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In the winter of 2019, Henderson Productions took a small group to Tanzania for a 14-day adventure.   This blog series tells the story of the trip and our fellow travelers.  Using our network around the world, we curated a tour to give us local connections and experiences beyond the normal tourist choices.  For more information about our upcoming trips, subscribe to our newsletter.

The Zanzibar Ferry

We are all snuggly in our VIP seats on the ferry to Zanzibar.   The stewards have served coffee and snacks, leg rests are up, recliners back and AC is blasting.   Surprised there’s no safety briefing but I’m comfortable we won’t be in trouble.   It’s rockin and rollin forward and aft and side to side but the promise of an afternoon poolside is beckoning like a siren.  It’s tempting to snooze instead of writing but that’s my plan for the day anyway.

(Just got back from the ferry loo – four stalls for everyone, one for VIP lounge.   Whatevs.   Just outside the doors on the lowest level of seating and tucked under a storage bench are four flats squeaking and chirping labelled ‘Tanzania’s Finest Quality Freshly Hatched Chicks”!   Poor little guys – snatched from their mom’s like little slave chicks bound for servitude at the Fordohani Market after a couple months of hard labor.)

It took half an hour (oh, Freddy’s drivers were available an hour early) to get to the ferry and we were jumbled through security and passports straight into a VIP air-conditioned waiting lounge where we all focused on M’s seasickness worries.

The ferry VIP lounge was crazy comfortable complete with reclining seats and a free snack cart plus ac so blasting I fogged up going on the outside deck.   This sort of extravagance is what Theroux used to rail about and, in this instance, I agree.   $50 vs $20 for economy AC and $10 for no AC was a useless exercise.   Here we were – complete with a Chinese-language seal team movie.

On the plus side, most of our group is now photographically documented as snoozing thru the azure seas with no incidence.   Arrival included me finally getting a look at the chicks chirping away on their dolly ride to death.   Sad.

We were met by our driver and whisked through Stone Town a whopping 5 miles north to Bububu and the Grand Beach Villa resort – a five-bedroom, five bath houses with pool, pavilion, staff of six- and 100-yard access to the beach.   Except D, we opted for lunch and dinner on the pavilion and an afternoon lounge at the pool.

The Zanzibar Airbnb

Risky, adventurous D left the compound on foot, walked to the road, found cheap water and a taxi to town and had a ball doing what he does including dinner at Lukmaan for local fare.   And yet he returned alive before dark.

We swam, took naps and learning our lesson from lunch, ordered our dinners at 2 for 7:30.   Arrived on time.   😊    Cocktails before candlelit dinner – just perfect.

R, J and I did a lovely sunset beach walk with gorgeous silhouettes and images of dhow repair and boys searching for snails.    Can’t WAIT to see them.

Many of our group opted for the spaghetti Bolognese but I MUST eat local when possible so joined M and V for the calamari in coconut curry sauce which was just perfect.   Some went for ice cream – not I:   the coconut curry was sweet enough with my Riesling.

Another gorgeous day with an early night inevitably means I was wide awake at 4 AM.    It is.