Damn you, Sven

Trip Start Dec 28, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar Archipelago,
Friday, January 1, 2010

When we were eating breakfast at Macha Guest House, shortly before all our fun and drama, we were having an enjoyable chat with a Singaporean missionary. She was telling us that the power had gone out across Zanzibar when something malfunctioned in the power lines that connect the island to the mainland. She told us that there was only one man in the world qualified to fix this problem. And he was on vacation back home in Norway. Is this absolutely ridiculous? Yes. Is it absolutely true? I have no true. Am I upholding my lofty journalistic standards by passing along this story? I don't care, it sounds good enough, and the more ridiculous it is, the more likely it is true in a place like Tanzania, so I'm going to run with it. And if that offends you in any way, then you probably shouldn't be reading a blog in the first place.

And that's why I woke up at 9:30 am on New Year's Day, a mere three hours after crawling into bed, internally screaming, 'Damn you Sven!' Who's to say if this mystery Norwegian guy's name was Sven, but I figured that was as safe a bet as any. By 9:30 the temperature in Stone Town was already getting out of control, and with no fan in the room to cut the still air, sleeping in comfort was virtually impossible. My body was leaking sweat. I was dehydrated. I was covered in sand. And the realization that my camera was gone was officially sinking in. This is not exactly how I would've drawn up spending my first full day in 2010. But the no power thing didn't just mean dthere was no fan. It also meant there was no running water. Through reception, we were able to wrangle up a bucket of water to 'shower' with, but this wasn't the most efficient way of rinsing the sand away.

As we decided to take the Recovery Day toward the waterfront for lunch, really the only thing I had going for me was the stunning lack of a hangover. We went to Archipelago, which was a great choice because it overlooked the water, had a nice breeze and an abundance of fans. And it also wasn't that busy so we could leisurely sit there and delay facing the 90-degree heat as long as possible. I continued my seafood kick while on Zanzibar with a kingfish fillet with mango salsa, and camera aside, thing were starting to look up for the day ... until my stomach started to rumble.

When Rachel put together her list of things I should bring out with me, she said Imodium was a must. I'd traveled to other dodgy-stomach hot zones and had been able to navigate them fairly fortuitously without major incident. But Rachel said I would need it, not I might need it. And sure enough, my third day in Tanzania, trouble was brewing. And while it was never fully debilitating, it wasn't very comfortable either. And it would persist for the next 72 hours. The absurd heat wouldn't really help either. I felt a little better when we went to a shady sheesha bar to chill out and have a full-blown Coogee reminiscence. I hoped a nice long shower (while the generator was briefly turned on in the early evening) and a nice long nap would set me right for another dinner at the Forodhani Gardens market. While Joy sought a vegetarian option, Rachel and I allowed ourselves to get roped in by a chatty guy who offered us an even cheaper price than the night before. In addressing us he would go, "my brotha," look at Rachel then go "and ... girl." But my appetite was gone (it probably would've been better to realize this before I ordered and paid for food) as was any desire to stay out on the town. There was nothing left but dragging myself home through the eerily dark streets of a blacked out Stone Town. No one said every day of vacation is filled with glamor and excitement.
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