O’ Robert and Christmas in ZanzibarDecember 25, 2008 • By Kelly Glynn
To keep you updated, I am at a very nice hotel in Zanzibar (Tanzania) for Christmas. It has a shower which I was in much need of after walking in 100 percent humidity through zig zag streets and finding myself lost and found in the narrow alleys of the island. I cleaned up and prepared myself for a Christmas dinner. As I was not starving, it did not seem necessary to eat a 7 course meal for $75 dollars so I skipped the dinner and headed to the carolers from St. Francis Church at the waterfront cafe in my hotel. It was a beautiful mix of Swahili music and the familiar songs of Joy to the World and Away in a Manger.
Everything in Zanzibar is on Africa time which means there is no sense of urgency for anything. I ordered lunch and it took 2 hours I ordered a pina colada and it showed up warm I ordered a mojito with no ice if it wasn’t purified and a bottle of water and I got a mojito without ice and a bottle of warm water. I gave up and settled for the bottle of water. Since the waitstaff soon knew me by name and I was enjoying the carolers, I seemed pretty content with my evening.
That is of course until Robert from the UK felt the need to crash my evening. Just because I have blond hair does not mean I am a damsel in distress here. Robert asked to join me and being the nice person that I am I said sure. After about 20 minutes of sort of mindless chit chat, Robert asked me to dinner. I am sorry but he was crashing my hotel as he was staying at the $30 a night place and he was now ruining my caroling. Yes I am shallow but I was more interested in enjoying the evening than talking to the 50+ year-old man from some place in England. He was here on holiday for 6 weeks for the diving. Poor Robert he tried everything in the book to get me to go to dinner or out for drinks. After the fourth time, I told him I was tired and I was just out to hear the African music and the carolers. His response to this, “I think you look beautiful and you do not look tired.” Well, thank you Robert but here goes the New Yorker in me. “Robert, it was very nice of you to join me and I enjoyed chatting with you but you are clearly looking for something I am not giving so please excuse me as I am going to bed.” At some point in the earlier conversation, I had mentioned I would be celebrating Christmas at the hotel where they are having all day festivities. My initial blow off clearly did not work because he called me the international woman of mystery and then said, “I am happy to meet you tomorrow night and take you to the Livingstone bar.” WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So I got up and walked to my room far away from Robert the ice cream truck driver. I know I know…I never gave him a chance but when I set out to hear music and enjoy the silence of the sea that did not mean I wanted to be hit on. My dear frined from grade school Kevin Cunnie would be very disappointed to hear I have learned nothing from his lecture about 15 years ago. I’m not supposed to tell men what’s in my head. ooooooppppps!
It’s Christmas in Zanzibar and I did walk to several Catholic Churches to see how they celebrate. The African families are in full holiday attire in beautiful dresses and hats. The masses are said in Swahili and many start worshipping at midnight and stay until sunrise. With most of the population being Muslim, it was still nice to see the Christian aspect of Christmas here. The rest of the people are carrying on like a typical work day.
Merry Christmas to all.