Friday, October 17, 2008

Day Thirteen Trip

We’re woken up to the sounds of a cow moo-ing. And a rooster (how classic). This same cow has greeted us every morning and I wonder how much it would cost to buy the cow so he could be turned into hamburger and quieted. At first Teri and I found it funny but it starts really early – in concert with the rooster – and it’s not even consistent so there’s no habituating.

Seriously, the next things that wakes me up in the morning, I'm going to have for lunch.

While we like some of the comforts of our hotel, we don’t love the staff and we’re happy to get out of there. At the airport we find ourselves a little bummed out about the hotel but I make a list of grievances and I feel better (lists solve everything, don’t they).

And we’re off to Zanzibar. I just love the sound of it. Zanzibar. Durham just doesn’t roll off the tongue like that.

Our first stop in Zanzibar is Stonetown. Our hotel room is so unusual, I love it.

And then we head to the streets to explore. But first things first. Teri needs a bikini wax.

The streets of Stonetown feel like the streets of Venice. Narrow and confusing.

Stonetown vendors take the cake in terms of aggressiveness. We try to be polite, returning “Jambo” with “Jambo” – but eventually we realize that if we want to get anywhere we’re going to have to be rude.

I am interested in getting a tray and I look at a few at a storefront right by the hotel. It’s my first stop so I don’t buy anything.

Teri is looking for some local rum for her boyfriend, Nate. She’s got the “I’m looking for something” look on her face when she’s approached by a man who says “I saw you at the hotel this morning. Yes, my brother works at the hotel.” Thinking that she’s found someone whose help might be a little more genuine Teri proceeds to follow the man to half a dozen liquor stores. All of which are closed. His last stop is a bar. We follow him inside. It’s dark and smokey and it feels uncomfortable for us to be there so we leave. The guy meets us outside. Teri attempts to graciously tell him that she’s OK and no longer wants the liquor. Then the guy whips out a CD and asks her if she will buy it. He’s got 2 sets of twins and the CD is usually $20 but he will sell it to her for $4. I’m standing by shaking my head that we just need to leave. And finally we do.

We return to the hotel. The nearby vendor remembers my interest in the tray. We stop at the hotel briefly and decide to venture out towards the waterfront.

We visit a museum and learn about a real Princess - Sayyida Salme.

We have dinner by the water. For me, dinner is a piece of cake since this town is big on the seafood, being an island and all.

We head back towards our hotel, but not without finding the internet first. We see a sign for “Internet Café” which is really just a few computers in the back of the pharmacy but that will do.

I’m chatting with Andrea, a co-worker through g-mail. While we’re chatting the shop owner tells us he needs to go leave to pray. But, we just got here, and we’ve paid for 30 minutes online. So, the shop owner leaves the store. And locks us in. I write to Andrea “I’m in a Muslim country and I’ve just been locked in a store. Don’t log off until I’ve told you the store has been unlocked and start looking up the phone numbers for the American Embassy.” Truth be told, I know that I’m in no real danger, but I’m quite amused by the situation.

After internet, we wander to a coffee shop and play scrabble. I love that we’ve traveled to the other side of the world and here we are having a hot drink playing a board game. We’re joined by a family from Ohio and enjoy talking to them.

The couple has two girls (woo-hoo, sistas in Africa) and I wonder about bringing children to this country and just think about travel with children and families in general. I appreciate the travel adventures my parents provided to me as a child but I wonder what would have crossed the adventure line for me as a child, and my parents, as parents.

After a rousing game of Scrabble (I would like to think I won, but in the end I think Teri beat me) we head to a concert in a nearby outdoor amphitheater. I have to be honest, I really didn’t want to go. Something about the day made my “safety” radar go off and I much as I thought the concert would be fun I didn’t like the idea of walking through the winding, dark narrow streets at night. Teri told me she was going regardless which pretty much meant that I would go no matter what (our mom would kill me if something happened to Teri, so either way, I’m dead, right?)

The first show was good. I think my favorite part was a cat who just walked across the roofs behind the ampitheater.

Rock on, kitty.

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