The morning after Kilimanjaro and another glorious shower.  We had breakfast and planned our day; the Poles drank beer for breakfast.  I was packed and had a flight in the afternoon and had to leave at 1pm.  So, we packed my bags into the van and we all went into town.  At the office we all went off, my bags were to be put in the office by the driver/porter once someone with a key arrived.  I headed to the Internet Cafe with Tim and Charlotte to send/receive news and grab a cold drink and croissant.  Tim downloaded his pictures and made CDs to distribute.  Mark, Marek and Peter headed to the market for some last minute shopping.  I didn’t have enough time to get to the market to buy the carved rhino I liked. 

We went back to the office, it was open and there was Emmy, who was to take me to the airport.  We all began to exchange niceties and I looked around, no luggage.  I interrupt to ask Emmy where my luggage was.  Whooops, it was still in the van, which was now back at the guesthouse.  A quick call and it was on its way.  Emmy and I had a nice discussion on the way to the airport about her upcoming tour to the US to raise funding for African hunger and poverty.  We also discussed possibilities for expanding opportunities in Africa. 

The flight to Zanzibar was delayed.  On the flight I got some pictures of Kilimanjaro peeking above the clouds.  After landing I grabbed my checked luggage.  Another guy had the same pack as me, so we checked the luggage ID to make sure we both got the right bag and he asked me about the Kilimanjaro since he was due to start his trek in a few days.  I found a guy with my name on a placard for the hotel, jumped in the truck and off we went.  Everyone in Zanzibar is out on bicycles, walking, in front of houses and market stores.  This makes it extremely dangerous as it is after dark.  The Ocean Paradise Hotel ( is impressive.  Breakfast and dinner are included in the price.  I will be staying through Thursday, March 14.  The flights did not cost more with this itinerary, but changing to leave a day or 2,3,4 later would have almost doubled my flight cost.

I am shown to my hut and it is very nice.  First TV since I left, 2 channels I can watch, 24 hour soccer or a movie channel, others are not in English.  The room has 2 nice beds with mosquito netting, sitting area, desk, lanai with lounge area, change room and very nice bathroom with shower.  I take yet another shower and now feel pretty clean.  I dress for dinner and feel like James Bond, approaching the luxury resort poolside dining area by myself.  There was a huge buffet dinner and I ate a lot.  I especially liked the ice cream.  I had a Kilimanjaro beer with dinner.  I still have intestinal problems, but at least I am eating.  I am using my extra shoelaces as a belt (it’s covered by my Hawaiian shirt).  I lost about 10 lbs on Kili, and I was only 9% body fat when I left, so this is not good.  The intestinal problems continued long after I got home.  I saw the doctor for tests the day I got back and again for more tests (that they messed up the first time) a few days later.  They all came back negative, so it is not Malarone, Diamox, Altitude, food poisoning, parasite or bacteria.  It looks like I just got sick, possibly the flu.

I spend 3 luxurious days in Zanzibar, mostly reading on the beach, eating, relaxing, sleeping and using the internet cafe.  I got an hour massage each morning for about $30 each.  I swam in the Indian Ocean for the first time in my life and snorkeled a bit.  I did not go scuba diving, though I probably could have done it without a card like Charlotte did a few days later.  I got up on the last morning early and got some sunrise pictures.  Around 11am on the last day the long rains came which should last until June in this part of Africa.  I grabbed lunch and the rain let up for me to go and pack and head to the airport.  The airport had disorganized long lines in the hot sun.  30 minutes later I was second to the counter (with now only one person behind me) and for some reason all ticketing stopped, for 30 minutes nothing happened.  I saw the guy who seems to run the entire airport from ticketing to boarding and called him over.  The morning flights had been cancelled and since I had a 6 hour layover in Nairobi, Kenya they put me on a later flight.  Once I agreed to this arrangement, they quickly got me out of the hot sun and personally guided me through exit fee, customs, baggage search and security.  The flights were long, 90 minute flight to Nairobi Kenya, 3 hour layover, 12 hour flight to Amsterdam, 6 hour layover and 12 hour flight home.  The flights were pretty uneventful except for the guy in the seat behind me on the flight to Amsterdam wanting to put his knees up on my seat back preventing me from being able to recline.  Asking him did no good, banging his knees didn’t seem to deter him, but when the food came and he put his tray down I was able to recline and keep it that way the rest of the trip.  Welcome back to modern civilized society.


March 11, 2007

The value of our life is not solely measured by its length, but also by the depth of our hearts.

And breadth of our experiences.  And indeed the heights that we achieve.