To the beaches!

Trip Start Jan 05, 2009
Trip End Feb 05, 2009

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Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar Archipelago,
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I started my day with a lovely breakfast overlooking Stone Town in the restaurant atop my hotel. My sleep in the new bug free accommodation was a glorious one. Almost 8 solid hours! After wandering around for a bit, updating my blog on the internet and getting a good coffee, I checked out of the hotel and set forth on the next leg of my journey. Today I am heading up the island of Zanzibar to the small town of Matemwe where I am going to spend the next 5 days on the beach... hopefully doing very little.

My drivers arrived at half 11. There was the actual driver and a younger somewhat a girl who sat with me telling me all about Zanzibar. She was very informative, but her English was not so good. When I asked a question, often the answer received had nothing to do with the question I asked. I am getting used to this now.

I arrived at the Matemwe beach villas at about 1pm where I was greeted with a fresh glass of mango juice and a hot facecloth to freshen up with. The manager sat me down and for 15 minutes told me all about the place, the people and what I can expect during my stay. He showed me to my hut. It is simple accommodation, but I there are some strange little touches such as the Zen sandbox on my bed with "karibu" written in the sand. (which means welcome in Swahili). I wrote "asante" which means thank you. Maybe the housekeeper will send a message back tomorrow.

My little hut is a stone throw from the beach. In the excitement, I completely forgot to put sunscreen on. The Equatorial sun is particularly hard on white skin and in half and hour I was really feeling the burn!

I spent a while wandering the beach, taking photos, reading my book. The beach here is very white, and the water is a light green/ blue colour. It is quite shallow for about a half kilometer where I walked out and water was no higher than my waste. The water is so warm... warm as bath water. No need to tip toe in to the water... you can rush right in and it is quite comfortable.

The place I am staying at is quite isolated. There is the small village nearby and the villagers harvest seaweed in low tide. They walk right by quite unconcerned with my presence. Actually, nobody stopped to sell anything or even to say hi. It is so unlike Mexican beaches where hawkers constantly harass you.

After a nap, I went to the dinner. I decided to pay for the half board, which means breakfast and dinner is included. Really, there are no other options here. The dinner was Indian tonight and was quite tasty. They do large communal tables so you can meet other guests. Sitting at my table was an English family, a Dutch couple and a couple from Calgary on their honeymoon. As part of their honeymoon they hiked Mount Kilimanjaro. Talk about adventurous!

After dinner I spent at least an hour on the beach looking up at the stars. The only constellation I could recognize was an upside down Orion... the rest of the southern sky is foreign to me. There were lots of shooting stars and I did manage to see a satellite moving across the sky. On arriving back to my room, the curtains were drawn, mosquito net was brought down and there was bed time story at my pillow. Such interesting little touches this place has.
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