A Gator in Dar Es Salaam

"Ex Africa semper aliquid novi - Out of Africa always something new" -Pliny the Elder

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

Well it was a very unusual and memorable Christmas, and at absolutely no point did it feel like Christmas. We had dinner at Forodhani Gardens, an outdoor eating bonanza with 50+ food vendors, mostly selling the same things, Tuna, Snapper, Octopus, Squid, Barracuda, Shark, Mishikaki. That was good, but kind of annoying because of the increased number of tourists, people were hustling us constantly. Many seemed to be under the influence of one or a combination of alcohol, marijuana, glue(a cheap and common high) and any number of other substances. That was funny and I can't count the number of times on Saturday I was offerred Bangi, Ganj, Dope, Malawi Wowi, gets old after a while. I had Barracuda and Shark and we were eventually overcharged for our food, but not much you can do about that. Saturday night we had hoped to hear Christmas carols played by a live band, but they turned out to play bar band songs such as Lionel Richie's "Hello, Is it me your looking for?" and Tanzanian stalwarts such as "Mpenzi Nakupenda"(Lover, I love you always). Mercer and myself headed back early to the Pyramid Hotel and were greeted with Christmas cards by the amazing lady who works the desk there. All the guests got personal Christmas cards. I cannot count the number of times I was wished Merry Christmas by Muslims this weekend, very interesting. Sunday we woke up at 8 to head over to the East Coast to go to the beach. I had not been to this part of the island and the drive over is nice. You go through a forest that is one of the few homes in the world to the endangered Collobus Monkeys, much bigger than the Vervits I see on campus. The beaches on Zanzibar's east coast are world renowned and I was not dissapointed. Great white sand and blue-green water, atleast as good if not better than any beach I have ever been to. Had a great day there, and at one point we walked out in to the ocean, maybe a half mile, with the water rarely reaching my chest. The waves were breaking maybe a mile off shore, very beautiful. Got back in to Stone Town, just about an hour west, and we all met up at Mercury's again for a nice Christmas dinner. The service was stunning for a tourist locale, on par with anything I have experienced in Tanzania in slowness, and never seeing a waiter. The food was good however and after being there for a few hours I was pretty exhausted. We took the 7:30 ferry this morning and by 10:30 this morning I was back in my bed at Chuo Kikuu and enjoying a nice nap.

Not sure how this happens when it is consistently 90 degrees but I have a cold, pretty mind boggling really. Nothing bad, but not something I really expected to happen. We had no school today because it is Boxing Day and I have a bunch of school work to do this week, before the semester wraps up. Merry Christmas again and Happy New Year to all.

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