Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Goodbye Zanzibar.

On our last day in Zanzibar we finally organized a snorkeling trip. We listened to rain all night hoping we would wake up in the morning to a clear blue sky. We didn't quite get our wish, but the sky did clear enough for us to be able to begin our trip in the sunshine. The snorkeling tour took us to four different islands off the western coast in a narrow wooden boat with a small motor. Luckily it had a covered area which provided some protection from first the sun and then the rain. The first island, which turned out to be the best snorkeling, was actually a small sand bar. Clear white sand covered with tiny sand piles about a foot tall. Upon investigation we found these sand piles were made by crabs and spent a few minutes trying to coax one from its layer. They dig spiraling tunnels under the sand.

The water was filled with tiny colorful fish, my favorite being the mini bright purple and the all yellow ones. There were tiny lumps of coral and lots of black sea urchins, some had spikes over 6 inches long. On our way to the second island the dark clouds rolled through giving us a downpour of cold rain – lovely. The sea turned a darker green and there were even a few white caps, very pretty if a bit uncomfortable. We tried to snorkel in the deeper water off this island were the coral was more dense, but the water was filled with tiny octopus particles. Boy do they hurt. It felt like lots of tiny pinprick all over your body. Ouch. So we decided to Here we had our lunch of tomato sandwiches, oranges and coconuts.

A couple of the local fishermen were hauling in their catches of the day while we were eating. Not only did they bring in a variety of fish, but also octopuses and eels that were almost three feet long! I was sure glad I was seeing all of this after I got out of the water. After lunch we went to the last two islands, where the main attraction was the land animals - tortoises and birds. Some of the tortoises were over 100 years old and did they chomp down on the greens we were allowed to feed them. It was rainy again on the boat ride back to Stone Town, but overall is was a great day.

That night we purchased three bottles of wine, brought travel Scrabble and cards to a restaurant and had a awesome three hour meal. It might have been our best meal so far...swordfish, red snapper, chicken burger with guacamole, prawns, and some delicious sticky date pudding for dessert. It was the prefect way to top off our week before heading to Dar es Salaam, that is before our walk home. The rainy season is approaching rapidly and of course it immediately started to rain as we left the restaurant to walk back to our hotel. The walk couldn't have been more then 10 minutes long but within two we were soaked to the bone. Laughing, we ducked into the alley that led to our hotel when all of a sudden we heard Claire screaming. It took us a second to realize it wasn't the result of the waterfall we had just run under, before we turned and ran to find out what was going on. Back on the main street Claire and Corey were yelling thief at some guy and standing up from being on the ground. Not a good situation. What had happened? How did we go from laughing to stunned and scared in the matter of minutes? We found out later that some guy had tried to grab Claire's purse, ended up dragging her backwards down the alley. Corey turned around to see what was going on and jumped the guy until he finally let go. Fuck. But why was he still standing there? Why did we drag her into the most public stop on the street? How could two incidents happen to us two days in a row? Back as the hotel the mood was somber....what a way to end what had been an extremely fun week. Sometimes traveling sucks.

Needless to say Chris and I were a bit depressed when we arrived in Dar. We holed up in our room and a day and just listened to the rain and traffic. We ventured out only to visit the Subway the girls has told us was only a block away. Delicious! Just like in the U.S., we ate Spicy Italian subs for the next two days straight and loved it. We eventually walked around, found a nice bakery with hummus and spent some time at the five star hotel using the wireless internet. We bought tickets to Uganda to visit Chris's friend, Megan, who is in the Peace Corp just outside of Kampala. But we never ventured out after dark.

We are posting this from Uganda - it's awesome - more to come soon. Sorry for the delay in posts, internet is a little hard to come by out here. Miss you all!



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