Monday, 9 November 2009

White Sands

White Sands is on Kendwa beach on the very north of the island. After our spice tour we headed up there and managed to find enough accommodation for us all. The resort was made up of cabins that led down to a stunning silky, white sand beach and turquoise sea. It was quite quiet as the full moon/Hallowe’en party on the beach had been and gone the previous weekend so we set about spending three days sunning ourselves, swimming in the sea and bartering with owners of the small art huts that lined the beach.

After dinner at the hotel restaurant the first night 4 people fell ill with diarrhea so the big nights out we’d planned bar crawling from one resort to the next never really materialized. Nevertheless, lying by the beach with nothing much to do other than sunbathe, read and swim made a welcome break from putting up and taking down our tents.

On the last day, we arranged for a dala dala to take us back to Stone Town. 14 of us were crammed into the back of a truck and jolted around at break neck speed towards Stone Town. That is, until we were stopped by the traffic police. One was dressed in typical white police garb whilst the other was dressed in army gear. One of them had a look in the truck and to his delight saw it packed with mzungos. As we were paying over the odds (£2 instead of £1 for the 97km trip) for our transport he knew there would be money to be had. An argument kicked off between the driver and the traffic police to the extent he got out of the truck and was yelling at them in their faces in very angry sounding Swahilli.

We asked one of the guys who was sat in the back with us what was going on and he explained that it was to do with bribes. Our driver was being bribed in order to have permission to drive down that specific road and was refusing to pay up. In the end our driver got back in, swung the truck round and took his anger out on the accelerator.

The previous break neck speed had increased to ‘certain death’ speed. It got so hair raising that I ended up hammering on the window that separated us from the driver and yelling ‘polle, polle’(slowly, slowly in Swahili) and we finally slowed down to a more reasonable and less suicidal pace!

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