We made our last trek up the mountain of stairs for breakfast today. We leave at 5am tomorrow morning for Mombasa, Kenya. Zanzibar was nice, but we overstayed. Seven nights is too long. As romantic as the name sounds, there is not a lot to do and those who come expecting beautiful beaches are gravely disappointed. Add in the electric and banking issues and it can make it extremely challenging.
Honestly, over two weeks into this trip, we planned it the way we usually plan trips, but we goofed this time around. Normally, what we do is pick the time we want to be away and then fill in what we want to do, where we want to stay, and what we want to see within that range. Up to this trip, this method has worked well for us. As I said, in retrospect, 7 days on Zanzibar is too long. Four days would have been plenty. We could have done the turtle tour to spend another day doing something, but we had the feeling there were would be as many turtles as there were dolphins, making it a waste of money.
The beaches in Stonetown are not swimming beaches, they are for the fishing boats and tourist dhows, though there is not much of a beach anyway. The better beaches are a taxi ride away. We are not beach people anyway, but those we know who have come for the beaches swore they made a mistake. The sights on the island are limited. Today, we did go to the old palace of the Sultan. It was interesting, but in dire need of repair in every inch of the place.
We saw the fort last night when we went to dinner, we did the spice, dolphin, and monkey tour. We toured every touristy souvenir shop innumerable times and they all have basically the same merchandise.
We have seen more of the hotel room here than we ever have on any vacation. Part of this is that the heat and humidity wipes us out, but there really is not much to persuade us to stay out for. Been there, done that. We could have cut it short, but live and learn. According to the owner of the 236 Hurumzi Hotel, Stonetown is the largest city on the island and there is not much else on the rest of the island. Even if there were, we would need to taxi there, the public transportation consists of trucks with lengthwise benches in the back. When they are filled up, they go to the destination. After arriving someone, we may never be seen again, not knowing how to return again.
A stop at Mercury’s for a drink took some time today. Later, we went to another restaurant we had drinks at previously, but this time Ron had a pizza. One last trip through the shops was just to waste some time until the fan and air conditioning at the hotel were turned on again. For dinner, we went to Monsoon Restaurant, but almost didn’t. We wanted to have a drink on the terrace and dinner inside. They refused to allow us a drink outside, but would serve us dinner inside. Not understanding their reasoning, we questioned it again when the manager, a German woman overheard us. She came to the rescue and said it was fine. Inside, you leave your shoes at the door and sit on mats on the floor. Dinner was good, but my chicken curry was a leg and thigh only. Ron had prawns and a healthy serving of them too.
We did our last stop at Kilude Cafe, said good-bye to Esther, our favorite waitress and went to bed for a 4:30 am wake-up call.