The last few days with Stringer!
07.04.2011 - 09.04.2011 30 °C
Having spent over a week on the idyllic beaches of Nungwi, the hustle and bustle on Stone Town was a change. We decided to stay in a slightly better hotel than the one in Nungwi - we even had a hot and (relatively) powerful shower!
Since we're in Stone Town, we decided that we'd better go to Prison Island. Many people offered the tour, but we went with the cheapest available. Somebody took us down to the waterfront and introuduced us to Mr Bean. An eclectic name for an African, I'm sure you'll agree. We boarded the boat on the Saturday morning and set off on a rickety old boat, but eventually got there! Upon arrival, we were greeted by giant tortoises. Stringer and I had no idea they were there, but we couldn't miss them. Some grow up to 250kg and the oldest one we saw was 185 years old! Not too shabby! It was then time to go snorkelling. Consider I've never been before, and Stringer is a sailing and watersports fanatic. While he was peacefully swimming around, looking at the fish amongst the corals, I was flapping around like a stranded whale. Even so, it was great fun!
With the embarrassment well and truly over, our afternoon was spent exploring Stone Town's narrow, cobbled streets. Just like one of the guys at Union Beach Bungalows, we met another Zanzibari, Jimmy, with a cockney accent. Evidently, he wanted to take us to his Aunt's shop, but nonetheless he was very friendly and helpful. On the other hand, we met a Nigerian guy, who told us a sorrow story about his family. When we refused to buy something from him, his response was "I'm fed up with your bullshit and now I just want to fight." Yikes! Needless to say, we gave him a quid or two and scarpered.
Every evening, we ate at Forodhani Gardens (thanks for the tip, Vitor!) where market stalls are set up and piles of fish, meat, samosas, chips and Zanzibar pizzas are cooked on open barbeques in the plaza. Yet another recommendation of Vitor's was the sugar cane juice, which is made by pushing the cane through rotating wheels, which squeeze out the sweet juice. A meal costs roughly £3, even with the plate piled high.
On our first evening, we were offered the chance to watch a traditional Zanzibar dance, so we thought we'd pop along. To put it bluntly, a bloke and two women shake their hips in a Skakira-esque fashion, all the while yodelling and screeching, against the background of a fancy vuvuzela and a couple of drums. Then came the 'audience participation'. I've said before that us mzungu cannot dance. It's a known fact. Add to this the fact that I have wooden hips, and I was never going to be bringing the house down with a Zanzibar version of 'Hips Don't Lie'. Alex, a medical student from England was great, but Verity seemed more concerened with staring at the guy's crotch!
We thought we'd left the drinking behind in Nugwi. How wrong we were. Along with Verity and Alex, we met Joe and Bob, another two English guys who are on a mammoth East Africa trip which puts ours to shame! We ended up in a bar named Livingstone on the Friday night, dancing away to the African version of the macarena. When I put a foot wrong, a little old lady helped me out. See, even old ladies are better at dancing than I am! The live band were awesome, playing a great mix of western and African music. They even managed to get a dancing circle going, and Alex yet again ruled the roost with some crazy moves!
So there you have it, the end of the road with Stringer! By the time I leave for Uganda, it will have been exactly 31 days since we left England. It's going to be strange not having Stringer around, coming out with such phrases as "Germany's land locked, right?" and the description of everything as either "mental" or "wicked". But he's spot on! It has been both mental and wicked! Thanks for such an awesome month, dude!
P.S. I booked a flight to Thailand for May 16th! Cannot wait!