked to tentacle-y for me.
After lunch, I took an almost nap on the beach for an hour and then went for a sort of run with Heather and both of the Rachels. It was a pretty lame in the sense of being a run given that we actually walked for most of it, but fun because it was fun people and good conversation. Then Heather and I decided to swim from our hotel clear down to the other end of the beach to check out the hotel right on the water.
We ended up at a ritzy European hotel that had guards all over its section of the beach. Luckily we charmed them with our attempts at Kiswahili and they let us wander around and see the resort a little bit so we could check out a menu for the restaurant. It was WAY out of our price range and all of the prices were in Euros, but it was still a fun swim and hilarious how quickly all of the guards could figure out that the two scruffy girls in unattractive one piece bathing suits didn’t belong there!
There was even more swimming and swinging in the hammocks and more swimming again and then dinner on the beach. I sat with Lisa, Rachel R, Zach and Anton at a candlelight table right on the sandy beach. Zach and I had pizzas and the others all had burgers and milkshakes. We are all so hungry after actually running around all day that everything tasted so wonderful, regardless of whether it actually was or not.
Then we all just kind of hung out on the beach and chatted and watched the drunken antics of some of the L+C crew and waded into the ocean in the dark while the hotel’s restaurant continued to play the same 3 terrible CDs they had been playing on repeat for the whole day. Eventually, most of the group left, but Michael, Lisa, Rachel R. and I stayed on the beach for quite a while, just gazing at the stars and talking.
It was amazing. Today was exactly what I needed. I feel so much more alive and like myself away from the big city. I love being outside, especially when it means I can be swimming in the Indian Ocean!
A few funny anecdotes from the day:
1. Our hotel room is really nice, other than the fact that Rachel and I both broke the knob for hot water in the shower (now past repair it seems) and while I was taking my shower, the only way for me to wash the shampoo out of my hair was to crouch under the water spurting out of the knob. After this East Africa experience, I fully expect that I will be adept at finding ways to bathe myself and wash my hair in nearly any situation. People will ask how I will manage and I can just say “Oh, that’s nothing, after all this one time in East Africa, I…”
2. One of the many lanky beach cats that seems to be everywhere buddied up to Rachel and I as we came back to our room tonight and snuck into our room with us. Cats here aren’t really pets, so it isn’t wise to pet them and get all snuggly unless you really want to get a whole series of rabies injections, so after failing at coaxing him out politely and after he’d taken a tour of our entire room, Rachel chased him out the door by waving a kanga at him and making threatening noises while I stood ready to slam the door behind his sad little tail. I can still him meowing outside the door, the poor guy!
3. When I went “running” with the girls today, we just all went in our bathing suits. Lydia informed us she’d be happy to us coming and going “just like Baywatch”, haha which made us all crack up laughing as we are all pasty and paler than we were when we left home due to our recent bui bui wearing and living in a muslim community adeventures.
4. Kim was riding around on Kai’s shoulders for much of the evening and they even went up to the bar and ordered a beer that way.
5. Kai also joined the girls in “exfoliating”/henna tattoo removal by using handfuls of coarse sand…he’s such a good sport!