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Posted by on July 13, 2011

Bryan was heading to Uganda on Sunday, but his flight wasn’t until noon which was unfortunate for us because that meant it would be too late to go to the beach after he went to the airport. In the morning we had breakfast with him then organized the living and dining rooms while he packed. Over the past four days the house had become a bit of a disaster with all of the work stuff migrating home and whatnot.

The hours flew by and soon enough Bryan was picked up by the taxi and then we were four.

And as soon as Bryan left, a switch went off in Jaclyn’s head and she became so strange again. I just don’t understand her. She was hiding in her room when Tanya and I decided to go to the beach for a swim so we went without her. We swam for a bit then laid on the beach chairs to dry off in the sun when we see Jaclyn come down. She doesn’t say a word to us or acknowledge our presence but puts her stuff down at the table farthest from us and goes swimming. There is no possible way she could of missed us because she would have seen our bikes at reception and there were only three other people at the beach; she pointedly ignored us.

After she was done swimming, she sat at the table by herself and stared at the ocean, having not brought a book or anything to do. When we were getting ready to go, I went over to talk to say hi and to make sure she knew about the details for our afternoon and that she was invited to go to the sandbank with us. She said she was “fine at the beach and just wanted to stay there.” Okay, that’s cool. We went home, gathered our things and got Hai then waited for the dalla dalla that would take us to town. Before the bus even arrived, not 20 minutes after my conversation with her, we see Jaclyn ride home and go inside the gate. It seemed like she hung out at the beach just long enough to miss us at home on purpose. She could have just said she didn’t want to go, but to do something like that is just tacky and rude.
Anyway, we went to town and met up with this British woman named Lorraine who moved to Zanzibar a few months ago with her partner who is a pilot for one of the local airlines. We met her at the book club last month and we see her around the area often because she lives in the neighborhood. She and a friend had planned the trip to the sandbank and invited us along. Hiring a boat is a fixed price no matter how many people you have so it was in their cost-saving interest to bring others. And who wouldn’t want to hang out with us for the afternoon, right?

We literally walked down to the beach area in town where the boats are beached and talked to a few different guys getting quotes about renting a boat. It’s high tourist season now and all of the prices have increased because of the influx of people to the island. A few of the boat operators were trying to charge double what Tanya paid last year so it took a while to find someone that was willing to bargain. We overpaid a bit, but the total was only $4 per person, so it wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things.

The boat took us, Lorraine, and her friend Enrique out from Stone Town to this sandbank, which is exactly what it sounds like: a spit of land with no vegetation on it that gets covered by the ocean during high tide. Obviously we planned it so we were there during low tide when some sand is exposed. There were two other groups there when we arrived but they departed shortly afterward and we had the place to ourselves. The sandbank is not very big; you can easily see from one end to the other and can walk the long distance in about 7 minutes. The short way across is about 15 feet and at the highest point you are about 3 feet above sea level. It was really windy out there which made it feel quite chilly but it was very peaceful because of the solitude.

The water felt cold because of the cooler air temp but we braved it anyway. Between the five of us, we had three snorkels so we took turns swimming out over the coral to see the fish. There weren’t a ton, but the water was very clear and calm so you could see really well. I saw one of the fish that lives on the bottom of the ocean and blends in with the sand! Both of its eyes are on one side of its body and it resembles the sea floor so much that I only saw it when it moved. I saw some other small fish peeking out of the coral and was reminded of the movie “Finding Nemo”. It was really cool. Sadly, no pictures because no one had an underwater camera.

After a while we all got out of the water to warm up a bit and we had a snack and walked around the sandbank looking at the crabs and sea shells. We watched the sun set and got some great photos of that then headed back to town. It was a great afternoon.

We left Lorraine and Enrique at the Serena Hotel and the three of us met up with Paulo at a restaurant called Beit el Chai which we had never been to but wanted to try. We had just ordered drinks when our friend Ranil (the guy who dominated our team during the first quiz night) came in alone. He was going to have dinner by himself but then joined us when we invited him. Then Paulo was in touch with Kristina and Deler who joined us as well and soon we were a party of seven.

Ranil was super stressed because he is leaving Zanzibar on Wednesday, after having lived here for two years and he’s trying to finish work, sell his car, pack, and move out of his apartment. We had lively dinner conversation about everything that’s been going on and I had amazing pan fried red snapper with mango salsa and breadfruit gnocchi for dinner. We wanted to celebrate so we ordered dessert and I had the passion fruit cheesecake which was unbelievably good. I might have to go back for dessert before I leave on Thursday.

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