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first experiences with african efficiency...

..and reemeerging into a developed country.

sunny 21 °C

first things first...happy friday the 13th...

After meeting back up with kyle, we spent one last night in dar and got eaten alive by either bed bugs or mosquitos in our worst nights sleep of the trip, and took a very early morning ferry over to zanzibar. We spent the next 4 days there in absolute paradise. It was the most beautiful beach either one of us had ever set our eyes on..in person or in a picture. It was crystal clear water, turning turquoise into a deep blue with white sand, palm tree lined beaches..lots of sun...too much..a pool with a swim up bar, hammocks, beach chairs under bungalow huts, cheap beer and seafood. We splurged on an air conditioned room in a resort and had a great time with our friends sybrand and tim, from SA and some brits we met along the way, B and sarah..enjoying sundowners...teaching the bartender how to make a margarita...jumping off coral into the high tide coastline...and a sunset sail along the coast..swimming in the indian ocean as the sun goes down. We spent easter morning on a tanzanian style "deep sea fishing trip", which as you may be able to infer, was about as far from deep sea fishing as it can be..but we still had a great time looking at the sea life on the premature cruise back to shore after 2 of 4 of us were seasick...and the rest of us just bored. We caught a few kilos of seaweed.

We headed into the port city later that afternoon and were planned to leave monday morning to dar where we were catching our flight into joburg--the overland crossing through mozambique into SA would have cost us about 6 or 7 days, so we opted to fly. We went to buy our tickets sunday evening for the ferry the next morning(because when you care, you plan) and the offices were closed and we were repeatedly told the boats were sold out anyways. We had a great night watching the sunset, eating from the street vendors, shopping and listening to some dj's in an amphitheatre before hitting the sack. We woke up and got to the port at 530 am..the ferry was to leave at 7...and took our spots on the steps of the ferry company. The first person we saw that morning informed us the boat was full, we looked at our friend and told him that we understood that, but that we were confident we could still get a ticket. After some talking, kyle was finally convinced that he wasnt some street bum, but the manager of the boat company. He took kyle in the office and told him, "my friend, i can get in very big trouble if i sell you this ticket." He sold us the tickets anyways, and when we got them, they were blank tickets with no name or anything on them..we still had to get through customs and onto the boat with essentially a fake ticket. So, our friend said to tell immigration that they sold us the ticket this morning and didnt have time to write our names on it, and then that he would tell his staff to let us on the boat and not to worry about us once aboard. The african form of beaurocracy is such that there are people who check your tickets a couple of times throughout the course of the 90 minute boat ride, instead of just taking tickets upon boarding. So, this plan seemed a bit shady. We waited in line at immigration for them to open and after 20 minutes, realized we could just walk right through..so we did. We went to the boat and basically, over the course of the next 45 minutes, our friend would appear to take our ticket each time we were meant to present it. It was working!! Once on the boat, we presented our ticket for the 4th time and when kyle insisted we needed them back(our friend told us he needed them back..i think he "sold" us someone else's ticket for the 10am ferry)...and the guy gave kyle a knowing look and said, "its ok, no problem" We took our seats and, as planned, the fifth ticket check came by, and when we told him we had them taken, he said, ahhhhh ok..and about 10 minutes later he came back with different tickets..still blank, and missing the immigration stamp, and with the top 2 carbon copies torn out...who knows, but somehow, it worked..there was actually efficiency. We were shocked..and after a baby crying and the lady behind me throwing up, we finally got off and headed to the airport...where we had tickets waiting. So, we got out of zanzibar without a departure stamp in the passport, and without actual tickets.

Kyle went to pick up our flight tickets and pay and was greeted in the south african air office with this: "my friend, the internet system is...fragile." Our tickets, had been in the system until only 930 that morning, it was now 11. So after rebooking them..on the same websight we had done the previuos day..kyle pulled out almost 1million shillings, paid the guy and we were set to go with 2 tickets to paradise! We went to the restaurant to grab bfast and our friends sarah and B from england, came walking around the corner...we all sat and shared our expereinces of getting from the village we were all in on zanzibar to the dar airport...as they had had a similar time making things happen. We boarded our plane and landed safely in joburg about 3.5 hours later. Now, since our camera had been stolen, we were planning on buying a new one in duty free at the joburg airport..and upon arrival realized duty free is only when leaving a city, not when arriving. SO, as we had always done, i went up to someone who worked there and asked them if there was anyway we could get on the other side to the duty free shops...where he looked at me, much in the same way someone would in JFK airport. We were now in a developed country, where rules applied. After talking with a few people who tried very hard for us, we realized it wasnt going to happen. So we headed to the car rental place, where we had also booked a car online the previous day, and since we were in a developed country and rules applied, the upside was that things happened as they were meant to. We walked into the Dollar rental car, and they understood us, had our stuff waiting, and even upgraded us for free and we were driving to Sybrands house within 10 minutes...after checking that we had the maximum amount of insurance possible on the car...Waldo, at the counter was looking at us like we were crazy. We spent the night at sybrands, did laundry, got some great food and he was the most amazing tour guide through the mall on tuesday as we got some music and a camera for the trip.

We have had an amazing time roadtripping. We drove pretty late getting al the way to the coast, and spent our first night in a port city of Durban. The following morning, we headed to coffee bay, where we were meant to stop the second night. Once we turned off the motorway, and had spent an hour driving down a dirt road in the dark, following the directions of our GPS device, my fear got the best of us, as well as the turn onto a 4x4 only road, and we turned around, driving the hour back out and headed to East London We pulled in around midnight, went to sleep, got up, put on the same clothes at 630am and kept driving. Yesterday was the best day yet. We drove through the Garden Route, a famously beautiful coastline drive, stopping in little towns to look at views and to shop..i got some super cute shoes and a skirt, kyle picked up a cool hat and a new beach costume..and around 5 or so, we pulled into Wilderness. Its a town in the mountains along the coast as, a charming little stop. The hostel we are staying at is the best one yet on the trip! Its only 10 bucks each a night. Its like a camp somewhere in new england, but done with thought and class. It has the feel of being in nature, with restoration hardware decor. Its so wonderful!! The lady who owns it is great as well..she took it upon herself to reprimand the kluerfing(mucking about in ravines) company when they were booked for the day..apparently she knew we were westaways. Wilderness been a highlight of the trip for sure!

This afternoon we will ride ostriches, and tomorrow we will spend a few hours in the morning riding through tree tops on a ropes course of sorts through a forest..should be fun! Then early afternoon well start the drive to the long awaited, CAPE TOWN! We cant wait!

Posted by LargeTuna 11:43 Archived in South Africa

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