Our dinner on the Muslim island of Pemba was "Chips and Goat" -- the meat was tiny, dried bits that we HOPED was goat and not something more exotic, so we cheerfully just swallowed it and ate lots of potatoes!
After literally spicing up our lives, we stopped by a forest preserve, again, seldom visited by tourists. We were given a "lecture" by the naturalist on all of the birds and wildlife in the forest. We paid for our tour and began the hike through a variety of eco-systems including a marsh, upland forest, etc. The path was a major challenge for this osteoarthritis patient as the guide easily stepped over huge roots, and ducked under even bigger (to me) low-lying fallen trees. We had a visit to an abandoned colonial sawmill in the forest; but saw only 3 birds in the far distance as our token wildlife! We stopped at another site for a brief viewing of the flying bats, but requested to continue on to the airport so we wouldn't miss our flight to the island of Zanzibar.
Although most of Tanzania functions on what we loosely call TFT (Tanzanian Flexible Time, i.e. you get there when you get there -- NO schedule), most flights uniquely tend to leave AND arrive relatively on schedule! A quick confession -- although I'm a well-traveled person and have been in 5 continents and more than 30 countries in the recent 10 years, stupidity and/or old age still rears its head at the most inopportune times!!! For no logical reason, I neglected to bring my passport on this jaunt. I DID have my driver's license, some U.S. dollars, and some Tanzanian shillings. I'm not entirely sure what I'd planned on doing with these items, but my friend and I were very nervous about this at each tiny airport! As our adventure progressed, it became necessary to fly more than we'd planned in order to return to our home-base and work on time. Although I had plenty of currency locked in my room at "home," I was very concerned about making it back with such a limited "budget." During this short time, we rode a taxi to town, a bus to Tanga, a plane to Pemba, a taxi and a plane to Zanzibar, a taxi in town, a taxi to the airport, a plane to Arusha, a bus to Moshi, and finally a taxi back to home base. Much to my relief, we arrived home with money to spare -- 20,000 Tshillings (about $10 US) -- a little too close for me!!!
In Zanzibar, we stayed in historic Stone Town at a very old and VERY unique hotel. To get into our room, we unlocked a huge brass padlock, ducked through somewhat of a cave entrance, and entered our "chambers." The room was kind of a rectangle with an
African version of a king-sized bed, a steep step up to room two with a tiny bed, a steep step to the bathroom remembering to always duck down as you stepped up to prevent hitting your head. The furniture was probably the most bizarre I've ever seen. I think it was made of ornate concrete painted yellow with lovely floral velvet cushions. An additional fascination were the 3 large antique brass deadbolts that locked our room (I fell asleep with the thought, "Gee, I hope we don't have to leave in a hurry!"). We wandered historic Stone Town admiring the incredibly massive carved doors, all with numerous pointed projections. We found later that these points were meant to prevent elephant attacks, but assume that this hasn't been a major problem in the last 100 years!!!
I continue to work very hard in the prison and find it to be the most challenging (and rewarding) experience of my life.
I KNOW I'm where I NEED to be. I KNOW I'm where I'm MEANT to be...
Lazima niende sasa (I must go now)
Published On: July 16, 2008