After a perfect night in beautiful Nungwi we debated on foregoing our next destination, Paje, and staying another night. We had already booked our accommodation in Paje and couldn’t cancel without penalty or else we would have stayed. I was sad to leave. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a person who is always keeps myself busy doing something. I don’t do relaxing well. This village put even me, the woman who is constantly going going going, into a state of rest in body and mind. THAT is saying something. It was one of the most relaxing places I have ever been.
Friday morning we walked out to the beach to go for a swim and noticed it was low tide; and I mean LOW tide. We walked out on sand for almost an mile in ankle/midcalf water. It was crazy to see the tide so low after we had just seen the ocean all the way up to the sea wall the afternoon before.
We saw school age and very young children walking around in the pools of water carrying small buckets. About 96% of the people on the island are Muslim. The girls were all dressed in Hijab’s, the boys in shorts or pants, most of them with gaping holes, revealing bare little bums. No underwear on most of the children. 🙁 We tried a few times to communicate with them, but didn’t get too far. The main language spoken on the island is Swahili. A few of the children spoke some English, but not enough for us to really understand each other. We used actions, like charades, to try to communicate. The kids just laughed at us. After observing, we learned that they were catching small crabs. Rob found a crab and showed a young girl. She saw it and quickly caught it by putting her hand in the hem of her dress and scooping up the crab before it buried itself in the sand. That was a really cool experience.
We cleaned up and checked out minutes after noon. We walked through the village, taking the “short cut” (umm hmmm, short cut) from the hotel to the center of town. Most people in the village were very kind and greeted us by saying, “jambo”, which means hello in Swahili, as we walked by. We were looking for a ride to Stone Town. Many people offered to drive us by Taxi, but we didn’t want to pay that fare again. We found a van, which they call a dala dala, full of people in the hub of the village that was heading to Stone Town. We paid the driver 5,000 shillings between the two of us.
We boarded the bus. There were three buckets of who knows what sitting in the aisle between the seats. The buckets were covered in flies. The seats were covered in flies. Flies were EVERYWHERE! We were the only white people on the bus. It didn’t bother us any, just an observation. I guess most foreigners who visit Nungwi are more luxury travelers. We can’t afford to be luxury travelers at this point, but we have an insatiable desire to travel so we just find inexpensive ways to get us from point a to point b. We don’t mind. It gives us a much greater real life perspective and cultural appreciation when we travel as the locals do.
We sat in the back row on a bench seat. We each had a backpack, so in order to leave space for other people to sit on the bench, Rob held his big backpack between his legs and mine on his lap. The dala dala made stops all along our way to Stone Town, picking up and dropping off passengers, as they needed. The first few stops when people would get on the bus, they would look at us and our half-empty bench and remain standing, even if there were no other available seats on the bus. Nobody would sit by us. We felt a little like outcasts, like we either didn’t belong or we weren’t wanted there. I tried not to take it to heart. It seems that we as people are always a little afraid of what is different or what we don’t understand. The bus filled up and eventually people began sitting by us. I could tell that a few people were very uncomfortable doing so and would move seats as soon as another seat became available. Others didn’t seem to mind at all.
Traveling via dala dala to Stone Town took us about 2 hours. Not bad, especially for over 60 km at only $2.24 a person! We got off and found some lunch and a bathroom. The bathroom was pretty nice – no toilet paper, but that’s pretty standard. Always bring your own! The toilet seat was covered with some form of liquid that I didn’t care to investigate so I hovered. My booty didn’t come close to touching that toilet seat! This is the real secret to why I am so good at air squats. 😉
After lunch we set out to find another dala dala to get us to Paje. While we were walking around a big rainstorm hit and we got soaked! We had at least 5 people try to sell us umbrellas as we walked in the downpour. We didn’t end up buying one. We would have had nowhere to stash it and didn’t really mind the warm rain. We ran into a little yard full of taxis and mini-buses. We quickly found a dala dala to Paje for the same inexpensive price. We were on our way!
We made the mistake of sitting in the back row again. I was squished up against the window like a sardine most of the two hour ride! My legs and bum went numb pretty quick. Poor Rob wasn’t too comfortable either, but he somehow managed to fall asleep for part of the ride. That man can sleep anywhere! A woman with an adorable little baby girl, maybe a year old, sat next to Rob. She wore a green headdress and had the most beautiful big brown eyes. She was beautiful. I could tell she liked Rob by the way she was interacting with him. This is the kind of stuff you never forget and you don’t get if you don’t travel like a local.