Ugandan Privacy

Soooo I know I’m back and no one is following this anymore (maybe Jill’s grandma is still  out there in readerland?), but I found this post I wrote and never posted.  Probably because it’s borderline illiterate and all but completely falls apart at the end.  I find it endearing.  Also, I don’t want it to get lost on my computer somewhere so I’m just going to post it here regardless.

*****old post!

Something fairly profound hit me while in the shower today.  This is not unusual, as frigid lake water in an outdoor bathing block tends to have a “mind-clearing” effect.  I don’t know how to describe one of my biggest frustrations about life in Uganda, except to say…I never really know what’s going on.  Sure, after 2 years and some bonus I understand how life flows, I’ve figured out the bizarrely irregular market non-schedule, and I can tell which vague white taxi is going to Kasese and which vague white taxi will stop at Kyambura by examining its unique pattern of still-attached door handles.  I can read between a lot of lines in conversation.  But I think, as most travelers would agree, that I am generally excluded from the inner-workings of Uganda. 

This is a land where your closest friends can disappear for two months and produce babies when you never knew they were pregnant.  Where a man and woman get married after a long courtship that no one ever really knew about.  Where people say things and you’re not supposed to be offended but you don’t understand why.  Where your neighbor says he’s coming home a certain day, shows up three weeks later, and no one else is phased by it.  Where you can know someone for years without knowing he/she has kids.  Where Christmas plans are made the night before, and where people always purposely withhold where they’re going, and when, and if they’ll be back despite that this information would make it infinitely easier for you to make a meeting with them or bake them a cake for their birthday.  Where husbands and wives don’t always know where each other are or how they are feeling.  I could go on, and on….and on.  In fact, I think I have! 

The important thing is, and for which I will be winning the Cold Water Revelations prize, is that I think I have discovered the way in which Ugandans and Americans are the MOST opposite.  (At least those of my generation…)  PRIVACY.  Rural Ugandans have essentially zero physical privacy—whether they grew up in a house of 7 kids (or 17), attended boarding school for up to 13 years, or plain just lived in a village where everyone knows everything.  I think they make up for this by creating their own sense of internal privacy.  Given the average parent : child and teacher : student ratios, it’s also likely that kids grow up being taught to keep their feelings and ideas and goals and challenges inside.  I’m not pulling this out of my butt here, there is a poster in my local secondary school’s main office that says “Don’t tell your friends your problems: Half of them have bigger problems, half of them won’t listen, and the other half of them won’t care.”  The school’s deficiencies in mathematics may be discussed in a future post.  Please note that I’m not condemning this way of life, as I do think there are redeeming qualities about a culture which always responds “I’m fine.”  For instance, I find Ugandans to be highly independent at a much earlier age, more flexible to deal with changing situations, and certainly far from stretched out on therapy couches and popping mood pills.

Ahem.  Let us contrast with America.  I don’t think I need to elaborate to most of you the idea that we have created for ourselves a society that provides not only SO MUCH physical privacy, but also basically the CHOICE of, say, exactly how many people I feel like interacting with today.  Families of 4 often have 4 bedrooms, and 4 cars.  You can go to stores without seeing anyone you know, or just decide to hole up at home for days in a row without anyone asking questions.   Etc, etc.  And yet, we contemplate about buying the 500 or 1,000 text message plan.  Boyfriends and girlfriends know where each other are 98% of the time and insist on talking about every little thing and feeling of the day (okay, mostly the girlfriends).  We announce our problems to the church.  We post what we’re praying for and what kind of socks we’re wearing on Facebook.  We Tweet about our break-ups and share photos of our ultra-sounds!  We blog about privacy (and, it seems, blog about blogging about it…)  Not only do we share EVERYthing going on inside, but sometimes we just throw it out there to the universe and hope someone cares, or laughs, or calls us for a drink!  (hint hint)

I don’t dare to believe that I’m the first person to suggest that our demolition of personal boundaries is a reaction to our somewhat self-induced physical isolation from each other.  It’s no big secret that sub/urban life seems to shake free of the bonds of community.  Only so that, once we’re free, we can try to build that community back up again, but in ways that we can control.  There’s a movement in the U.S. to make everything more “social”.  I think technology is great, but I also think there’s something very unsettling about “making television more social”.  There’s a lot to be said, and a lot that has been said, by far more interesting and intelligent people than me, for real, present, physical, human community and togetherness—warts, awkward/unpredictable situations, and all!  Also, nature.  Remember nature?  It was nice.

I see the Americans I know at home, and the Ugandans I live with here, as people living in incomparable places with nearly-incomparable challenges.  We’re all wired to interact with others but, in the push and pull for physical vs. personal privacy, I feel like these two groups swing wildly to extremes.  In very general terms, Ugandans keep everything inside because everyone else would mind way too much, and Americans divulge even the most private or mundane details, just hoping that someone minds enough to care.  As Americans market ourselves to the outside world, Ugandans soldier on with support enlisted from only their most intimate contacts.  So really, we are all just trying to control and define our identities—whether through carefully chosen Facebook broadcasts or through intentional withholding of personal information.  Wait, did I say this would be an issue that made Ugandans and Americans DIFFERENT?  My bad.  Looks like we’re all the same humans after all.

Then, my neighbor’s kids locked me inside my bathing room.  The end. 

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Zanzibar- DAY 6 and Travel

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It was a cool and drizzling May Day morning.  I must say, however, that waking up to a cool and drizzling day on the northern beaches of Zanzibar is still most certainly better than waking up anywhere else.  If anything, the overcast sky seemed to throw emphasis on the contrasting blues of the sea.  The Zanzibar gods, and Juma, rallied together to give Linda and I one last sublime beachside breakfast and, though my brain has somehow blocked this laborious memory, we and all of our bags miraculously made it across the beach, up the steep stone stairs and into Ali’s car ready for the ride into Stonetown and the airport.  I do, however, remember the distinct discomfort of feeling socially compelled to wear shoes for the first time in 4 days.  What a shame, really. 

Ali was in unique form on our short drive through the Zanzibar countryside.  Reminiscent of our drive out of Stonetown with Ali, where he enlightened us about his deep, deep respect for Arnold Schwarzenegger, he went through a brief catalogue of American singers who he “jams to.”  Top of the list was Boys II Men.  After a short sampling of his Boys II Men repertoire, he matter-of-factly informed us that the group is from Philadelphia.  After a few probing questions about Philadelphia and a brief hesitation, Ali asked with a smirk….

“They call it the city of Brotherly Love, is this true?”


“Okay, okay, hakuna matata!”

I think we may have left Ali with a mild misunderstanding of Philadelphia.  But he moved on, confiding in us that he was “very sad sad” and “cried small bits” when Whitney Houston died.  Linda joined him in a moving duet of “I Will Always Love You” that broke racial and cultural barriers everywhere.  Maybe even a window or two.  It was magical.  Followed by an Ali-sponsored public health message “Doing drugs means big damage.”  Amen, brother. 

It was a sad curbside goodbye to this musical pair, as well as a slightly confusing one.  What Ali called an airport, I would most generously call an annex to some sort of fish-packing warehouse.  But there was a man named Salim and an industrial-looking weigh scale.  Salim had a badge.  It was legitimate-looking.  So, yes, I gave him my passport and all of my earthly possessions.  In exchange I got a handwritten boarding pass which, I subsequently realized, was scribbled on the back of a photocopy of someone else’s (presumably confidential) passport information.  He told me that the computers were down.  I, personally, did not see any computers.  But like I said, he had that badge.    I left the island with a borderline illegible plane ticket and a friendly wink in lieu of baggage claim receipts, and yet I had to pull my liquids and laptop out of my backpack to pass through security.  So, there I was, one of approximately three people in the single gate of  Zanzibar International Airport, wondering how it came to be that the only thing I could afford with my remaining TZ Shillings was an impressive selection of 12 different flavors of Pringles and praying to God that I did NOT just see them load my bag into the cargo of that Nairobi-bound prop jet labeled Tropical Air. 

And so it was that my 31-hour journey back to home-sweet-not-quite-my-home New York City began with a 15-minute flight to Dar es Salaam.  A sweet, half-filled, five-hour jaunt to Dubai was followed by a few hours in the Dubai Airport—land of a thousand perfume stores, a hundred bathroom signs with arrows, and two actual bathrooms—and capped off with a “brutal” (quotations indicate the fact that I still had my own seat, was served 4 meals, and watched unlimited free movies) 13-hour flight to New York seated in the middle between a nice Bangladeshi couple and an Ethiopian gold geologist.  “Gold geologist.”  Huh.  Yeah, we had those in Uganda too.  We usually called them smugglers and happily traveled in their backseats, donating our taxi fares and naïve silence to their cause of escaping the Congo as quickly as possible…but conveniently in the direction which we wanted to go!  It was a symbiotic relationship.  With smugglers.  Then I passed on to Washington DC where, upon exiting my gate, the sight of Dunkin Donuts caused me to stop in my tracks.  Unfortunately I was still in the gate exit area so 2 or 3 people actually physically ran into the back of me.   Social reintegration is hard! 

I was happy to touch down on US soil though, I have to say, after dealing with 5 developing world airports in the same week, my least pleasant experience was still at JFK.  At least I managed to sweet talk an angry employee out of charging me $25 to check a bag—I’ve still got it!  Or, perhaps, I’ve so seriously LOST it that people feel bad for me.  I’m okay with that.

Welcome to America!

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Zanzibar- DAY 5

Monday, April 30, 2012

Another day on the beach?  Sometimes life isn’t fair, but at least it works in both directions.  I spent the day catching up on some reading, though, on my 92nd novel I’m not precisely sure of what I am catching up to.  Linda and I met a great young married couple named Zach and Sian (a woman, pronounced Shawn) who were traversing Africa on bicycle.  That is, until after 1,000 km of cycling through the DR Congo, staying at homes of village chiefs filled with sacks of roasted caterpillars and politely refusing roadside sticks of fried bat and dog in the malnourishing but likely wise preference of consuming tasteless lumps of boiled cassava as their sole source of sustenance…they decided to cut their journey a bit “short”.  Wimps!

Personally, I consider 1,000 km cycling through the Congo to be about 998 km too far, allowing myself a 2 km window to discover that I have made a terrible, terrible mistake by somehow accidentally crossing into the Congo.  As happy as I am to be in Zanzibar, I think I’m even sympathetically happier that Zach and Sian are in Zanzibar.  Having met in Kampala, they both had experience in Uganda and we swapped many enjoyable stories and laughs.  I do believe Sian and I had each other in tears.  They have traveled through many African countries—including but not limited to Zambia, where drivers of windshield wiper-less jalopies speed around cliff-side corners while one-handedly lathering a bar of soap on the outside windshield to prevent the rain from streaking the glass and Sierra Leone, where a 50-year-old man tried his best to claim orphan status due to the recent and saddening loss of his elderly parents.

Talking with them simultaneously made me realize just how unique and special it has been to live here, and also how fun and rewarding it is to speak to other interesting and like-minded westerners.  Hearing Sian accurately and lovingly refer to Uganda as “chaos” warmed my heart in total comprehension.  We know it’s chaos, but somehow part of it is our chaos.  And regardless of any cubicles or beige sedans I may one day end up in, I will carry that chaos with me. 

Other than passing a pleasant day in very pleasant company, Linda and I somehow managed to find the time to pick out our own evening’s octopus from the day’s fresh catch.  As we watched the fisherman precede to repeatedly beat our octopus against the sand, and I was gathering the courage to kindly tell him that it was, quite certainly already dead, we were rescued from our confusion by the ever-present Juma, who informed us that this is the local method of meat tenderizing.  Octopus tenderizing.  We told him to go ahead and beat it a few more times.  We ate that sucker for dinner and he. was. delicious.  I will never forget that taste, or more likely the texture, of (very) freshly grilled octopus, eaten on the shores of tropical East Africa, a different kind of home.

Two fine lookin octopi

Linda observes the process of ‘octopus tenderizing’

The culmination of allllll our hard efforts

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Zanzibar- DAY 4

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I woke up early to lounge and journal on the beach after a fairly sleepless night.  Possibly the only downside of sleeping for $20/night on the nearly deserted coast of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches was our apparent cohabitation with a mouse.  Possibly some sort of poisonous, flesh-eating beach rodent, but probably a mouse.  He was scurrying maddeningly through the walls and chewed through my purse to eat our bread.  Yes, I keep bread in my purse.  Let’s not get bogged down in the details.  The morning was so peaceful, just listening to the waves.  Also, to “Big Mama” the hotel’s masseuse squawking away at her decidedly more mediocre-sized assistants (less peaceful). 




After waiting out a short drizzling Tanzanian rain, Linda and I went for a long walk along the beach, collecting, in retrospect, an absurd number of shells, and admiring the fishermen in their boats.  We cleaned some trash off the beach (come ON people), got a Kilimanjaro beer, and turned back.  Our loving and ever-accommodating Juma moved us into a new, mouseless room which also conveniently happened to be the “air-conditioned suite”, previously commandeered by some Turkish supermodels.  We were happy at maintaining the same price, and also pleasantly shocked to find that the air conditioner actually worked!  The power still went off at night, as if to remind us that we are, still, in Africa, where just because something does work is no guarantee that it will work.

Dysfunction being not limited to African products, however, the clasp of my swimsuit top later made the decision to break free of the confines of its one earthly responsibility and, well, just…break.  I wish I could say that my ample bust simply overpowered the delicate mechanism but I think that would be exaggerating a thing, or two.  I’m sure the local staff are used to seeing humiliated white girls scrambling to their cabins, desperately clutching the fragile pieces remaining of their swimsuits tightly to their flat chests, attempting to discreetly unlock their doors with their elbows.  Yeah, that must happen all the time. 

At least, at the end of it all, I replaced the space in my suitcase which would have been filled by my renegade swimsuit with one giant seashell.  That’s right.  I bought a giant seashell.  And how could I not, after this compelling conversation with the diver/salesman:

“You take big shell.  Beautiful.”

“I’m sorry, our suitcases are very small!”

“No problem.”

“And it’s a bit expensive.”

“No problem.”

“Well no, it’s not a problem for you.”

“Hakuna matata.  Shell is very nice.”

“Yeah, you’re right.  I’ll take it.”

We let our little crab friend keep his shell

Linda and I commiserated over our wayward purchases of giant seashells by treating ourselves to more calamari, carrot soup, and a front-row seat to the evening’s Juma Show.  Normally very polite and customer-pleasing, Juma spent most of the night speaking to us in Swahili, a language in which, to his dismay, our fluency is limited to “jambo” and select phrases from The Lion King.  I started speaking to him in Runyankore in the hopes that he would grasp the concept that fluency in a language does not guarantee the capacity of understanding in your audience, but he hardly batted an eye.  He kept repeating enigmatically, “I speak little no good English but speak Swahili very well”.  He had been speaking English with us all week… It was Linda’s opinion that  perhaps, if Zanzibar is so well known for growing copious spices, it is likely good for growing other….erm, therapeutic plants as well, in which Juma may have been recently partaking.  Oh, Juma.  Our Juma.  Just say no (problem)!

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Zanzibar- DAY 3!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What can I say?  I sat on the beach.  I waded shoulder-deep into the clear turquoise water (and could still see my feet).  I frolicked with the jellyfish.  I sat in the damp ground where water meets sand and marveled how, at this beach, the tide never comes in or goes out.  Mmmmmmmm moon science.  A perpetual white-sanded paradise.  I also took this opportunity to make a desperate attempt at exfoliation of the soles of my feet, whose calluses at the ball and the heels have slowly crept toward each other and now fused into one invincible foot shield.  Having a foot shield would be a great advantage if this was a rocky beach but, tragically, the sands of Western Zanzibar are both perfectly white and perfectly fine.  Two things which I feel do not describe me at the moment, or at least in comparison to the buxom Australian beach jogger, the glowing honeymooners, or the pair of Turkish supermodels who have, to my dismay, coincidentally, cosmically, CONSPIRATORILY ended up on my beach during my vacation.


Though my time in Zanzibar was planned to be, and has been, a time of reflective transition from life in rural Uganda to life back home, I forgot that it wasn’t just a transition back to hot showers and western concepts of privacy, among other wonderful things.  It’s also a transition back to self-conscious appearances and small talk with strangers.  Social comparisons and commercial bombardment.  Leg shaving.  Blech!

I haven’t gone jogging in about a year except for a few sprightly dashes away from aggravated beehives.  Honeymoons, I’m pretty sure, will long remain as something I only see in movies, and… Turkish supermodel, I am not.  While I sat in the shallow turquoise waves, my back burning, in only one spot, and my swimsuit filling with sand, I dwelled on this fact.  I’m not a Turkish supermodel.  I’m not a Turkish supermodel.  I’m not.  I’m not!  I’m not even a Polish supermodel, or a pygmy, or a sword swallower, or anything unique or outstanding at all.  After nearly 3 years of being the only “muzungu” in town—worshipped for my whiteness!  admired for my Anglo-Saxonry!” credentialed by my caucasianism!—it’s quite a blow to land back among the mere mortals of the earth (no offense, I’m sure you’re all great).

I looked more closely at my legs—where are all these scars from?  And the seemingly perma-bruises?  Why have I never recovered proper skin coloration since the great Mosquito Massacre of 2010?  I distinctly do NOT remember losing that toenail. 

As you may be deducing…it’s not pretty.  But, as a size zero tanned Italian dips delicately into the ocean and that damned busty Australian jogs by again—is she wearing less clothes?—I’m strangely proud of my grotesque appendages.  Not only will I be able to repel unwanted suitors (and there will be many) with a simple flash of thigh, but at least I know I’ve been somewhere.  Been through something.  Specifically, bushes.  I’ve been through a lot of bushes. 

So, I’m not a Turkish supermodel.  If I had Turkish supermodel legs, I would probably be widely known and admired and betrothed to a rich and stunningly handsome Swedish man.  Now, where’s the fun in that?

Linda and I rounded out our (otherwise obviously very busy) day by sharing a plate of fried calamari and two plates of the catch-of-the-day, which was Kingfish.  While deciding what to order, we were first skeptical of Juma:

“Is it fresh?”

“Very fresh.”

“Like, it’s from today?”

“They were caught 3 hours ago.”

“Oh…..yes, that will be fine.”

As if there was anything else left to enjoy besides eating fresh seafood with your feet buried in the sand beneath your seaside, candlelit table, we watched the sunset.

Hakuna matata, indeed!

I’m serious, the tide never goes in or out. A moon miracle!

Sunset with wooden dhow boat

“just” a sunset

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Zanzibar- DAY 2

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jean, Linda and I started our first day with crepes and fresh fruit on the roof of our hotel, overlooking historic Stonetown.  Not too bad.  We then set off on a self-guided walking tour of the town where everything is, in fact, made out of stone.  I like that.  We found our way to the coast—it is an island, after all—and our first sight of the Indian Ocean was probably, collectively, a little overdramatic.  Our squeals of girlish delight and accompanying frolics were likely a bit out of place near a trash heap adjacent to some sort of crumbling castle.  Using good old fashioned American arrogance and a terrible guide named James, we eventually found our way to the fish and spice markets for which Stonetown is so much admired.  They call Zanzibar the “spice island”, and it did not disappoint.

Apparently I only took 2 pictures of Stonetown- look some old windows on a moldy building!

The dock. Well….A dock. Yeah I really failed you guys on the Stonetown pictures. It’s beautiful, TRUST me

Then….we met Amour.  A young Muslim man just leaving Friday worship at the mosque, he was….well, he was Amour.  He offered to help us get back to the harbor.

“My name is Amour.”

“Nice to meet you, Amour!”

“What is ‘love’ in French?”

“um, is it amour?”

“Yes, Amour!  My name is Amour!”

Amour was quite fit and sprightly, and complemented his healthy energy with a refreshingly healthy outlook on life, and a VERY healthy ego!  He gave us a great tour, including his home, where his brothers’ wives were preparing the Friday feast, and his carpentry workshop where he recycles and refurbishes old wood into new products like chests, boxes, and wooden ships.  On top of his infectious smile and his genuine desire to share with us the magic of Zanzibar, he expressed a deep passion for the Colorado Avalanche.  Being among 3 Denverites, we warmed to him rather immediately.  (Don’t think too hard about how a love for or even basic understanding of ice hockey has come to reach the island.)  I think we will all best remember Amour, however, for his unforgettable one-liners.

  • “Everyone knows me because I play football.  My fans think that I am very, very good!”


  • Jean: “Amour, you’re such a good ambassador for your country!”
  • Amour: “I’m an angel!”


  • (While getting his photo with Jean)  “You’re in paradise!  You’re with Amour!”

After lunch at the harbor, we called our driver Ali to take us to the north end of the island, where the most spectacular beaches are.  We had no reservations.  Weeeeeeee!  We stayed at the first hotel we found.  We just needed a beach, really.  And a beach it was!  Perfectly fine, white sand and clear, turquoise water, shallow enough to wade out a dozen meters. 

told you

We had sunshine, gentle waves, and….Juma.  Being low season, Juma was our hotel’s everyman.  The manager, receptionist, the bellhop, bartender, waiter, plumber, sand sweeper…you name it.  We had to wait an extra day to confirm that Juma was not, in fact, our security guard, our cook, or our fisherman.  Juma was a man of many roles, but also a man of many eccentricities which would slowly reveal themselves throughout our stay.  One constant, though, was his personal catchphrase… “why not?”  In response to certain inquiries, it resonated not only with sense, but also an attitude of calm flexibility.  “Juma, we’re going to walk the beach!”  “Why not?”  Other times, it made less sense….

“Juma, do you have fresh calamari today?”

“Why not?”   (well, perhaps if no one caught any….)

or, when I couldn’t get my Ugandan phone to work and he offered me the use of his own phone,

“Oh Juma that’s very kind, but I need to make a long call, it will use ALL of the money on your phone.”

“Why not?”   (well, if you put it that way….)


Me and Juma, BFF


Juma with Linda, who he guessed was 40. She liked him a lot.

We walked along the beach at sunset, encountering some rasta men, some spear-wielding fishermen, and a man with a vervet  monkey on a leash.  No big deal.  The three of us sat down to Kilimanjaro beers and a lovely candlelit supper on the beach!  Yep, I’ve had worse days.

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Zanzibar – DAY 1

Isn’t it great reading other people’s travel journals?  Snore!  Read at your own risk!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

And so our adventure began!  I met Jean and her friend Linda in Kampala and we stayed the night together in Entebbe before flying out.  I have to say one serious upside of traveling with two sixty-something-year-old ladies is getting to hear them pronounce the names of the local foods.  “Matookey and pokey, please, with g-sauce!”  It’s like a whole new foreign language.  I jest, but in reality we were great travel companions throughout the trip.  Jean and Linda (friends since 4th grade) are two strong, spunky ladies who I (now, more than ever!) truly respect and admire.  Also….they are hilarious!  I sincerely hope I can be that fun and adventurous when I am their age.  Which is like 35, right ladies?

From Entebbe we boarded a propeller-ed plane to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.  However we first made a stop at the Mount Kilimanjaro International Airport, in the shadow of the great mountain.  Well, it was covered in clouds, but we FELT its presence.  It was THERE….somewhere.  Sadly NOT present was a handsome Gregory Peck, though Linda informed me that the landscape around us did, indeed, look like the painted backdrops used in the filming of Snows of Kilimanjaro. We took off late because we may or may not have been missing a passenger.  Three flight attendants compared passenger lists but, in the end, I think they came to the same consensus—every seat is filled, so we must be okay.  Just to cover their bases, they made a repetitive announcement that “we are going to Dar-es-Salaam.  If this is not your destination please identify yourselves.”  Nope?  No one?  Okay!

Linda enjoyed our first Kilimanjaro beer of the trip, mid-air, because YES BEER IS COMPLIMENTARY. I love Africa!

We were late but at least we were served refreshments.  On a one-hour flight.  Precision Airways may not be very precise, but they know how to make a beef and cucumber sandwich!  Our connection to Zanzibar was tight but only in Africa can you reach the airport 20 minutes before your next flight’s departure, without your bags, without a boarding pass, and without a visa, and STILL make it to your final destination.  Given our light jog throughout the whole process, we were skeptical that our bags would make it.  We inquired from a man on the tarmac who looked very concerned about our problem, scribbled our name on his hand, and disappeared.  We never saw him again.  I had to remind Jean and Linda of the meaning of “hakuna matata” (no problems), as that was the only advice we could eek out of the rest of the airline crew. 

We reached Zanzibar and, more miraculously, our bags reached as well.  After having said 2 words to my seat neighbor, Kassim, on the 15 minute journey, he offered us a ride in his hired taxi to our hotel.  Musta been 2 pretty witty, charming, or otherwise endearing words!  Woohoo!  There is nothing quite like the kind treatment of strangers when you arrive at night in a foreign country.  (What does stranger rhyme with?  Manger? Ranger? Ah, well….)  This turned out to be our fortuitous meeting of Ali, who would be our driver at many other points on our short journey.  Exhausted, we were dropped off at our gorgeous hotel in Stonetown- something Garden something something.  It was dark. 

We made it to paradise!!!

Our hotel in daylight

Our room- windows hurray!

One of our many-sided views of the historic streets of Stonetown, Zanzibar

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