Saturday, March 8, 2008

WC: I'm Coming Home Soon!


Everyone on the trip agrees that Zanzibar is an anticlimax after the Serengeti--though we did see a dolphin on our sunset cruise on an Arab dhow last night.

As I write this, most of the rest of the group are snorkeling. I didn't go. After all the prep and anxiety I expended planning for this part of the adventure, I just ran out of the psychic-physical energy to deal with it. But I have no regrets. I spent part of the morning reading over my screenplay on a balcony overlooking the Indian Ocean--not at all shabby. And in half an hour I'm going shopping with two other people in my group who decided not to snorkel. It will be strange venturing out into Zanzibar on foot, which I have not done yet. I suspect that to many people here we look like walking dollar signs, and while I do not blame them in the least, if it's anything like it was when we went on the spice tour, with needy people following us everywhere, it will not be pleasant.

We're all shocked at just how sad it is here--outside of our luxury digs, of course. We all understood that Zanzibar is part of Africa, but we also thought that parts of it wouldn't be quite so crowded and dirty and poor, poor, poor. And all those poor females in their head scarves--I'm surprised they don't all faint from the heat and humidity.

Our hostess on the dhow last night was a stunning young Italian woman who is here studying Swahilli. She is completely comfortable here--loves it, in fact--and has all sorts of plans for her future here. She was wearing a sleeveless top, which is a big deal in this Muslim city where bare shoulders are completely verboten. I can't imagine that she gets five feet without being either hit on or chastized, but that just isn't an issue for her. She's sure braver than I am, moving to Africa by herself!

I'm very much looking forward to coming home. This has been a glorious, wonderful, fantastic, unbelievable adventure, and I will miss all the animals of Tanzania, but I'm ready and eager to deal with the animals of New York instead. It's a bittersweet sort of thing--the Tanzania part of this trip was like living in another world, a bumpy, dusty miracle of another world. I'm sad to think that I'll probably never see it again, unless I win the lottery. (Should I ever save a chunk of money this big again, I'd probably opt to use it in some other way. Even if I chose to use it on travel, it would probably be to some other place.)

For many of the people I'm traveling with, this is far from a once-in-a-lifetime trip. They compare their adventures in Nambia and South Africa and the Caribbean and Brazil and Belize. A few are, I think, flat-out wealthy, a very pleasant thing to be.

In Zanzibar, however, I am one of the richest people around, so everything is relative.

There are geckos in my hotel--they're very cute.

And, by the way, I have had exactly three insect bites. African insects don't like me any better than American ones, which is very lucky for me. Andrea has gotten bitten quite a lot, and our tour leader Dave stepped on a fire ant hill, so he has really been bitten. He said that the ants were appropriately named.

Damn, I miss the cheetahs!

I hope all is well with you all. Wendy

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