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Zanzibar: last days

days 14 and 15

sunny

We do a boat ride, in a dhow. Not really interesting: we just navigate for an hour, in front of the hotel beach.
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It's our last day now, and we decide to buy some souvenirs from the shacks on the beach. We joke with the Masai (?) salesmen: they have a good sense of humor. One of them is really tall, and I congratulate him for being a real Masai. A smaller one puts the blame on his Kikuyu mother. We will never understand who sells what: we haggle with one vendor, for a product that we find in another shop, and we pay in a third one.
At the beginning of the afternoon, we leave the hotel for the airport. The departure is as confused as was the arrival. At the check-in counters, only the check-in personnel is inside the terminal: all the passengers are queuing outside, in the afternoon sun! As the temperature in the shadow is around 35°, it must be above 50° in the sun. There are only two counters, with no indication whatsoever. After 30 minutes, some passengers find out that they were in the wrong queue. After check-in, another queue for the airport tax, then another for the visa. And then only, we arrive in a very crowded departure hall. We'll find out later that there is air-conditionning, but there are so many people that it is not effective at all. We are supposed to leave at 6 pm but, at 5 pm, there is still no aircraft. The travel ageny rep announces that it will not arrive, as it went directly to Mombasa (normally, it does Brussels-Zanzibar-Mombasa-Brussels). It's not a problem, as we will be transported to Mombasa with two aircrafts: a small one at 6 pm, and a larger one at 7pm. We get new boarding cards. Half a dozen passengers leave indeed at 6:15pm, while we continue to wait. A number of passengers get very anxious, as they are now sure that the Mombasa flight, scheduled around 8 pm, will depart without us. I find Belgian beer (Stella) at a reasonable price.
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But the tax-free shop shoud be avoided: it is more expensive than the shops in Stonetown. A new aircraft arrives at 8:15 pm, from a company that is not the one that we should have, according to the boarding passes. Nevertheless, we embark: it is a brand new Fokker, from Zanair. It's a short flight (20'). At Mombasa, we do not enter the terminal and go directly to our Boeing 767, which was waiting of course.
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The passengers who boarded in Mombasa have a do not seem happy, just as if we were responsible for the delay. And we finally have the explanation: a defect appeared during the Brussels-Zanzibar flight, and the captain decided to got directly to Mombasa for the repairs, skipping Zanzibar.
The flight is uneventful, and we arrive at Brussels Airport at 4:30am.

Posted by ortho158 08:41 Archived in Tanzania

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