days 14 and 15
06.03.2007 - 07.03.2007
We do a boat ride, in a dhow. Not really interesting: we just navigate for an hour, in front of the hotel beach.
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.
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.
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.