Il Diario di Tinton

{2001-06-18}   Day 25 – Uroa, Zanzibar

Wake up at about 9 in the morning, go down change some money, have coffee in a bar, instant coffee, run into Christian. That’s how the day all started. Bumping into Christian, this rastafarian streetboy in Dar.

Immediately he was trying to sell me deal with the boat to Zanzibar. the deal was: I give him the money, he goes up, knows the people gives them the money, and then comes back to you with the tickets, at the resident’s price, though. It seemed like an unappealing thing to do just to start with. First of all, why should I try to rip off this country that is trying to make a living out of tourism , by helping a bum, second of all, the math didn’t even add up! He was claiming he could get the tickets for 1500Tsh, but I had just checked, and the local rates were 8500, so both ways would be 17000 and he would be asking me for less money than what he actually needed, In addition, he was asking me to do what? Give him the money and wait for him to come back with the tickets? Yeah right. So instead I asked him for grass. Of course he could help me for that and hooked me up with two spliffs. Then he took me to smoke by the water, after having stopped and asked me to wait that he had to go pick something up. Asked me to to sit next to him, gave me two spliffs as a gift, I took them, so not to leave them in the open and was trying to think on how that was not a good move, when a cop came and told me that he saw everything and to go in the car. There they told me that I had to go to jail for a day and that the fine would have been 3000 USD. Then he started asking for money. and that’s when he started and he was yelling for more money threatening me and I had to whip out the stash, since I did not have/was not prepared to have to whip out more than 20 usd out. or 50 or so. And he kept on asking for more , and more, and when I got to a private place and counted how much i HAD LOST I HAD GAVE HIM, IT WAS 890USD. NOT BAD, HUH, FOR A RASTAFARIAN? THEY SAID HE WAS GOING TO HAVE TO GO TO JAIL, BUT OF COURSE IT WAS A NICE, CLEAR Obvious SETUP.

And this anecdote, of course, made me think a lot about how America has spoiled me. In that it stopped my already started education on how to cope with the fact of not being able to trust or rather treat everybody equally. But at that time, I was not happy to have to do it, and was trying to find a way out. But now that I realize, that there really does not seem to be a way out, I am trying to be happy about the whole thing. I am still trying to decide whether to even just look at people that approach me, or not even that.

This happened all just around noon, when I was supposed to take the ferry for Zanzibar at 1pm. When I got back to the hotel, to get my stuff, it was 20 to one and I left a message to the girls I had met the day before leaving my email address. Apparently, they were out to make the phone call. The guy that took us to the hotel the night before was also telling me that he saw the girls walking on the street just about half an hour earlier. When I ran into him on the streets. So he probably was not lying. At any rate, I took a cab to the ferry, then hopped on, and headed to Zanzibar.

The ride was wet, as it started to rain. I met some french people, 2 guys, but they were being french and not too social. Then I met 2 Norwegians at the immigration/tourist office. They were looking for a bus to go on the east coast of the island. I wanted to get out of the city after all that had happened to me. I just felt like relaxing for a while, so I went with them, to this place were they were renting bungalows just on the beach. I got a single, and they got a room too.

When I got in the bungalow, that’s where I counted the damage, how much I had given to the cop in the car. Then I went for a bath, but the low tide was making it extremely annoying and shallow, so I soon came out and headed for dinner.

Adam is a nice guy, he works here. He tells me I can go back to the city tomorrow with him on the dala-dala, which he explains to me, means 5shilling-5shilling, sort of like nickel-nickel, because the bus used to cost one nickel once, instead of 200Tsh, and so they called it nickel-nickel to distinguish it from the plain ol’ nickel.

Dinner was fun too, as we had it all together, and we got a little drunk and just kept on drinking and talking about Norway, and politics, and WTO and IMF, and I think I want to go to Norway for a while.

I hung out on the beach, had a little to smoke, then went to bed.


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