This post is in fact about Coffee. Read to the and you will find out…
We got swindled into buying an overnight ferry because we missed the daytime ferry. We paid about 5 times too much and were sent on the cargo ferry that delivered goods from the mainland to the island. This meant that the boat we got on was not a ferry, but a cargo ship.
The boat ride should have taken 4 hours, for some reason we were required to get on the boat at 7:30 pm and we didn’t arrive until 06:00 am. Why? We were told the ports of Stone Town, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam were pretty sketchy (they were).
I was traveling with a French guy and his girl friend – who looked like a blond French model, which for the sake of this story is important.
We boarded the ship, my backpack in tow and their suitcases in tow and went to our seats. We were assigned 3 outside deck chairs. The mosquitos were swirling, there seemed to be about 3 people for every seat on the deck. Men were urinating off the deck, pregnant women were laying on mats on the floor breast feeding their newborns, mosquitos were swirling everywhere maybe due to the large quantities of dead and alive chickens, roosters, and fish on board. They were loaded probably 75 trucks into the center of the boats. All the trucks were onloading vegetables, mattresses, refrigerators, and any other item anyone could possibly need.
We sat down with our bags and were told the boat would be departing in 4.5 hours. It was already dark and about 85 degrees.
Within about 10 minutes of us sitting down, a few men in orange neon jackets approached us. At first, we thought we received fake tickets and would be left at the port in the middle of the night. That would have big unfortunate to say the least. But in actuality, they were some sort of security that were offering to let us sleep inside the cabin. Something about it not being safe for us to be outside, specifically for the beautiful blond girl wearing a tank top in a majority orthodox Muslim country on a majority male boat. So we quickly grabbed our stuff and went outside.
There was a small cafe inside. The floor of that cafe was our bedroom for the night. A few swigs of whiskey that I brought on board and we were making a home.
The boat departed at midnight. It docked at 4 am. We only had to wait for 2 hours to get off the boat.
When we did, we ventured into to Stone Town as the sun rose and the people awakened. We went to the first coffeeshop we found. They were just opening their doors. We ordered coffees, the French smoked down about 10 cigarettes.
Zanzibar is famous for its spices. Maybe it was due to the night before, but the coffee was out of this world. They load about 5 packets of sugar in each cup, then served black and that was fine with me.
If I return to Zanzibar, I will find that coffeeshop and tell them my story. I wont be taking the night boat again.