Sleeping under a sea of stars in Zanzibar

December 19, 2013 in Africa, Tanzania

We boarded the ferry to Zanzibar just in time before it was about to sail.
Well.. This being Africa we didn’t move until some 30 minutes later but that didn’t really matter as we wouldn’t reach the island of Zanzibar until the early morning.
At least that is what I thought.

The ferry was larger and more modern than I had expected as per statistics one ferry sinks per year.
However there are two or even more companies who traffic the route.
Me and Jake took our seats on the outdoor deck.
We saw a group of 3 girls sitting in a corner not really dressed according to the islamic rules that one should follow when visiting Zanzibar to not offend its people.
One of the few things I find essential when visiting foreign countries, to behave and respect their rules.
Just as people respect the dress codes for visiting catholic churches for example.
They were surrounded by black guys who were talking to them.
Something that is not uncommon in this part of the world.

Tanzania ferry to zanzibar

Jake ran off somewhere after a while and I stayed in my seat.
Funny enough it didn’t take many minutes before a black man in his early twenties sat down next to me. I had my nose in the latest issue of TIME magazine and ignored him somewhat as I was tired.
In the corner of my eye I could see him looking at me.
After a few seconds he introduced himself and asked me for my name.
I looked up from the magazine, replied and went back to my reading about the slums of Nairobi.
The next question that came was, -Where are you from?
-Sweden, I replied with my nose still in the magazine.
He smiled, -Oh, it’s a nice country, he replied. (That is the standard answer no matter what country you come from, it’s just a part of the game.)
The man continued, -And Oslo is the capital, right?
-No, was my automatic reply
The man looked surprised and fell into silence.
After some seconds he left the chair and walked away.

After a little while I felt that I needed to put something in my stomach and as Jake had returned I decided to go explore the ferry and see what food options there were. It turned out that it wasn´t so much on offer. You could either buy some unidentified meat that was cooked, sausage or fries. There was also the option of buying chips and cookies. In the end it became a few portions of fries to try to feed myself with.

The journey over to Zanzibar went pretty quick actually, about 4 hours, and we reached the port already in the evening but got to know that the night would be spent on the ferry as the port was closed. The group with the 3 girls came over and asked if we had a place to stay in Zanzibar for the night and if I could advise them of something. They seemed surprised when I informed them that the night would be spent on the boat and not on land.

As it was time to go to bed as nothing more really happened, Jake went downstairs to the air-conditioned seating area while I decided to bed down myself between two seat rows and sleep on deck. It was a clear night and the stars were shining bright.

I woke up a few hours later having had a good sleep for a couple of hours on the hard metal floor. Jake had befriended the cook onboard the ferry who offered a cup of Zanzibarian spiced tea which turned out to be a good start of the day. The ferry was slowly moving towards the port of Zanzibar and we walked of together with the rest of the crowd.

We had reached the legendary island of Zanzibar

Tanzania town zanzibar