I absolutely love the language of Swahili. In fact, I now know far more words in Swahili than Setswana. It is so much easier to pronounce and it reads or is spoken exactly like it is written. It is also very similar to Arabic, a language that I know a smattering of – it is perfect for cursing in if there is no one around who understands it. It is such a gratifying language to curse in 😉
There were a few moments during my time in Zanzibar that I forgot which language that I was suppose to be greeting in. Jambo is the traditional way to say hello and Karibu means welcome. Thank you is the lovely “asante” or “asanteni sana” followed of course by the phrase “don’t crush my banana”. I am not kidding, I even learned Swahili slang!
As I was such a busy little beaver during my stay on the Island, coming and going all of the time my new friends most often told me “polepole”. That means slowly, slowly. Ha! If they only knew that I was in fact going polepole for me! I was certainly not the normal whirling dervish that people have come to expect. The high temperatures and humidity slowed me down to a normal pace but that was still fast enough to justify the use of polepole.
My final hours in Zanzibar couldn’t have been better spent. After a final morning visit to the waterfront to sit and watch the dhows sailing by and being greeted by new friends. Thankfully none of them had gossip about how I had spent my last night…whew!!! I raced back up our street, no polepole as I had a check out time to meet. As I passed my street corner that had become my hangout spot with my friends Saidi, MD and Maki, other corner residents called out to me. After a quick explanation that I was just rushing to my hotel to check out and that I would be back shortly to have one last visit, I was off again. Soon to return with luggage firmly in hand.
You see, I had made a date with my friends that they could escort me to the ferry terminal and that is exactly what we did. But first it was photo time. Here are my new friends
Following the picture taking our motley crew took off down the street to the waterfront. Everyone carrying a piece of my luggage so that I had nothing but my purse to worry about. As we polepole made our way, I was greeted with Jambos and exclamations of “oh, are you leaving so soon”. It was a good job that polepole was in full effect as it took a while for me to say my goodbyes as we walked.
Soon we were getting soaked by the rain. Last night I had toasted “pula” which in Setswana means “rain” and is the currency. It seems that my toast had brought rain to Zanzibar. Tabuche will be proud of my rain making abilities. Any ways, we continued on as the rain pelted down and the other faint of heart tourists dove for shelter. My lovely band of merry men and I soon reached Mercury, a restaurant named for the lead vocalist of the rock group, Queen, Freddie Mercury. He was born on Zanzibar and the island is proud to claim him.
Upon reaching the restaurant we settled in for a drink – I had a local soda called Tangawhizi which is a ginger soda – and a snack of seafood pizza. My final two hours on Zanzibar were spent in the company of my friends where we talked, laughed and finally I was delivered to the ferry terminal for departure. I felt bad for my friend MD who owns a local shop that caters to tourists. Instead of being where he could be selling he was sitting with me. I only hope that he didn’t miss too much business as a result. He does have someone to watch over the shop while he is not there but the business is his livelihood. He has a wife and two beautiful sons to support so his taking the time to spend a final couple of hours with me really touched my heart. He is a very special man. They all are!
In fact these men and others that I met while on Zanzibar have completely changed how I feel about the male species. They, in combination with Tabuche and Lawrence, have completely restored my faith in the existence of gentlemen. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and miracles do happen in Zanzibar.