A Travellerspoint blog

January 2008

Relaxing in Zanzibar

Can it get any Lazier ?

Jambo!

For the majority of our trip we have kept a fairly tight schedual due to the fact that we needed to connect with our friends in Tanzania for Christmas. Now that Christmas has come and gone and our friends have returned to Canada we have had a couple weeks to explore Zanzibar at our lesuire. During our time here we have learned how to greet locals in Swahili, barter with ease, and find "local" priced meals, and transportation. The locals often ask how much we pay to ride the dalla dalla and when we tell them 1,000$ shillings, they are rather impressed. They tell us that tourists often pay over 12,00 shillings because they don't know any better. Highway robbery! - Jocelyn

This is a boab tree that we found on the side of the road. Apparently this specific tree is over 2,000 years old.

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So....After a week of catching up on my sleep, laying about, reading, eating, diid I say sleeping; We took a Dala dala (a pick up truck wwwith bench seats and a hard top bus/taxi. The average number of people crammed onto one of these is upwards of 24.) Right ... we took a dala dala to the beach where we had bargined quite a steal. We got a sea front bungalow for Tsh 35,000. That comes out to about $28.00. If you take into account that everyone else in the surrounding hotles/resorts were paying upwards of $300.00 a night, well we were very excited. The bungalow itself was the biggest and nicest we have ever had - funny enough our bathroom was bigger than some of our hostel rooms in Central America. Picture this - a huge four poster African style bed with crisp white sheets , fluffy pillows and a mosquito net. We slept with the widows flung open, the only sound outside our window being the gentle lull of the waves crashing on the shoreline, and geckos barking at eachother.

To keep our costs down (even lower) we ate with the Masai up the road at a little roadside hut. I was only around .80 cents for a great very filling meal. I got around to asking the locals if it were possible to rent a spear gun to go out fishing with and they told me that it would be $10.oo. forget that...I started making one of my own out of a branch. The guy running our bungalow saw my pathetic attempt at a spear (what???It was made out of Iron Wood...You know iron wood...steel spear...close enuf....gufaw..) anyway...he took pity on me asnd realized I was no ordinary Mzungu (white guy). So he got me a proper spear with a trigger and everything for $1.50, much better. SO ya .. I went out and got all manner of creatures. If it was big as my hand and stopped long enuf for me to aim it was done. I got a lobster, some awsome red fishes, and a couple of porcupine blow fish. Blow fish taste awsome. But are soooo tricky to skin. You know that saying there is more than one way to skin a cat....Well there is only one way to skin a blowfish! - Nate

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My highlight of staying on Kiwienga beach, aside from the incredible scenery, was all the Masai tribespeople. I have always been fascinated by indigenous tribes and I was so excited to see the Masai people somwehere other than in the pages of a national geographic magazine. I feared that I had lost my opportunity to spend time with them, as most of them reside in villages along the Keyan/Tanzania border. Much to my surprise, when Nathaniel and I rented a motorbike to explore Zanzibar we found a lot of masai on the beaches. After getting to know a few of the masai I found out that they leave their village and sell tribal jewlery for a couple of months of each year. They are such beautiful, fascinating people and when they return to their villages they herd cows and goats, kill lions, drink blood and jump really really high. I wish i could include a picture of the masai jumping, but all the pictures I took of them jumping where taken at night and didn't turn out so great. This is me hanging out with a masai woman and her child. It['s hard to believe this is the first child I have held in over four months. - Joce

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While Nathaniel spent an abnormal amount of time snorkling and spear fishing I worked on my tan and collected shells. One day I decided to join my crazy husband outside the reef where the cool stuff is and I managed to get stung twice by a Man of war jellyfish and kick a seaurchin. Trust me, both were very unpleasant and painful. I now have a renewed appreciation for what Nathaniel endures in the name of "adventure".

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For a couple day we rented a motorcyle and explored the northeast side of the island.

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Oh one last thing. The other day Nathaniel and I decided to book a tour to see the dolphins that live on the Southern tip of Zanzibar. We were thrilled to discover that part of the tour including swimming with the WILD dolphins. Basically we would scann the horizen for dolphin fins, drive the boat over to where they were and then leap into the water as fast as we could. I got so close I almost touched a dolphin as its pod passed by me. I was super excited and terrified in the same momemt. It is a little unerving to be so close to such a huge animal in the water, but very cool as well. Nathaniel swam down to the ocean floor with them- a depth of around 35 feet while I was content to swim at the surface. After our excurision with the whales we checked out an old mahogany forest and saw rare columbus monkies. - Joce

Posted by Seaurchins 02:34 Comments (2)

Africa and Onward

An African Safarii was everything we hoped for and more.!!!

sunny

Happy New year

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Our time in Africa has been incredible, and being here with friends has made it even more memorable. For those of you that don't know, we connected with friends of ours from Abbotsford on Christmas Eve and spent the holidays with them.
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We stayed with their family in a small community near Lake Victoria and after Christmas we all went camping on the Serengetti together. The boys had a blast harressing the wildlife in their safarie vehichles and us girls snapped hundreds of pictures of animals. Will, our friend from Canada, spent some of his childhood in Tanzania so he speaks Swahili fluently and he was able to do a lot of translating. His parents still live in Tanzania and operate a Bible College for local African students. As you can imagine tutition is expensive by African standards and many students wait for years for a sponser. We felt the Lord promting us to sponser someone after we met a young woman in a rural African community who has been wanting to attend the college for some time.

We are in Zanzibar right now, an island off the coast of Tanzania. It is stunning and it has so much history.The streets here are very narrow and all the doors are made of intricatly carved wood and covered with brass knobs. Apparently the style was borrowed from India where the brass knobs prevented domesticated elephants from breaking down people's doors. Crazy!
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Just yersterday we visited a historical site where slaves were kept in hideous conditions underground until they were sold. Even after slavery was abolished it carried on here for many years.
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Zanzibar is a very conservative muslim society so I have made a point of covering my body head to toe.. long skirt, head scarf and long sleeves. It is soooo hot here and very humid, I have no idea how all the women wear so much clothing. I am happy when I go swimming and only have to wear a bathing suit. Hopefully in the next couple of days we will be able to rent a vespa and explore the island - gas permitting. We are trying to learn some Swahili now as we still have almost a month left in Africa.

The snorkling and diving here is great- so many spotted rays and anglefish. They other day Nathaniel found a puffer fish and he teased it until it turned into a ball. I almost choked on sea water laughing so hard. I wish we cold download some pictures onto this site but we can't find any computers that will allow us to. We have so many pictures of Nathaniel holding reptiles and lizards and even one of me helping him hold a giant python. Hope this blog finds all of you well. We love hearing from you, even if it is just a short note.

- Love Jocelyn
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Nathaniel's thoughts....

It's hard to put into words what it is like to have a troupe of 20 or so elephants standing less than a stones throw away from your car and at least 2 or 3 less than 10 feet away. They mulled around happily tearing out bucketfuls of grass and chewing contentedly. At one point Jocelyn dragged me back throught the window as one slightly curious Elephant got a little to close to me and our camera. Jocelyn had images running through her head of curious elephants inocently crushing our camera . I'm quite sure that she was not far off.
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Or similarily how a person is impressed by the deep rumblings of a pride of lions as they banter back and forth between eachother. Again, closer that I'd usually let cows get, and the cows would be behind fences!
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Just the sheer numbers of animals of soo many different types is enuf to make a trip like that worth it. Herds of Wildabests, Cape Buffalow, Gazzell, Impalla, Zebras, Ostrichs, Waterbucks, Dik Diks, Warthogs,
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Hippos,
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Nile Crocodile, And Giraffes, Elephants, Lions, Hyenas, Servals, Jackels, birds of all species (especially Ginea Fowl, like a big grouse and just as stupid). We camped in tents on the Serrengetii, and for a lulaby we had the hackeling of hyenas and the roaring of lions. It was Epic!

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This Cape Buffalow kept his distance while we changed a flat tire, but I don't know who checked over their shoulder more, me or the Buffalow
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On th way back from the Sarengetii we stopped at a nice restarant, you know one that costs a bit and has a nice view. I was bored of the view in short order and began looking around for something that could occupy my attention. It wasn't long before I saw a small lizard on a rock not faraway sitiing in the sun by Lake Victoria. So after a bit of egging from my friends and a camera slung across my shou8lder I headed off to disturb this sunning lizard. Just as I get to the first set of rocks I see a huge monitor lizard slipping into a hole and out of sight. I mean it is close to the biggest lizard I've ever seen in real life....You know most people would think twice before getting involved with a 5 foot monitor lizard. Somepeople would at least stop to think once, a thought something along the lines of "once I get his tail then what" But me...I give up thinking altogether and jump down between those rocks and grab the tail just before it slithers into oblivian. And THEN I wonder what I'm going to do with his other end which is now hissing and clawing as though it were the proginy of satan himself.
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Well....I can't just let go, and if he does turn on me I can jump in the lake, but for now he seems to be dead set for the hole and continues working in that direction. Which is fine by me. I somehow manage the wit to get my camera out with one hand and snap a couple of pictures of the visible half for proof with my friends.
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I then look over my shoulder and call my buddy Will Tuokola. He knows instantly that if I'm calling him things must have gotten really interesting. He's there in a flash and telling me to lift the tail up to him. Sounds like a good plan but that means that the bitting end of this devil lizard is gona have to pass uncomfortably close to own bitting end and i'm wagering that his snappers are nastier than mine. So after planning and vizualizing my escape route should things go awry, I lift up the beast with 2 hands and clear out. The thing is wildly lunging up in an arc and trying to free his tail end. I gotta give it to Will, He kept ahold of that thing when most people would have filled thier drawers.
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After about 5 minutes of me taking pictures of Will looking like a construction crane, keeping a safe distance between
himself and the Monitor, his arm was getting tired and it was time to switch. So we exchanged. I kept the Monitor busy while he found a stick so that we could hold down the head and get a grip on him. Once we had it in two hands it calmed a little but we were sure to keep a tight grip, One bite and you'd have some seriouse hospital time and even more seriouse antibiotics. I will get a pic up as soon as we can locate a computer with enuf ram to get the job done in under 1 hour.
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We were in Kenya for one night and if any of you have seen the news on the civil crisis there right now we are glad that that was all. Nirobi is not a nice city and that was a week before they had their election. It has been one week since the election and there are over 300 dead because of differences in political parties. It is madness. It has strarted to affect the contries that surround them in ways like difficult getting gasoline for cars. over night the price quadrupled from $1.50 to over 4 dollars a liter here in Zanzibar (a small island off the coast of Tanzania.

- Nate Dawg!

Posted by Seaurchins 07:23 Archived in Tanzania Comments (7)

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