After a glorious 3 weeks in Zanzibar Island it was time to head back inland and visit some art and dance studios. I was a happy island girl, enjoying the sunsets, taking walks and making new friends. I spent time in Michamvi, Paje, Jambiani and Stone Town exploring and generally enjoying myself even though the mosquitos were on my case. Even in broad day light.
So on the day of my departure I went about organizing myself and headed to the Zan Fast Ferries ticket office in order to get my ticket. There are about a handful of ticket offices in Stone Town but only one of them sells tickets to foreign nationals. Carrying a travel bag or pulling a suitcase will make you attractive to vendors and other people who will offer to walk you to the booking office. It’s usually men. Even if you kindly decline their offer; they will still walk besides you and insist that they will not charge you. I always explicitly decline these offers and make it clear that I have no money to give. They will wait for you to get your ticket and then ask for a small thank you. It is very important to be firm and politely say NO; then go on to the port to board your boat.
So I got my ticket that is priced at $35 for foreign nationals (One day we will have a big discussion around this) . I paid Tsh. 84000 at around 11:50am and got into the 12:00pm ferry just in time. What surprised me about getting into and out of Zanzibar is that you go through immigration. Your passport is stamped at entry but at exit; they only stamp your ticket. Citing that you will get the exit stamp on your passport when you leave Tanzania and not just the island. I was worried about this but everything turned out fine.
At about 12:05 we were on our way out of Zanzibar. I watched the island become smaller and smaller. 20 minutes into the ride, we were going against big waves and my stomach was 1/4 to getting unsettled. I started burping a lot and I thought that after the burps my stomach will settle.But no such luck. One of the stewards was giving out sick bags to the passengers. He knew that it was a rough ride. He somehow did not give me one. And I didn’t ask because I didn’t think I would need one because on my journey into Zanzibar, I used Azam Marine Znz Ferry, a different ferry company. On the Azam ferry there were no sick bags offered and I didn’t see anyone being seasick. I wonder if the stark differences in this sick bag policy might be because the of the difference in the tide of the sea on those days. Or Azam Marine Ferry just has a smoother ride. I will find out one day. I would have to go on a lot of ferry rides in order to determine this.
40 minutes into the boat ride, a few burps and my breakfast was on the floor. I really did try to hold it on but I was too late. Even the girl who was sitting next to me tried giving me her sick bag but it was too late.
Even as the Zan Fast Ferries stewards were cleaning my vomit; it kept coming. It was like a tap had been opened somewhere and my stomach was only happy for the relief. Luckily there was a rubbish bin next to me. So I emptied myself into it some more. For someone who had had a small breakfast, I had a lot to throw out. I was given another sick bag which I used until we arrived in Dar Es Salaam. The whole journey is 1 hour 30 minutes but it felt like such a lifetime. The whole time I was counting the minutes until I could get a Coca Cola because I swear by Coca Cola as a nausea cure.
As soon as we got out of the ferry, there were port officials encouraging passengers to wash their hands. I washed my hands and proceeded to the security check point. Once outside I was met by a cacophony of taxi operators and vendors trying to get my attention. No amount of telling the taxi operators that you have a ride will get you out of their hands. They are very persistent. One even told me not to request an uber/bolt because he was there for me. I am afraid a million Nos will not save you.
I got home in Kijitonyama and I had a Coca Cola and I was cured after a few burps of course. After that I could enjoy a plate of delicious pilawu served by my friends.
Will I take a ferry again despite getting seasick? YES! I refuse to be let down by seasickness. In fact I am filing this episode as a fluke. There is no way a water baby like me is getting seasick.