|a painted woman zanzibar|
|spice lunch zanzibar|
after lunch, we headed for the slave caves, where the sultan hid his slaves after the british abolished slavery (the slaves spent nights in the caves, which were accessible only by rope at the time). i was all prepared to be unimpressed, but the narrator had an interesting lilt in his speech, and he wove a python god story, which was made all the more convincing by the hotdog sized millipedes and the skittering bugs in the halflight. anyone with any ambition (eg for public office) needs to go down the tunnel at midnight and ask the python god's permission/blessing. we emerged from the slave caves grateful and spooked and took hidden stairs down to the most beautiful white sand beach i've ever seen. we were the only ones there. the water was clear turquoise. limestone cliffs rose to hide their treasure from public view. we swam out to a fishing boat and lounged on it for the rest of our time. so this is paradise.
|inside the slave cave zanzibar|
|monster millipede zanzibar|
|secret beach zanzibar|
but the spice tour was the best thing we did in africa. we (jakob, erika, and i) met 8 other awesome people, all youngish, all backpackers, (almost) all headed to nungwi the next day (nungwi is a beach north of stone town). role call:
lucy the crazy artist. "i was in a sex show once" (all conversations at the dinner table stop. "i mean, not IN a sex show, but i watched one. a woman was shooting darts out of her hoo-ha"). screams at everything. a grandmother who said, "it's the whiskey, my child, the whiskey." (as in, whiskey was the answer to her good health. when this same grandmother started losing her hearing, lucy would sit and sketch stories with her). unkempt hair, sweet smile, manages to be late and considerate in the same breath. makes friends with all the natives. more trusting than she should be. more honest than most. studied art at bristol for a year, went to florence to get a more classical education, painted in lamu for a month, and is soon returning to florence.
rupert the devious artist. public school boy with amazing manners but a shocking but not profane vocabulary (ever heard of a fruit basket?) that he uses to steer conversations quickly south (ash's terminology). almost date raped, which after the initial freakout, he managed to take as a compliment (how else could he take it anyways?) (we think his drink was spiked. he disappeared for 40 min on the beach, returned groggy, memoryless, walletless). rupert and lucy are traveling together, but they are not together. rupert also painted for a month in lamu, and will soon be in florence.
ash the traveler. perky south african who wakes up chattering. studies interior design. drove her dad's souped up 4x4 from south africa, camping and cooking along the way. the car has a fridge and a snorkel. buys everything in pink, but claims her favorite color is gray. loves donkeys. tells her mom everything. we have surprisingly similar shopping tastes, considering. after zanzibar, erika and i caught a ride with her party truck to mombasa and crashed at her mom's timeshare for a week. we dragged her by bus to lamu for a couple days in the middle of that week, and she absolutely loved it. two bruises, one on each leg from the same bus armrest. she ran into it on the way onto the bus and again on the way out of the bus. ash eventually hooked up wtih gerwin, followed him to germany, and they will both visit me in london this month. exciting stuff!
gerwin the german. lived in south africa for 6 months studying english. traveling with ash and simon. looks like a partyer, but is surprisingly laid back and mellow. triathloner, but had a surgery 2 years ago that extended one of his legs 6 cms (he was born with it 6 cm shorter, and they had to wait for him to stop growing before they could break his leg and stretch it with metal poles). still in amazing shape. packed a huge tub of protein powder into the car and hasn't used it once. stubborn but friendly. always smiling.
simon the fink. this kid has more than 1 screw loose. he hits on every girl he meets (lying about his girlfriend until he's sure he has no shot whatsoever, and then he tells ppl that he has a son, which turns into his nephew in subsequent versions of the story, but morphs back into his son again when he likes--i wonder if he had him with his sister). it's hard to describe what's wrong with this guy. he's negative, pessimistic, rude, untrustworthy, lazy, and ugly. he's homophobic, misogynic, and surly--a self-pitying meathead who's stuck in the adolescent phase of life where you write poems and feel all alone, except he's never heard of a poem and probably doesn't know how to read. he constantly makes snide comments under his breath, is incapable of having fun, and never does his share of the work--which can be really annoying when you're camping with him. it got so bad that ash and gerwin sent him home yesterday (they gave him his share of the money and told him to buy a plane ticket back to johannesburg). in retaliation, he stole KSH2000 of the money we had collected for the hotel tab, hinted that the roomservice stole it, and made us all give him KSH400 more each. erika accused him pointblank and almost punched him in the face. go erika! he had a stroke while playing rugby about 2 years ago, gained a lot of weight, is now fully recovered, but uses it as another excuse to feel sorry for himself. he works as a safari guide on a game ranch in south africa, and thinks that he is so grownup and mature for it. we've heard so many stories about his animal encounters, in excruciating detail, complete with mimicked animal noises. this kid loudly made fun of the muslim prayer calls while sitting in a public restaurant in a fully muslim country. stupid.
- nadin the outgoing schoolteacher. german who makes friends at the drop of a hat. most complete swahili knowledge out of all of us. eats nightly at the open air market.
- jeanette the wise. interior designer who's been traveling for ages. joined ash, simon, and gerwin for a leg of their trip. eldest of the group.
- bastion and claudia, the couple. soft spoken german couple. he works for lufthansa...she, i think, is a student. he wore funky plastic glasses. walked back thru the maze of cats from mercury to the hostel.
jakob the constant companion. we met him on our kili trek, using him, his dad, and claudius as our pacers. we didn't realize till the second to last day that claudius didn't speak any english. they descended the mtn a day before us, and we promised to find each other in zanzibar. instead, we found that two days of our safaris overlapped (which is strange b/c erika and i planned our safari completely off the cuff)...met in zanzibar a couple of days later, and hung out until he returned to frankfurt. apparently, ppl from frankfurt are called frankfurters, ppl from berlin are called berliners (jelly donuts), ppl from hamburg are called hamburgers...