I'm writing from the terrace of the Serena Hotel in Zanzibar, looking at the fishing Dhows navigating the chop on the Indian Ocean. It's a little windy this morning. I left Addis on Friday morning, and arrived in Dar Es Salaam after a 5-hour flight that left and arrived spot on time. I planned to stay overnight with a friend who's got a consulting gig in Dar (Bob R for those of you who know him), then proceed together to Zanzibar (ZNZ) the next day on the ferry. The first thing out of the airport I wanted to buy a cell phone SIM card to have a local number. Talk about culture differences: I had a choice of several cell phone carriers, all boasting of faster and cheaper service. I picked CelTel, and they installed the $3 SIM card for me, gave me some free minutes, and thanked me profusely. I fired up the phone and texted my colleague and set up my voice mail. (What a contrast from ETC where one searches for weeks to find an expensive SIM, fights form-filling nonsense to be allowed to buy one, hopes the service works once in a while, and dreams of services like text messages and voice mail that other African countries have had for five years.)
The morning ferry from DAR to ZNZ on Saturday was full of not-yet-pink college-vacation tourists slathered with sunblock and by the looks of things nursing Saturday-morning hangovers. The two hours passed quickly and we disembarked into the chaos of the Stonetown ferry dock, porters carrying our suitcases on their heads, above the throng. Two hours later we were on Managpwani beach, a pristine white stretch of sand in front of the azure blue sea.