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Pip&Judi’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 01 Sep 2005

Location: Zanzibar, Tanzania

MapA TASTE OF PARADISE

Having grown alittle more familiar with Stone Town we have begun to quite like the hussle and bussle of it.It is more arabic than african but has a heavy asian influence to and reminds me a little of parts of India (only much tidier and cleaner).

The fact that this island was the centre of the slave trade to the middle east and far east for hundreds of years and was ruled by the Sultan of Oman explains the very arabic feel in the food, the architechture and the call to prayer from the mosques several times a day.

However, although we are starting to enjoy Stone Town it is time to leave as we are long overdue a few days of doing absolutely nothing but lazing on the white beaches and swimming in the turquoise Indian Ocean that we came here for. So a bus to Nungwi in the north of the island is boarded with high expectations of finding our little piece of paradise.

The litttle Toyota minibus that is our taxi seemed to have two controls only - the accelerator, that only worked when pressed to the floor, and the horn that only worked to warn cyclists of the arrival of a 8 seater rocket approaching at 100mph and 3 inches to their right!!! The rest of Zanzibar looked kind of greenish but was a blur really as we were generally concentarting on the next small narrow bridge or corner that our driver seemed unconcerned about even if there was a cyclist in the way. Thankfully the tarmac ran out about 10km from Nungwi the small dow building and fishing village we are heading for so he had to come out of 'warp drive' . This meant he had to slow down but it also meant that we bounced about like two peas on a drum as the minibus found it's own way across the pothole filled dirt track. Oh for those long straight and wonderfully flat dirt roads of Namibia.

Anyway - enough moaning - we have just arrived in paradise! Nungwi appears to have just one dirt track 5 yards from the sea and a load of thatched 'bungalow' style huts as accomaodation. After checking out about 5 we plumped for the Amaan Bungalows -and instead of trying to do it on a budget went for the top end room built on a coral outcrop with a wooden balcony on stilts over the sea....Nungwi 5 star luxury for $50 a night The view was just too good to not have so we settled down for a G&T on our balcony over the water and admired the most crystal clear turquoise sea I think I have ever seen. The beach 100 yds to our left was white! Oh Joy!!!! We could be here a while I suspect

Apart from a scuba dive on what turned out to be our last day (which we did not know at the time) it was just great to finally do very little and get a chance to lay in the sun.
Jude decided to give the Scuba a go (even though climbing into a small boat from a choppy sea with one arm was not easy) and frighteningly got down to about 15m and was lucky enough to see turtles - and even held one!!!! It was ridiculously daft of the diving school to take her that deep but she obviosuly really enjoyed it. I dived separately with a group of spaniards (I think they wondered if I was mute as they obvioulsy thought I was Spanish too but just did not talk much - I just nodded and looked blankly at them whilst they gabbererd away at me) and although we had a good long dive to about 22m and saw a stunning variety of fish, coral and shrimp sadly no turtles on either of the 2 dives.
bollocks !
The rest of the White Nile crew had also by chance headed for Nungwi so we ended up spending another couple of fun days with Simon, Sara, Louise, Josh & Felicity. HAPY DAYS!!! ...and a slightly giggly confused night!

A sunset G&T on the balcony with them one night and a candle lit dinner at Simon & Sarahs splendid accomodation just off the beach another was perfect way to finish our few days in Zanzibar....oh - and nearly forgot the obligatory locally rolled 'Zanzibar Cigar' made from traditional herbal tabacco by a slightly red eyed rastafarian- WOW!!! I laughed so much I nearly peed my pants! ...nearly shinned up a flag pole to nick the Tanzanian flag and nearly giggled quietly enough outside my room that Jude nearly slept through it. A lesson learnt. Smoking Zanizar Cigars can split your sides.

We have to sign off now and make the long and ardous trip back to London at very short notice....hopefully we can get another airline to take us back soon.

............. We've seen the Sharks & Elephants and many many more wonderful sights but sadly the Gorillas will not be seen - this trip anyway!! - Hopefully they will still be there if or when we get back another day. Gorillas in the mist will remain a dreamy thought to be savoured for another time.
Even the trip home through Kenya International Airport proved to be just mad.... but that is another story...

THE END ??............ or perhaps just a pause in lifes great adventure.