Musings from Zanzibar
Personal Journal and Photographs, Day 9
We changed rooms today. Before breakfast, D. asked me to speak to Moussa to see if it weren’t too late to change our minds and accept the room with a direct view of the sea that we’d been promised for our last four days here. D. declined yesterday, as we liked our room and had become accustomed to its, shall we say, rustic charm. She woke this morning with second thoughts.
Just when I was jamming my toast and about to take a sip of coffee, Moussa arrived and said that room was no longer available. After breakfast, I returned to my seaside perch; later, when I got up to go to the bathroom, I saw Moussa again, who said they were going to be doing some construction on the bungalow next to ours and suggested room number 6.
I went to inspect it and noted with satisfaction that, while somewhat inland, there is that coveted seaside view. I don’t care much, since we don’t spend much time in the room aside from sleeping, though why not see things from another angle?
Just before noon, the maid arrived with the key to our old room and informed me that the new one was ready. I tossed everything into our suitcases and lugged them the 50 meters to our new abode, which is much larger, with two spare beds in addition to the master bed. There’s also a ceiling fan, some hanging lamps, an enclosed bathroom, and the front door is not crooked in the frame!
After unpacking, thinking of the George Carlin bit about finding a place for your stuff, I returned to my perch to pen this entry, which I’ll return to later today since at 1:30 we’ll be heading to Jozani forest. I wonder what we’ll see there?
5 hours later…
Monkeys! We saw Red Colobus monkeys, to be precise. They’re small and sociable creatures, athletic, and prone to showing off. Jozani forest is about a 30-minute drive from the lodge. We parked and registered and paid the entry fee: 20,000 shillings per person, or about $10. For me, it was worth every penny, not just because we were able to walk through a pristine tropical forest, see monkeys, miniature frogs, lizards, and a mangrove forest, but also to help contribute to the preservation of the park itself, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our guide, Issa, was incredibly knowledgeable, and told us the park consists of fifty square kilometers, of which we saw a minuscule percentage. Our companions were an Austrian couple. The guy carried around a big DSLR camera, making me feel slightly foolish tapping on the screen of a phone. I think most of my shots came out fine, though I’m far from being a professional photographer.
The only issue I had was with auto-focus trying to capture monkeys among the foliage. Video came out better and had more dynamic footage, as these guys were quite active, as previously mentioned. The guide also told us nine villages used to live within the forest but they were moved out when Jozani was transformed into an official park. Part of our entrance fee also goes to former villagers as compensation for leaving their homes.
After following the trail through the forest and visiting the monkeys, we hopped in our taxi van to the mangrove forest on the other side of the road. These trees grow above the mud and have a very bizarre, rooty, almost alien appearance. I’m afraid I missed much of Issa’s explanation since I walk slow and was lagging behind, as usual. The entire tour of the mangrove forest was on a wooden plank bridge, like in the mobile game, Temple Run.
Now, it’s late. My entry was postponed by the sunset, beer, and a chat with our bartender, who goes by the name Manjaro, about speaking French, life in Tanzania, etc. Now I’m getting eaten up by mosquitos but still dutifully writing under a faint orange light to bring this day to a close.
Thanks for sticking around! Just two more entries remaining after this one. For any previous days you may have missed, check out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8. Day 9 will be published on the 28th of November. Below you’ll find more pictures of monkeys and Jozani forest. Cheers.