Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Day in Stone Town Before Leaving

Today was the last day of our trip.

We got up (we both slept great) and had breakfast, checked out and waited for Mr. Hamad, our taxi driver, to arrive. He arrived right on schedule, and we explained what we'd like to do today. He arranged a tour guide for us for Stone Town, and also arranged to have our bags stored at the Zanzibar Hotel for the day, while we toured Stone Town.

About an hour drive back to Stone Town, and dropped our bags off at the Zanzibar Hotel, and met our guide. He was like an encyclopedia of Stone Town history. First was the slave memorial and museum, which was very interesting and a sad history of Africa. Most of the slaves in East Africa went to India, Europe and Arab countries (US got their slaves from West Africa).

We then walked around Stone Town, and saw numerous other sites, including the large market (veggies, fruits, chickens, meat and everything else under the sun), the house where Freddie Mercury was born and grew up, the two non-Muslim churches and lots of other historical buildings and museums, and the waterfront, which was very nice. It was a great tour that lasted about 3 hours.

After the tour, he took us back to the Zanzibar Hotel, then Tracy and me went wandering down the twisty streets in search of something to eat. We ate at a nice little cafe, then wandered down to the waterfront. Lots and lots of tourists around here, getting tours, wandering around, buying "stuff". Lots of souvenir shops all over Stone Town as well, of course.

We managed to get back to the Zanzibar Hotel without getting lost, and headed to the airport around 7:00 and got our flight to Dar es Salaam (a 15 minute flight).

Our KLM flight from Dar es Salaam wasn't scheduled to leave until 11:55pm, so we had a long wait at a crappy airport. Soon after we arrived at the Dar es Salaam airport, we discovered that our KLM flight was delayed by 2 hours and 45 minutes. Ugh. KLM didn't even have the check-in counters open yet, so we had to wait around in the check-in hall for hours before KLM finally started doing check-ins. Then, as the flight was considered a "new" flight, the staff had great difficulty in getting boarding passes created for everything. It was a long and tedious affair, but we finally got through and our flight left at about 2:45am, I think. Fortunately our connecting flight in Amsterdam (to Calgary), we had a 5+ hour layover, so there was no danger of us missing our connection.

And, that's the end of the African adventure.

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