Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Eve

More learning about how Africa works:

We booked a couple of 12 seat minibuses (that we have routinely seen stuffed with as many as 20 people) to take us back over the little ferry and drop us at the terminal for the fast ferry to Zanzibar. But when it became clear that they weren't interested in negotiating their fee down to a reasonable level, we moved to Plan B. We unpacked our stuff, started the truck and all clambered aboard.

Japhet and Joseph took us all down to the ferry terminal with the idea that one of them would accompany us as foot passengers to the main ferry terminal - a slightly daunting prospect, as the ferry gets very crowded. When we got to the ferry, however, the rules had obviously changed (again) and for less than half the cost of yesterday (when they wouldn't let us on) we were floating toward the town centre!

After a second tearful farewell to our trusty Scania and two drivers, we got in the queue for the Zanzibar ferry. Three-quarters of an hour later, we were all sat, in stifling heat, in the lower deck of the ferry, waiting for our "fastest boat" crossing of one-and-a-half hours. We disembarked after nearly three hours on the boat! We had been diddled into paying top dollar for the slow boat!

The journey from the port took another hour-and-a-half so, by the time we clapped eyes on the beautiful sight of the Indian Ocean, we were desperate for a beer. Fortunately, this was easily solved. We went straight to the bar and got stuck in.

The party revved up gradually around us and we all enjoyed the seafood buffet and beer and wine and cocktails, with the kids downing fizzy drinks like drains. Unfortunately, it all turned out to be too much for most of us, with only Sam, David and Georgia seeing-in the New Year and partying until the early hours.

It's been a tiring fortnight on the truck and we're all looking forward to a late breakfast in the morning.

By Rob.

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