Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another week, another amazing trip.


I just arrived back on the mainland from a week or so beach getaway in Zanzibar with Caitlin. It was amazing: turquoise water, white sand, deadly hot African sun. It was everything a beach vacation is supposed to be, and not much else- which obviously is a great thing. We sat on the beach, we snorkeled a bit and we ate a lot of very fresh very cheap seafood. Anytime you can buy lobster claws from street vendors, you know you're doing something right. Aside from a brief bout with as sick-as-I've-ever-been food poisoning (Streetfood Special), it was perfect. That only lasted about 8 hours, so it was fine. Very ok.


It has been strange to be in such extreme tourist central areas, very very unlike being in "real" Africa. It's odd because everyone is so used to crappy, rude white tourists that everyone who deals with tourists just kind of ignores or preys on you and it becomes kind of just like every other tourist place. It's unfortunate because the majority of people who visit Africa never see the best part about Africa- the kindness of strangers. Oddly enough though, a funny thing has started happening to me. Caitlin and I will be dealing with some street tout trying to sell us something or bargaining with some vendor for a coconut, and at least once a day in Zanzibar get "It's clear you have lived in Africa for awhile. Where have you been living here?" I don't know whether it's my wicked tan (I'm convinced some Italian tourist asked if I was a White Kenyan), or my Pidgin English ("My dear, 3,000 Shillings, it just can't be. You must reduce a bit"), but something somewhere has flipped and everything seems to be cheaper.
(Sunday is apparently Locals Day at the beach)

I'm in Dar es Salaam for the next two days then I hop Ye Olde Timey colonial train back into the heart of Africa. I got my Safari mustache and my tan shirt all packed, so I'm ready for anything. Two days over the mountians to Mbeya and the Malawian border if nothing goes wrong. We'll just see.

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