Posted by: keepfishing | April 19, 2008

Fortune Favours the Brave

So about 5 minutes after the last post was written, I took the plunge and dared to talk to the other people in the room. American’s may wonder at my trepidation, but I’m British, and interrupting people is just ‘not done’.

Anyhow, fastforward  6 hours and the following has occured:

  • I have a Zanzibar phone
  • I know at least 3 good places to eat
  • I have learned 6 swahelli words
  • I have a potential place to live
  • I am having dinner with 7 female Canadian students (apparently it’s not appropriate to refer to my situation here as ‘pimpin’ it up with the Canucks’.)

So I kinda landed on my feet. One of the guys in the cafe was John, a Swedish-Japanese researcher, also at the IMS, who was able to take me for lunch and show me all the ways I’d got lost. The Canadian girl, Cortleigh, was part of a study project for 3 months that they’ve been doing in East Africa and finished here; a load of them have stayed on to dive, work and volunteer.

Fast forward another 24 hours and I’ve had some more interesting times. Cortleigh introduced me to their landlord, Baboo, who arrived at my hotel on his Vespa to show me some rooms to rent. If any of you know what Stone Town’s streets look like (I’ll get pictures up eventually), you’ll understand that hurtling through them on a scooter at 20mph does not feel the safest activity in the world. Especially when he repeatedly made frantic u-turns to avoid the police who would stop him for not wearing a helmet.

To some extent here you have to be quick to learn who you can trust and who you can’t. And it’s good once you find a local you can. Baboo appears to be one of these. And the icecream in his flat was most excellent (especially since I haven’t found a roadside vendor selling it yet. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough).

Later on, I found myself at a bar with him and had the bizarre experience of him earnestly asking me for tips on how to pick up women. This guy is one of the most confident, well-trained and well-off  guys here, but apparently women really scare him and his ‘mouth becomes pregnant’. I’m not sure of my qualifications, but I imagine most the ohter punters in the bar ahd a luagh at me telling him to ‘talk less about yourself, be interested in them’.

The night ended in what can only be described as an odder expereince than a night out in Whitley Bay. And that’s saying something. I made another African friend, and he insisted that we go to a cheap local bar, away from the posh westerners, to get some ‘real culture’. Cue a long walk to the other side of the town, right into the heart of the local bit and a bar/club called the ‘Rock Cafe’. Probably the most apt analagy is that my experience was exactly how I imagine I’d feel at an Afro-American frat party. I was the only non-african guy there. Once I’d managed to shake the 16 year old (she may have been older, but its hard to tell) girl from hanging on to me (probably a prostitute, but again, hard to tell), I managed to enjoy myself playing pool, despite losing embarrasingly, but my excuse is that it was gone 3am and I was probably the only one not on stimulants (apart from my narcolepsty pills of course!)

Full moon party tonight…maybe eventually I’ll get some work done…



  1. Is there going to be an African spin off from “Hitch” after your bar experience?

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: