Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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3/9/13: a western tourist in Zanzibar - well, not quite...

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!

6 Comments to 3/9/13: a western tourist in Zanzibar - well, not quite...:

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Chris Tennant on 04 September 2013 14:17
Great blog Geoff. When you come home perhaps you could give some lessons to Travel Lodge!! Love Mum
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Geoff on 05 September 2013 00:16
Thanks, Mum, it did occur to me to ask the housekeepers to show me how to make the elephant but decided that would be too complicated, so afraid I can't show anybody else how to do it, but maybe it could be reverse engineered from the photo?

Sameer Lakhani on 04 September 2013 15:12
To the mtalii mzungu that rides the dalla dalla - I was wondering how your vacation was going and it dawned on me that sitting on the beach you were probably filling up your blog! However, you seem to have been keeping very busy - we (Salima and I) actually imagined you singing the anthem. Enjoyed reading this!
Reply to comment
Geoff on 05 September 2013 00:20
Hi, Sameer and Salima, great to hear from you. In fact wrote this entry at Epidore's coffee shop in DSM, lots of photos to upload to Dropbox so occurred to me that their wifi would be helpful! Now in Iringa so hope to have some further pictures to share soon. See you on Monday, Geoff

Dad on 05 September 2013 10:15
Your holiday in Z sounds marvellous. Perhaps you could moonlight as a tourist agent for the government. Congratulations, too, on you art. Most impressed. Still puzzling out the connection between burial and prayer. Thanks for such a lively, interesting blog.
Reply to comment
Geoff on 06 September 2013 00:31
Thanks, Dad, pretty sure 'inter' should be 'enter', but I imagine you worked that out! This was a mosque close to a museum so it would be easy to assume that one could go in to the mosque as a tourist attraction rather than a place of worship. Will think about helping out with tourism, certainly a great deal to see and do!

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