Karibu Zanzibar

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Mountaineer in the tropics
Mountaineer in the tropics

Malpensa. One last kiss for Bruna and we are at Cairo. In the night we land at Dar er Salam. Through airplane window only the dark appers during our night flight: desert looks like ocean while Sun is sleeping.

It’s early, still night. Visa,  permits and finnally doors get opened: It starts!

We change some money, first swindle. Experience is priceless, this is my first time here, under equator: I got to pay.

We look for a taxi to the harbor. A well-dressed young man comes forward:  white jacket, dark trousers and, above all else, an official badge. He leads me in his office showing me price list: $ 25 but he seems reliable, we take.

LHD, left-hand drive, wrecked cars and diesel stink: it’s like being in India, suburbs all look alike, especially at night. It’s starts to rain, I hope the dawn will come soon: at night everything is harder.

At the harbor taxi is not yet stopped when four or five black guys shove inside their heads  through windows. Driver locks doors: “Tlack”, automatic lock sounds  familiar and scaring. “okay, here we go” It’s my thought.

I get off the taxi cursing at nigh and retrieving my luggage. Driver escorts us to the boat office: “take care, they are bad people”.  We are in Africa, at night at the harbor: thank you for the advice I haven’t noticed it…

In the office a big balck dealer begins to shout insults pushing out the crowd: we pay $ 30 and we got a ticket to wait for our boat till seven AM. The ferry, Zanzibar Arrow, it’s big, old and slow.  I got a seat below deck and start to sleep. Two hours later we are at Stone town: boata it’s a bad choice, we save no money skipping airplane and only got trouble at the harbor.

Sunrise warms the morning but with light now it’s all easier. Welcome back Sun, we are in Africa today. Around only big smiles “Jambo, Karibu, Hacuna Matata“. We are waiting close the first electrified house on the island. Giadda finally arrives: he is a curly light eyes boy. He show me the SMS I have sent to him: “two thousand pleasantries” but now I can trust him.

We take dalla-dalla, a somekind of “wanna-be a Bus” vehicle that once was an old truck. We wait some time at the market among  fish and spices stalls. People starts to climb up to the back of the bus, last of them is a young masaai: he wears a traditional red dress, warrior mace and big sun-glasses good to Elvis. World is a strange place.

The journey is not “comfortable”, we are all packed: “more people, more money”. The guy clinging  outside push on more people on every stops getting the money for the run.  I discover that woman are not afraid by male proximity. One of them, unable to speak english, simply take my hand to show me how block my backback: tactile gestures was something unexpected here.

When warm become unbearable we arrive, finnally, at the destination: a blue ocean it’s in front of us. Time to rest now, tomorrow we will start to work with “fundi”, local blacksmither.

Karibu Zanzibar!!

Davide “skittle” Valsecchi

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