African Pho

Sitting here on my last night in Zanzibar enjoying some dank ass Zanzibar Beef Soup. The dude working here brougt it with some PiriPiris, he knows what I like! Nice. I feel so at home here. Karibu. This soup is almost like an African Pho, I really like it. I don’t really wanna leave here I can easily get stuck here. Fuck I pretty much am already…

Feeling a little under the weather. I was ok until I smoked this dart at B4. Dang I need to stop that. I just finished that ‘African Pho’ and it was fuckin’ delish. I wish I could have three more of them.

No Woman No Cry is playing here as my knee is up against the big dark wooden bar. I wonder if they used mango trees for this wood. My left leg shakes around as it does. The overhead lighting over this bar consists of lightbulbs with beer bottles with the bottoms removed. It creates a nice soft lighting kind of like Dr. Teeth utilizes–but less crazy. They’re all hanging from a wooden plank that is on a system of ropes and pulleys. Leoni the owner here says it’s so they can raise it when people wanna dance on the bar. “Karibu” she says, breaking it down to us that we are welcome to dance on the bar if we so please.

Today I wake up around 10.15 AM. I slept through breakfast for the first time today. I must’ve gone to bed around 02.00. I’m a little bleary eyed and I rouse myself out of bed in an attempt to secure free breakfast. Maybe they will take pity on me. I stagger out.

No dice, breakfast is over and the coffee cups are gone. I ask if I can have a cup of coffee and they feel bad and oblige me. I savor the coffee a little bit. “Let’s go to the beach” sums up what everyone wants to do. Amy and I head out to the beach and to the left, usual routine.

“Are we walking out again today?” says Amy. “Hell no” I reply. It’s a fucking Sisyphean task doing that. The tide is out so far, and you think you’re getting closer. But after 25 minutes you see the shore way behind you, and the waves don’t seem much further. Those waves crashing are a fucking siren song. It’s a mirage. Bali Ha’i.

The sun bakes my skin as I lay in the sun bed. Where the two Norwegian midwives laid yesterday, now Amy and I have commandeered their faithful post. Hopefully the resort staff don’t notice. We make some deep conversation about relationships, hopes and dreams, and life in general. Amy agrees to mail my ballot in for me–legend.

Hostel friends come and go but the sun continues to turn me browner. I apply sun-screen at some point. We decide to abandon post and head to Mr. Kahava for some lunch. The motley crew of five dudes and one girl walks North up Paje Beach. It’s me, Amy, Niklas, Lucas, Bjorn, and that other german guy that went to Michamvi but came back after a day.

The British couple joins us there and we all order some food. I slide up to the counter and bust out my classic “What’s the most popular item”. It’s that line I always say that results in a collective eye-roll from my friends. Whatever. The fella’ behind the counter tells me it’s the Mango-Chicken Wrap so I say “One of them!”. It’s 12,000 shillings and then I get an Americano for 4,000 TZS. My order number is 27 as indicated by a little wooden disk. Probably mango wood.

The coffee is splendid, best I’ve had in Africa. I ask them where the beans are from and they appear to be Tanzanian Arabica–cool. The food takes awhile to come out. I get worried they forgot about mine, but right as I go up to ask about it I see it smiling at me in the hand of one of the servers about to deliver it to our table. Of course.

Food is dank AF. After I saw Niklas’ Sesame Chicken Salad I was starting to question my decision, but I definitely made the right choice. The wrap came just totally stuffed and kind of half open with a toothpick in it as a sort of ironic joke. A black olive rests atop the toothpick as a little appetizer before you dig in with a knife and fork. The fusion of mango and chicken works real well and they didn’t skimp on the shredded chicken. My mouth waters just thinking about it now.

Everyone is a little full. We go jump in the water, all of us except for Bjorn. He just chills as he does. The swell isn’t as big as yesterday so we can’t do any body surfing. But I do some handstands in the water and swim way out. Amy is feeling competitive and swims out to chirp me for swimming out further than anyone else and then passes me with perfect swimming form, freestyle and backstroke. Impressive…

Bathwater would be the best description of the water temperature. The waves bring the colder denser water up as well, which is the perfect refreshing temperature. It really is the perfect water environment. I could float in that salty drink all day. But it gets old eventually so I ride a tiny wave in to the shore and we all lounge around a bit more.

In time we tire and walk back to Teddy’s. Amy is stressing out again about her windsurfing instructor. She can’t seem to find the courage to tell him off, wavering about much like the wind does today. I’m feeling exhausted, so I walk into good old ELFU and lay down on my bed. The beds in this dorm are much bigger than their counterparts in the MIA dorm.

I could really just fall asleep here…but I should take a shower. So I go wash off in the bathroom. I ran out of soap but I found the remnants of someone’s body wash in the shower. I’m such a dirty backpacker. I’m feeling burnt as fuck and slather on some lotion.

Walk back into ELFU and put on some after-sun and furthermore some coconut oil. Daddy needs his juice. I noticed the surf instructor and Amy were sitting together now at the bar–her fears have been realized. I ponder how I will rescue her from this situation.

Coconut oil treatment is nearly complete when Amy comes into the dorm looking frazzled as fuck. Seeking refuge in a storm of male attention–she’s got a fan club on this island. I’m laying down now in my bed as I listen to her wonder how to deal with this. She doesn’t want to leave, and now with my head on the pillow neither do I.

“Wow these beds really are bigger!” says Amy. “And it seems like you have better airflow in here!” she follows up. “Yeah, I told you!” I respond. My eyes are closed and I’m drifting off into unconsciousness. Amy wants me to get her a beer so she can just hide out in our sandy little dorm room but I refuse and tell her that I have sympathy but not pity. Her problems are easily resolvable, but the dressing just has to be ripped off.

Amy gets frustrated and leaves to go to the beach. I spend a few minutes enjoying my bed but decide perhaps I’ll head out to the beach as well. It’s my last day and I might as well make the most of it. I also need a massage. I open that narrow little door and poke my head out. She’s already walking down to the beach. I sprint down that sandy little alley silently, and then surprise her on the beach.

Both of us walk down the beach, the tide at its peak now. There is barely anywhere to walk on the beach that was dry for miles hour ago. I head down to B4 and grab a beer with her and watch the waves and the lone windsurfer. We see The Brits practicing some surfing in the limited surf. We wave and they come join us. The wind is quite difficult today. Our friend that works at B4 appears soon enough–we saw him tweakin’ last night.

I part to go get a massage and find that Mama is not there, she’ll come by in five minutes. I make arrangements with two Plastic Maasai to get some of those ankle bracelets they all wear. They use a dead sea-weed thing to measure the circumference of my ankle and then they say come back in a bit. I tell them I’ll be seeing mama and I’ll come by after.

Back to Mr. Kahava to grab some joe to go, and then as I head back to Mama’s I see her large figure in a black robe. Ah hello. We agree on 30k for a half hour head and shoulder massage. I tell her I’m going to Mozambique tomorrow and she puts me to task already. “Ok you need to see girls on the beach who are doing massage, manicure”. She wants me to do a little market research for her. She asks me where Klaudyna is and I tell her she’s in Indonesia now. Mama really is a boss, barely knows me and is sending me to do research for her. Whatever, I don’t mind.

To my surprise Mama has handed me off to one of her subordinates. Damnit. The appeal of Mama is her large mass. My back really needs some atomic force. It’s just tense and knotty after my intense wrestling match the other night. Her colleague still does a fine job but I could use another hour of that shit. Fuck it, I’ll get a cheap one in Mozambique.

Thelathini is how you say 30 in Swahili, and that’s just what I say when I hand over that dough. It’s about $15 USD. I hand over another Thelathini to the Plastic Maasai who have my anklets now. They say that I’m now Simba Maasai. How Ironic these fake Maasai also make a joke about me being Maasai as well. We’re equally as Maasai, hahah. And I think we all knew it. “The Language of The World” as that cliche book The Alchemist would say.

I go next door again to B4 and see The Gang. Two other Brits have joined, and I go see our tweaker business owner and he gives me some Afri coffee. I try to pay but he refuses. Alright. Everyone else but Amy peaces out and I just chill out sipping my coffee. She goes over and is talking to some kite-surfing dudes and then I get bored and peace out.

I see some Maasai doing a jumping competition–it’s a courtship ritual–so I run up and start jumping too! They start chanting and I’m jumping. Then I do some handstands and everyone is impressed. So I do some Maasai handshakes with the finger snap and all and then say baadaye! and walk back to the hostel.

Yeah, so now here I am, an hour or so later writing this blog post.
That African pho is long gone.

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