Plans have completely changed since my last writing… surprise surprise, but I’m certainly excited for it. I was meant to go to Uganda via Kenya and meet a friend in kenya, until I realized the chaos had erupted again! I had a stressful day of not knowing what to do- risk overlanding to meet my friend, fly direct to Uganda OR wait 10 days and meet Heather in Mbeya (southern tanzania) to overland to Malawi. After much debating I choose traveling with a friend to a place I wanted to go but had decided I wouldn’t overland on my own. It’s safe, I just assume it would be more difficult than Tanzania.
So, I flew to Zanzibar and spent 7 wonderful days there- 6 on the beach soaking up the sun and floating in beautiful azure waters. Paradise. time flies. It’s also amazing how you can do nothing- lie in the sun, read, swim, and eat and feel tired most of the day. It’s strange how when you do next to nothing it makes you more tired. I was impressed that I read 1.5 books. Before Zanzibar, I read one book that took me 2 months to read because I never made time for it.
I spent the day trying getting my bus ticket, eating Chinese food-yum! and looking for a southern Africa guide book. I went to every book shop in central Dar and it couldn’t be found. One young Muslim woman walked me to a book shop but it was closed, which seemed to have loads of guidebooks and the other shop was out of stock. I got my exercise today.
I came back to the hotel and was ready to ask anyone if they wanted to trade their Southern Africa guide for my East Africa one, though I knew the chances were slim. It seems most travelers to Tanzania have a set path and are not overlanding from Southern Africa. Anyhow, someone was watching out for me because I asked the only young guy in the hotel if he happened to have a southern africa guide. “No, but I’ve been to south africa… and am headed to Malawi. I have copies of the pages from the southern africa guide,” he says. We barely exchange names and I ask if I can run off with all 32 pages of worshipped paper, knowing that it’s after 6pm and most shops are closing. I went to two places, got assistance from a store that wasn’t open on where to go for potential open places. None were opened. I was getting worried that finally I had the info I needed but wouldn’t be able to copy it. I went back to the air-conditioned internet cafe, 6 blocks away and to my happiness were still open!Success! (instead of paying $35-50 for the guide book, I paid $1.40 for photocopies, what a deal).
My impression of Dar is better. It’s not ideal place to land coming from Europe or the US been alone with out a plan, like when I initially arrived. Now that I’m familiar with Tanzania and know how to respond or simply deal with cultural friendliness and men, it’s much easier. I also walk as if I knew where I’m going and I feel at ease. Before I’m sure people could tell I didn’t know where I was going, new- fresh meat. People were also friendlier. It also helped that I prepared myself and planned what I needed to do so it wouldn’t feel so bad, like telling a child something they don’t want to do but will be rewarded later. Funny. I’m also in a good mood after 6 days on the beach (though money was stolen from me in the dorms at Kendwa rocks, 99% sure someone who worked there took my 20,000 or $18 as only money was taken and stole $130 from someone else, a traveler would have taking my memory cards and other gadgets) and knowing I will have a friend to travel with for the next month.
After Malawi… I will either go with Heather to Mozambique, stay longer than her or go to Jo’burg with her for her March 6 flight. I’m not sure of anything and barely know anything about Malawi. Get to read up on my 9-10 hr bus ride tomorrow! Its exciting… I’m also very happy to return to my favorite place, Capetown, South Africa, which inspired this trip. I would love to spend lots of time exploring the country and hanging out in Capetown. Will see what’s meant to be!