A few weeks ago I wrote this post entitled 'Tourist Tanzania', in which I described a day out at a local beach. Well, I'm now back from a week's leave in Zanzibar, so have experienced more of the country from this point of view!
I stayed at the Samaki Lodge in Uroa on the east coast. This was my room for the week:
And the beach, two minutes walk away, was pretty good:
The quality of housekeeping was amazing. Every day the bed was made slightly differently, petals which fell were put to good use:
When I first saw the elephant I assumed it was a soft toy, only then to realise that in fact it's a cleverly folded towel as I hope this picture makes clear:
On the last full day I was highly amused to find this waiting for me:
Alas, the towel-toy fell to bits when I tried to take it outside to photograph it. Please see below my attempt to emulate this artform (the petals, not the towels!) when I left:
Now, if the housekeepers - or even I - were Tracey Emin, these designs would be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. What are we doing wrong?
Now, the spelling of 'bye' above (at least I assume that was the message) reminds me of this sign:
The grammar comes so close to working but not quite! Grief, I'm such a pedant, readers with extraordinarily long memories may remember my obsession with signs eg. in the very first post I wrote.
Anyway, I'm off to Iringa tomorrow to see Stephen, my guest blogger of a few weeks ago, So if this is all right I'll save the rest of the material from this week away for future posts. However, to justify the title, I would like to summarise the extent to which I was a stereotypical tourist:
- hired a taxi to and from the hotel;
- ate nice meals in restaurants and the hotel;
- took kiting lessons (the pictures are great, long forward to showing you these!);
- had a nice day out courtesy of Yusuf, a fantastic driver who I''ll tell you more about shortly;
- had a massage at the hotel spa;
- slobbed out on the beach.
Against this, I think it's fair to say that western tourists wouldn't normally:
- eat lunch provided by street vendors (soup is excellent and a small fraction of the hotel price);
- travel by dalla-dalla (local buses which double up as freight carriers);
- walk down the beach including on stretches bordering on quicksand;
- play organ for the Swahili service at the Cathedral (yes, really, I'll tell you more about that shortly);
- teach a maths lesson at the local school (again, please believe me that I'm not making this up);
- insist on singing the Tanzanian National Anthem whenever accused of being a tourist (mtalii) - 'Mingu Ibariki Afrika!;'
So I think I'll finish here for today. Please do come back over the next few weeks, I've already got some great material to share with you!