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Notes from my life in Tanzania

The places we visit become a part of our lives, become us…but each one is also a different life on its own…Tanzania was a life…I was a different person, with different thoughts, different emotions. On that day by Mnemba island, running and jumping on the white sand and looking over the endless blue, endless Turquoise, watching the birds, I was feeling free. My body did not belong to me, my heart was between the Turquoise and the excitement…Every second is a day, a month, maybe a year…If love had a definition in Zanzibar, it would be the beach, the sand, the heat, the salt, the waves, the tides, the bright stars in a dark dark sky, the taste of tequila, the music coming from a beach party on a new year’s eve, when I am the sand, the sand is me.

Waking up one morning at dusk to the sound of the prayers in Arusha, I was a different person. I had no memory of a previous life, how I got there. As if my life just started there and ended there, as if it had no continuity…I was a dot in the space, in the history…If love had a definition in Arusha, it would be the sound of the prayer, it would be the sleepy tenderness, the white mosquito net around the bed, the weirdness of my existence there, the lightness of my soul.

Being back to real life now, I wonder where did that life go? Was that ever my life? Was that ever me? Have I ever been to that beach or in that shabby hotel room? Or is it all merely a flashback or a blurry memory of a dream? Life has no continuity but a collection of broken existences, flashbacks at most….We live it as is, we leave it as is….

January 2016
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Spend couple days exploring Nungwi beach and Kendwa beach in Zanzibar. If you happen to be there for new year’s, go to Kendwa Rocks for the beach party

Snorkel around Mnemba island…don’t fall for the local scam and go for snorkel around kendwa reef which is 5-10 min off the shore, as there is nothing to see. Don’t get close to the island as the rich American owners of the island will threaten to call the police

Go for cocktails at the rooftop of Z Hotel on nungwi beach at sunset..don’t be late as sunset moments last about 5 min at Zanzibar, being close to the equator…you may even miss it while you are trying to get your drink

Go for a catamaran sailing trip at sunset (not the shred boat trips!)

For safari, enough if you only go to Serengeti and Ngorongoro crate. Often 3 night, 4 day packages include manyara lake, skip that. For the “endless field” (Serengeti means that in Swahili) landscape still go to Serengeti but to see the animals Ngorongoro is enough. You will see all animals you need to see in Ngorongoro. No need for multiple day safari, just 2 days is enough to see it all and get the flavor, unless you are an animal specialist. Morenthen that becomes repeat and expensive and somewhat more of the same and boring.

Visit a masai village, see the school there. Both hardbreaking and joyful experience at the same time to interact with the masai kids.

Spend a night at Arusha just to rest before you head to the Namanga border crossing or continue onto Moshi. But don’t spend more than a day as there is nothing to do there. And all tours are arranged online, no visible travel agent shops. It is a normal busy commercial city for the locals. Not a backpackers town like Cusco, Peru.

For the Africa border crossing experience, take the shuttle to Namanga border and cross the border walking. Try to pay the local rate on the shuttle as thy charge the tourists a lot more. Remember, everything is negotiable in Africa.

December 2015 / January 2016
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