Posted by: keepfishing | April 17, 2008

The Long Rains

“Damn the long rains”, declared a gap year student at breakfast as, yet again, drizzle obscured our view of the city from the roof top terrace. It appears that this may be a common theme, as this morning the weather has alternated between drizzle, heavy shower and occasional humid dry patches. Nothing keeps clean, as your flip flops constantly kick up the mud paste that is smeared on the paths.

Stone Town is an interesting place. Usually I pride myself on a general sense of direction. Even if paths are twisty and go back on themselves, I have a general idea of the direction we want to go in. No longer. What eventually turned out to be about a 3 minute walk turned into 45, as I managed to get increasingly lost, and passed the same hairdresser 3 times.

Eventually, I arrived at my destination, the Institute of Marine Science, but not before several people had offered to be my tour guide and asked me to buy pills for their dying daughters. Surprisingly, for a place with a reputation of not getting much done, the Institute was a secured like a Garrison compared to other places in town. People were buzzing about everywhere and I didn’t get past the front gate without having to talk to some severe woman on a phone.

She was pretty much the first non-helpful African I’ve met. Told me she didn’t know who I was and that none of the forms I’d been promised that had been filled in for me had been done. So I now have to come back tomorrow. And I’m not really sure what to do for the rest of the day. It’s still raining, and being the long rains, not exactly tourist season and loads of things are closed. Half of my hotel appears to be being rebuilt at the moment and I’ve seen a total of about 10 tourists all day. So I’m left with the hawkers and the other 5  intrepid backpackers.

Maybe I’ll go and read all those papers I’ve brought so when they finally let me in, I can pass myself off as the coral disease expert I’m pretending to be!

Cultural note: Using a water hose instead of toilet paper is a fascinating experience. I imagine women would find it a little less painful if your aim is bad.



  1. Well, that last sentence ruined it for me. I cannot imagine… and I hope the days get better. I’m sure they will, actually.

  2. glad to hear they did get better.

  3. They have those hoses in Brazil. Perfect for someone as obsessed with cleanliness as I am.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: