Friday, December 29, 2006


Being on the island of Zanzibar, we couldn't pass up and opportunity to visit one of the fabulous beaches for a couple days. We heard the north was crowded and touristy so we headed for the east coast, to a village/beach called Paje.

Getting there was an interesting experience on its own as we opted to take a shared taxi out. Well, as it turns out, the drivers of the shared taxi are in with all the hotels as they wouldn't leave us alone. They wanted us to pick one of the hotels they showed us so they could collect a commission. Guess who forks out the extra $$s for that! Yeah, so when we told them we just wanted our bags and we would look around, the guy gave us some big story about how they are responsible for us and they need to register where we stay and bring it back to the police station, etc. etc. Nice try guy. As Paje was quite full, we got him to drive us to another village nearby called Jambiani. It was obvious the hotel there wasn't full but the owner sees us, starts speaking Swahili to the driver and then turns to us to tell us their full. Nice. So, we told the driver, we're going back to Paje. He took us back there and we just grabbed our bags and headed for one hotel which had a room free for a night. Those guys were really something. Of course, no names collected for the police station! I don't think they got a commission there either, good thing!

Anyways, once settled into Paje, we went out to check the beach out. Holy cow, they said the tide goes out far but I didn't think it would be this far!

We walked for quite a bit and didn't even reach the tide. It was a little nutty. The beach itself was quite beautiful though with white, powdery sand. Around 4pm in the afternoon, the tide came in, quite quickily too! The water was a beautiful turquoise colour. It was very nice.

Unfortunately, we were getting the remnants of a typhoon from India so it was a bit rainy at night and in the mornings. We did manage to get some nice time out on the beach though.

Food as another factor. There are a few restaurants with the guesthouses but we decided to try a small little shack by the beach for lunch one day. Noone else was there eating when we showed up but what the heck. We ask them for a menu, the guy spends 10 minutes writing up 5 choices on a notebook and gives it to us. Nice! :D We order and basically spend the next hour and a half to two hours waiting for lunch! It was about 20 minutes before we see this guy lug a bag of charcoal out to the grill. Hmmm... should have ordered a couple hours in advanced!

After a very long wait, we finally had our lunch. It was delicious, probably because we had to wait so long for it and I was starving by then! I think it was literal here when we said they had to go out to sea to catch our fish. :P

After a couple nights out east, we decided to return to Stone Town as the prices of hotels on the beaches were double what we paid in the town. We decided to forgoe any shared taxis this time and decided to catch the local form of transportation back to town. We weren't sure where to wait for the dalla dallas so we just sat where the locals were sitting.

After a while, a couple showed up but wow, did they ever jack up the price for us! The first two wanted 3000Sh each (about $3Cdn), we said forget it. Finally, the last dalla dalla which was packed!, took us in for 1900Sh total! I think we got a better deal than some locals. Not sure how but the going rate seemed to have been around 1000 to 1500Sh each. The ride back was so much fun! I love these forms of transportation. All the bags go on the top and we get squished in with the locals. It was funny because there are police checkpoints all over the island. As we approached one, the money collectors at the back who usually stood, told a kid to shove over and he sat on the bench. As he saw the cop approaching, he started shaking his head and smiling. The cop went to the front of the truck and he quickly ran out to talk to him. I'm not sure what the cops were looking for but they were definitely busted for something! :D


At 11:50 AM, Blogger zenani said...

The beach at Paje looks beautiful. Even sitting in the hot sun waiting for the bus seems so much more fun than sitting in my office here at work. I'm sooo jealous. Friends tell me that Tanzania is very nice and your pictures prove it. I guess you can't escape scammers. Make sure you keep your bags with you when you get in the taxis. Can't wait to see pics of Mt. Kilimanjaro (if you go there).


At 3:39 AM, Blogger Jenni said...

Paje was quite beautiful and the scenery in Tanzania is nice. Unfortunately, we won't be hitting Kili but did kind of see it from a distance. There was a huge cloud over it. :(


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