Princess in Paradise

Trip Start Sep 27, 2011
Trip End Aug 31, 2012

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Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar Archipelago,
Friday, November 11, 2011

Princess in Paradise
It's hard to believe that I have lived for the past month as a Princess in Paradise. And to think it all began based on the advice of a local doctor. You see, just after my birthday I caught a serious virus from what the doctor believes is from food/water poisoning. Basically, I had a worm in my digestive system and well nothing digested, not even water. So for a solid 10hrs of vomiting water and having water diaherrea and not being able to sleep without running to the toilet, I was limp with no energy, about 30% water weight was lost and I was in sheer exhaustion. As soon as the morning arrived, I headed straight to the hospital where I was prescribed worm pills, a liquid diet for all the minerals and vitamins I lost and vacation time on the beautiful resort of Kendwa to recooperate. Having disagreed with the idea of laying on a beach to feel better, I returned to my home where other volunteers where packing for a weekend visit to the beaches of Kendwa. Knowing I wasn't feeling well, they encouraged me to join and hit me with a logical point: I would be lying in bed anyway, mind as well ly on beach bed and enjoy the amazing views while being catered by the restaurant staff. And so that evening I managed to scrape my body out of bed to pack as we were leaving early in the morning. 

The next morning all 7 of us hopped in a shared van and an hour later we arrived at a resort in Kendwa called Sunset Bungalows. It was super beautiful! While the others snorkeled and went on sunset cruises, I stayed under a hut and slept. When evening arrived, I was feeling much better and decided I was fit enough to party at the hotel adjacent to ours called Kendwa Rocks. It was good fun until around midnight, my stomach was acting up which sent me back to my room to sleep. The morning came where we had to check out, but not before the gang had a boat tour somewhere that wasn't going to return until dusk.  As sick as I was, there was no way I was getting on a boat and so I slept on the beach again and around lunch time, decided to grab my laptop and type.  Sunset Bungalows did not have an outdoor power outlet, but Kendwa Rocks did.  As I was approaching the lounge area where outlets were just about everywhere, a man directly in front of me was walking and had a laptop in his hand.  For what ever reason, I decided to shout out " I am looking for exactly what you are looking for".  He retorted "what am I looking for?".  I exclaimed "an outlet".  And luck would have it that there was only one booth available and so we shared it.  We both never did use our laptops.  Turns out he is also from Toronto but is a born and raised Zanzibari.  Hours upon hours of conversation, I noticed we were frequently disturbed by the wait staff from Kendwa Rocks, to which I asked who he was?  He was not only the Supervisor of everyone on staff, but the brother of the owner of the hotel, for simplicity we will call him Alex.  Needless to say as it is a long story that I was working at the hotel in exchange for a roof over my head and food in my belly.  ITM at Ryerson sure paid off as I was helping the Supervisor with redeveloping processes for the employees.  I managed to get one of the youth I was working with in Stone Town a full-time job at Kendwa Rocks and develop a "boost morale" weekly sport day for the staff.  I wore different hats at the hotel and learned soooo much about how to run and manage a very dynamic and cultural hotel.  Let's just say - not for me.  But I will say, in the moment - I felt on top of the world.

I was taken care of and treated like a Princess. I was not to lift a finger. My laundry, meals and cleaning of my room was all taken care of. When I wasn't working, I was playing volleyball, swimming and eating my face off. I can't really describe the life I had other than that of a Queen. What ever I wanted, it would be done. I was not used to this treatment and felt oh so uncomfortable with other people doing things for me. So I asked Alex to tone it down and we managed to find a common ground. In the 3.5 weeks I stayed between the resort in what was called the White House and the house in Fukachani, I learned how a woman should be treated. I learned that I am worth the wining and dining and that it is ok for a man to want to do things for me. For too long I have done it all "on my own". Living in Kendwa taught me that I don't have to anymore, that it is ok to let go and have someone else look after me. And you know what? It felt really good! With this kind of treatment of being looked after and I mean from my health, to happiness, to ensure I was eating, I don't think I will be able to turn back from this. Who knew this kind of treatment existed? 

I even had a photographer snap shots of me without me looking during a fashion show and I wasn't even part of the show.  All this attention can really make one's head big, definitely not a life for me. As the end of the month was drawing near, I knew it was time to go. As much as the Queen throne was fitting for me, it just wasn't for me. Don't get me wrong, the treatment was awesome, but to live like this forever? Naaah. It wasn't for me. I need a balance. Some of you will think I am silly when I say this: doing nothing but playing and having everything catered to you becomes...unfulfilling and empty. Needless to say, I am looking forward to relocating to South Africa to see my family who will be travelling from Canada to visit with me. My time in Zanzibar is up...but not out. I definitely have a soft spot for Stone Town and Kendwa. Who knows what the future holds? One thing is for sure, I loved every experience and everyone at Kendwa Rocks and thank everyone for an incredible experience especially Alex. He made me into a Princess of Paradise.

The Truth About Beach Life
Life can only be as good as the food you shovel into your body. This can range from bruschettas, samosas, veggie burgers with oh so good french fries, pizzas, fresh fish straight from the ocean, tandori chicken kebob, carrot cake, almond blonde brownies, passion fruit and mango tarts with ice cream, and of course – melt in your mouth chewy chocolate chip cookies. Like all delicious and of course fattening foods, guess what happens to the waist size? Nothing says ocean beach side view like stuffing your face and increasing the bulge. The only thing that decreases is the belt holes, which offers more room for the fat to snuggle in against. How comforting!

Perhaps it is the Julia Roberts 3-stage approach to finding myself dubbed "Eat, Pray, Love"? I did find myself severely ill which allowed me to lose 30% water weight and a good two inches off the waistline – my guess from eating some type of food. I guess now I am making up the loss and then some by really going hard by inhaling just about every greasy, sugary thing I can find. Drinking? Who needs the extra calories from alcohol when I can use them up in more carrot cake with frosty icing with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream? Hell-looooo! Who needs the buzz when you can get the immediate bloat bulge? Ahh life on the beach!

There have been more pleasantries then just eating. I have found myself on one of the most gorgeous beaches I have set my eyes and feet on. My eyes have really taken a liking to the infinite number of breathtaking sunsets directly off the ocean. My feet are really enjoying the constant attention of white sand massaging itself beneath and seeping through each crevice of my toes with every step I take. And the ocean? Oh my! The water is pristine with different mosaics of blue and what beach isn't complete with the palm trees and umbrella huts made out of coconut and dried palm leaves. Ahhhhhh Paradise.

Paradise and Plowing in food is what I like to call the Happy Double – being happy in doubling your size. This allows one – ok me, to not feel guilty for gaining an extra – oh who cares about the number – it’s all about the feeling and I feel great! I definitely will be paying for it later, but for now I will just enjoy the moment and indulge. Besides, this is just the first step in my journey and if Julia Roberts can do it and look good, so can I!!

As I am preparing for a change of scenery and of course a change of pace, I will not forget all the beautiful and wonderful people I have met here. I have learned so much about the hotel industry, tourists and the overall management of running a 100+ staff business – can I say “not the life for me”.

With every experience I am grateful for learning new and different approaches to handling situations. I am extremely thankful for meeting high profile and very important people from around the world. My thirst for knowledge is bountiful and I am truly blessed to be on this journey. Gaining weight is all about the journey. There is happy fat. New relationship fat. Alcohol fat. And my personal favourite: Journey Fat. I guess it is true what they say “you will truly change after a year of travel”. The hidden message is really “Girl, you are going to be fat when you return!” I am ok with Journey Fat. Besides, I am still beautiful! A little bulge never hurt anyone!

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