Kendwa (on Zanzibar): 10-13 Sep 2006

13 09 2006

We are now back in Dar es Salaam for two days proir to flying back home 😦

We have spent the past days shamelessly lying on a beach, snorkeling and relaxing in a wonderful small resort at the northern tip of Zanzibar.

(As a side note, Zanzibar actually consists of two main islands-in addition to many small ones-called Unguja and Pemba.  When I say we were on Zanzibar, we were actually on Unguja, the larger of the two main islands.)

We stayed at the Sunrise Resort for three nights and soaked up SO much sun!  It was definitely the “vacation” portion of our month away!  One day we went on a dhow for an all day snorkeling trip off one island with a fish bar-b-que on a beach of Unguja.  The dhow was a “double-decker” so Andy and I laid out on the upper deck most of the day (since more time was spent on hte boat than snorkeling).  My other complaint of the day was that the equipment was crap.  I learned the value of buying our own snorkeling equipment and how a bad (leaking) mask or snorkel can really make reef exploration not so much fun.  We were in a group of about 20 people, but the size was pretty enjoyable on this trip.  We met a couple from Italy at the hotel in Stone Town.  We ended up in attached bungalows in Kendwa and they went on the snorkeling trip with us.  It was nice to run into them throughout the days and see friendly familiar faces.  He had bought the trip to Zanzibar for her birthday.  Pretty nice, huh? 

We also did a boat trip to neighboring Nungwi to see a natural aquarium that held turtles and do a cultural tour of the village.  The aquarium holds 25 turtles.  Each year, some new babies come into the system,  When they are old enough, one will be put in the aquarium and the rest released.  At the same time the oldest turtle will also be released, so there are always 25.  It was a pretty good system.  The same guide for the aquarium also took us on hte cultural tour.  He had very good english and was my 2nd favorite guide.  The tour was my favorite though.  I didn’t get the sense that I had to constantly shell out cash to have any interactions with the village folks, which is good, because I didn’t have any (more on that later).  Andy and I learned to weave from a younger woman, learned some natural remedies from a very old woman herbalist, and learned how to make twine from another very old woman using only her hands and the inside of a coconut shell. 

We went to a place where dhows are built and saw that preocess.  One interesting thing from that was how the wood is bent:  It’s held in place with wood and oil is put on the wood where the bend should happen.  The plank is then burned at that spot and bent to where it is needed and cooled in place.

We saw old water systems that were over 150 years old and used up to 6 months ago when faucets were installed around the village. 

The tour guide said that the local tourism industry was good for awhile because it brought in jobs, but at this point, most people that work at the resort come in from other areas (like Stone Town) so the money is coming in, but it’s not going into the local economy.  I heard the same thing in Mbeya and I’m sure it’s a common theme where tourists are concerned.  There has also been a negative impact on the locals since it is 100% muslim and many people feel that they cannot to go to the beach because they don’t want to see women in swimwear (mostly bikinis).  So, of course, that triggered my “mzungu” guilt, but I still enjoyed the beach….with more social consciousness.

OK, the money issue.  There are NO working money sources in the northern tip of Unguja.  I found this out yesterday as I was down to the last $10 and trying to find a place to get money from the Visa card to pay for the hotel…or to pay for anything.  It was very frustrating!  Eventually, we talked to the guy running the hotel who knows the driver of the minivan we were taking back to Stone Town.  He told the driver how much we owed and we were able to give the money to that guy to take back to the hotel.  AND we could charge dinner to the room so it could also be paid once in Stone Town.  So, finally, Tanzanian flexibility worked in our favor. 

So, this morning, we took the minivan back to Stone town and then a 2 hour frerry to Dar.  The ferry went very fast and I got pretty sick from the intense waves and bumping around.  Andy thought it was fun, but I was just focusing on not throwing up.  Here at the Dar port we were bombarded with guys trying to get us to take a taxi but just walked through them to our hotel.  Tomorrow we hang out with Kagu and HAidi again.  It’ll be nice to see them.  Time’s up, gotta go!!!!

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2 responses

13 09 2006
Mom

Sorry your trip is almost over. It always happens. Good, Wonderful things must always end. At least you will always have your memories. Now you can’t say “what IF”.
Looking forward to seeing you when you get home.We have truly enjoyed your notes on your adventures. Love Ya. Mom

14 09 2006
Minny Sota

I cant believe it’s been a month already. Minny misses you and cant wait to have you back in N.A. 🙂

Your journal has been awesome to read….good job!

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