Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On the way to Tanzania

We are now in Zanzibar! It has been an adventure filled 2 days since leaving KL.

Our flight to Dubai was alright, the Emirates airplane we were on was really nice! They even had cameras on the nose and bottom of the planes so we could see what the views are like! Both good and bad though, it's quite nervewrecking to watch the take off and landing, even more so with our flight from Dubai to Dar Es Salaam. More on that later!

We arrived in Dubai around 4:30am and had about 3 or 4 hours to kill since our connecting flight was at 10am. We had read that we can get visas to go out even if we were in transit so off we went! We checked with some others at the airport and they confirmed it was fine. As we went through customs, the guy all of a sudden said, nope you can't do it. We were like, what? We were told we could! He said, nope! Impossible! Hmmm.. feeling a little down now. Then, he starts laughing and says, sure you can! He's like why didn't you ask why? I told him he was so serious! So, he kept laughing at us as he stamped our passports. Once out, we asked the tourist info booth how we get to the palm tree island and the 7 star sail hotel, the Burj. He told us we didn't have enough time, everyone was sleeping, and the palm tree islands were closed (and still under construction). Sheesh. He then told us we can take a bus into the city centre close by to look around. So, we did! We hoped onto a public bus at 5am and headed to the centre. We got there and thought, hmmm.. maybe we shouldn't have done this. First of all, it was still dark and secondly, nothing was open! We got out anyways and waked around a bit but it seemed a bit seedy at that time of day. We then decided to catch a cab to the Burj. About half an hour later, there we were! Right in front of it, unbelievable! I never thought I would ever visit Dubai because it always came across as so extremely expensive! We took some photos from the outside (not allowed in unless you're a guest or you have a reservation with the resto). Then the guards told us which bus to take back to another bus station. We managed to find it and caught another public bus back to the airport in time for our connecting flight! That was a lot of fun and quite the unexpected adventure. Now we can check Dubai off the list!

Our second flight from Dubai to Dar was fine until we tried to land. We were both watching the view from the nose and I was a little surprised at the angle we were going into the runway. All of a sudden, the pilots aborted the landing and took off again! I was like, what's going on!? Ian said they aborted it. Hmm.. that is never a good thing. As we take off again, it felt like the plane stalled and I thought we were going down. Thank goodness that wasn't it. The pilot came on and told us all that they had to abort the landing because the flight tower had given incorrect landing information and they have to try again. Oh, that's great. At this point, I turned off my video view, not good to watch it again at this point. I kept my head down the entire time until we safely landed the second time. Was I ever glad to get off that plane!

Arrival in Dar was fairly uneventful. Our visa application took a while longer than expected but quite easy other than that. First impressions of Africa is that it's somewhat similar to India but smells a little more pleasant. :) It was a bit more unsettling though because many people seem to be just hanging around and looking quite restless so we weren't sure what to expect. All that worry was quite unnecessary though as many people we've met have turned out to be very, very friendly. We met a restaurant owner at dinner whose name is Ali Baba and sat down to have a chat with us about Zanzibar and stuff. He was originally from there and a complete hoot.

This morning, we caught the second ferry into Zanzibar. On arrival, as expected, we were greeted by touts who tried to bring us everywhere. We couldn't shake this one guy off at all and by the end we had 3 guys following us around. Zanzibar is a very, very confusing place. It's a complete maze which is amazing but difficult when you're lugging your backpack around in the middle of a hot day. We told one of the guys which hotel we were looking for and he took us to this locked up building and told us this was it. It had some trouble with the cops and shut down. UH HUH. Come on, this is an old trick. So off we went again by ourselves and this other guy said he can show us where Flamingo (the one we were looking for is). He actually did! Even though he was actually selling another hotel to us. Gotta give him some credit for being honest. Anyways, we're now checked in and roaming around the city. We've gotten quite lost and found this internet cafe on the way back (we hope) to our hotel.

Zanzibar is magical. I really enjoy it so far and am looking forward to discovering more. We'll post photos later (if we can find faster connection). :P


Post a Comment

<< Home