Anyplace with sun and sand always does it for me. So when the opportunity came for me to assist and accompany a friend of mine to Zanzibar, I was ecstatic!
DAY 1 Monday 6th February: The journey begins
My birthday too. I also had a job interview before the journey. I hadn’t booked in advance, just in case the interview lasted longer than I’d anticipated. I arrived about thirty minutes after 1 O’Clock by which time my favourite buses had already departed. The only bus that was available was Mombasa Raha, which I’d never used before. Not what I’m used to (in terms of comfort) but it got me to Mombasa in time-around 8.30 p.m. To suit the journey, my cousin lent me Elmore Leonards’ ‘Gold Coast’. Elmore is one of my favourite crime fiction writers!
DAY 2 Tuesday: Road to Dar es Salaam
Had to wake up at 5.30 a.m to catch the 6.30 a.m bus to Dar. The only bus we found was Smart Bus (Ksh. 1,400). At the ferry crossing over to the South Coast, we were all asked to get off the bus. I remember listening to this very funny pastor on the ferry when I was called back into the bus. At the door, there was an argument among the conductors about opening the door or not. When they finally did, I was starting to get in when all of a sudden, someone closed the door. My finger was caught in between and mercilessly smashed. I immediately started bleeding. The people who saw what happened started protesting …and that’s when the door was opened again to let me in.
Smart Bus did not have a complete first aid kit and I had to wait over 10 hours to get proper treatment in Dar.
The bus kept making numerous stops along the way and instead of taking between 8-10 hours, we took 15 hours to get to Dar. I had been informed that my Safaricom number would work here, but wapi! After my lil’ accident, my friend had decided to leave Zanzibar (instead of waiting for me there) and come wait for me in Dar, but alas! I couldn’t even make calls.
At the hospital: Thank God AAR had offices in Dar. So I got a cab and headed there, only to find their offices closed. The guard informed us that the nearest hospital was Shree Hindu Mandal Hospital.This is where I was dropped off.
Once I informed the receptionist that I was from Kenya, she said that I couldn’t access the services here, adding that I had to wait and go to AAR offices the next morning. What?!!! Not knowing what else to do, I sat at the hospital lobby-stranded. One of her colleagues came and sat next to me, to talk to me. He called a friend of his to help sort out my network issue. So simple:- Settings>Phone>Operator selection>Manual. Most phones connect automatically though. I finally called the AAR Dar number at the back of the card using my phone…..and that’s all it took for me to get treatment. The doctor and nurse who sorted me out were amazing.
Frangipani Guest Suites: I also called my friend, who came and waited until I was treated. I had my ‘chips mayai’ before heading out to Frangipani Guest Suites in Jangwani Beach where we spent the night.
The place is ran by Salgha Kombe, a professional interior designer who has done an amazing job with the place.
IN PART II, FIND OUT HOW THE REST OF THE JOURNEY TO ZANZIBAR WENT, SAUTI YA BUSARA FESTIVAL & HOW I GOT BACK HOME…