Crossing the border again was no problem, and we took a motorbike-taxi to the bus station.
There, they asked us for 15’000 Shilling for the bus tickets.
We had read in the lonely planet, that it’s 5000 per person and travelers, we met, had confirmed that price.
We told them that we knew the price and then the guy said it’s another 5000 for the luggage.
Nope, no way.
After travelling Africa for about 4 months, we know that luggage is ALWAYS free.
So, we told him that.
We argued for a while, and suddenly, a huge man appeared and started to scream at the others.
The guy who we’d been arguing with, quickly pulled us into the bus, made us sit down and whispered: “okay, let’s make 13’000”
Again, we refused and to be sure, we asked the passenger in front of us, how much he’d paid.
He said 5000.
The guy then screamed at the passenger and we couldn’t understand anything, but they argued and then other people in the bus intervened and even people who were standing outside and at once we had a whole bus of people screaming at each other, while we sat sunken into our seats, wondering, what the hell was going on.
The passenger in front of us suddenly took out his wallet and gave the first guy 2000 Shilling.
After that, the fight was done and the guy walked away.
We then asked him, whether he’d just paid for us and he said: “oh, it’s just a bribe”
No way, we’d never let a local pay our bribes, so we gave him back his money.
He later told us: “These are bad people”, pointing towards the bus-staff.
To make sure that we’d be safe, the passenger (who later introduced himself as Bosco), asked us to get off the bus at his station and then he introduced us to his wife and looked for a different minibus-taxi for us.
He even got on the bus as well, accompanying us to the big bus station, where we had planned to buy a ticket to Dar Es Salaam for the next day.
The way was longer than expected and when we arrived at the bus station, it was already late.
We went to buy the tickets in one of the offices, and they told us it’s 45’000 Shilling per ticket.
Again, Bosco intervened, discussed something with the ticket-seller and then we go them for 40’000.
Then, Bosco walked us to our hotel and when it turned out that it was full, he helped us look for a different place to stay.
René was led to one of the rooms and told that the price for one night was “30”.
He then asked for a discount, because in the other hotel, we would’ve only paid 15 dollars and it was more luxurious, than this one.
The receptionist agreed to only charge us 25 instead of 30, so we agreed.
When Nici completed the booking, however, she put down a “25” and the receptionist told her to add three zeros.
Turned out, the cost was 25’000 Shilling, which is about 10 dollars.
We felt a bit bad about asking for the discount, but still gladly took it.
We ate toast with avocado, took a very cold shower and got a few hours of sleep, before catching the bus at 5am the next morning.
Everything seemed to be going okay at first, we had our seats and they were comfortable.
After a few minutes though, our bus stopped at a gas station and we were told to get off and fetch our luggage.
They said “there’s not enough passengers on the bus”
So we, and the passengers of another bus, all had to change into a third bus, which was already almost full.
René hurried inside and managed to get two seats- the last ones next to each other.
The bus-ride took 17 hours instead of 12 and a rather annoying guy behind Nici always pushed her seat forward, thinking that would give him more leg-space.
Again, it was quite late when we arrived in Dar Es Salaam and when we got into a taxi, the driver wanted to charge us 35’000 Shilling.
Once more, we had to explain that we were not stupid and that we knew the prizes, but the guy was incredibly stubborn and we only got him down to 25’000.
We were tired and all we wanted was to sleep.
The YMCA was full, so we booked a room in the YWCA instead.
The next morning, we were driven to the port, where we booked the tickets for the Flying Horse Ferry to Zanzibar.
At first, the ticket seller wanted to charge us 48’000 per person, which would’ve been fine, but then, somehow, there were only 92’000 on the bill.
Nici paid 100’000 and got 8000 back.
She put them in her wallet and the ticket seller gave her another 8000, which she found confusing, but thought he knew what he was doing.
Later, we checked the money and realized the error, but after having paid too much for the taxi, we gladly took our chance.
We had got VIP-tickets, for whatever reason. We never asked for them, but then we were brought to the VIP-lounge, where there were sofas and free wifi.
The internet was even good enough to update our website ;-)
What was really annoying, however, was the aircon :-(
Nici immediately got sick.
The cold remained and René got it, too, so we spent the week in Zanzibar with a sore throat and husky voices.
Sarah, Tom, Sam and Martin were there and we enjoyed cool beer on white beaches, staring into the turquoise water…
Zanzibar is incredibly expensive, since there’s lots of tourists.
It took us a while to adjust to that, since we hate touristy places and our budget doesn’t allow a dorm bed for 40 dollars (!)
We asked the staff at the Original Teddy’s Lodge, if we could just camp on their property, because they only had double rooms for 50 dollars.
Camping would’ve cost us 30 dollars, just for using 2 square meters of sand and their toilets.
The staff was very friendly though and said they’d give us a double room for 35 dollars.
Our friends were staying at the New Teddy’s Lodge, which was right next-door.
On the first day after our arrival on the island, we had to go all the way back to Stone Town, the only place with ATM’s.
Unfortunately, even in a touristy place like Zanzibar, with very high prices, credit card-payments are usually not possible.
They tried to talk us into taking a shared taxi for 40 dollars, but we knew there were Dalla Dalla’s (minibus-taxis) for only 2000 Shilling per person (less than 1 dollar).
Stone Town is a very beautiful and colorful place and we enjoyed walking through the markets in Old Town, smelling the delicious spices, looking at beautiful fabrics (and buying some) and René even got his dreadlocks fixed for 10 dollars.
The process took about 2,5 hours, during which we listened to Reggae and watched the pedestrians pass by.
The food was a bit disappointing. The lodges almost only served western food and the prices were above 15’000 Shilling. It was delicious, just too small portions and too high prices…
Luckily though, we found a local restaurant in the village nearby, where we enjoyed chapatti with guacamole, rice and beans for only 6000 Shilling.
Way too soon and still not fully recovered from our cold, we had to leave the beach with its palm-trees and feeling of vacation.
Before taking the Flying Horse night-ferry, we spent a couple of hours in Stone Town, exploring parts we hadn’t seen before and watching local kids jump from the port into the ocean.
Then it was yet another night with a very annoying aircon that couldn’t even be turned off, even though about 90% of the passengers were coughing and covering themselves with blankets.
By the way, on our way back to the mainland, we heard that the East-Africa visa isn’t sold on the border to Rwanda, so we spontaneously decided to go to Kenya instead.
In Dar Es Salaam, we got driven to the bus station and they wanted to sell us the tickets to Arusha (where we were supposed to change bus to Nairobi) to ridiculously high prices.
After arguing for a while, we had enough and left the guy standing, to look for another bus.
We found one with prices already printed on the tickets, so we chose it.
Well, the way things go sometimes, the ticket vendor managed to keep our change without us noticing, we only realized that later.
We arrived late in Arusha, after having spotted Mt. Kilimanjaro from the bus window.
A taxi driver and his friend told us, they would drive us to a cheap hotel and an ATM for “less than 10’000 Shilling”.
We agreed and the guys were very nice, though we somehow felt uncomfortable with them.
The driver stopped at a gas station to get fuel and asked Nici for a 10’000 bill.
She gave it to him, expecting change back.
When we arrived in the guesthouse, the driver said: “Okay you already gave me 10’000, now you can give me 15’000”
We started laughing and made it clear that we know the prices and that we’re not stupid.
He insisted on us giving him the money, until we gave him another 2000 and stepped into the room, threatening to close the door on him, but his friend (who had told us the price would be less than 10’000) didn’t want us to be in a bad mood, so he took the blame and wished us a good night.
Later that evening, we went out (the guesthouse was near the red-light district, but it was very nice, since there were only locals and the street was crowded with food vendors) and bought some French fries from one of the food stands.
They put cucumber and cabbage on it, which made René feel uneasy, but it tasted delicious.
We had only planned to stay one night in Arusha, but we felt very tired that evening and still a bit sick, so we decided to stay one more night.
The next day was spent in the room and in the afternoon, we were beginning to feel very hot.
We checked our temperatures and realized, that we had a light fever.
Thinking it was the cold, we didn’t worry about it and went back out to eat in the evening- more French fries.
Nici ate one of the portions but René felt sick and didn’t feel like eating his.
Later that night, he woke up and had to hurry to the toilet… several times.
The problem was: there were no real toilets, only these African / Asian ones, which you crouch over and there was neither toilet paper nor a butt-shower (bum-gun).
After using up every single pack of paper tissues, we decided to move to another guesthouse.
Raha Leo had room for us- and wifi and a REAL toilet with toilet paper!
It made things easier, but Nici’s fever kept climbing and René’s went up and down, which made us worry that we might have caught Malaria.
Better safe than sorry, so we went to the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center (short ALMC) the next day.
It was a modern and welcoming hospital and we got treated right away.
We had to fill two cups for the laboratory- but as always: when you have to, you can’t, so we had to force ourselves to eat some chapatti in the hospital cafeteria, before we were finally able to fulfill the task.
The results came fast: No malaria. Yay.
But: Bad food poisoning.
The doctor somehow found it hilarious, that Nici was sicker than René, even though he looked way sicker.
“He he he, she is more sick than you, but you look more sick!”
He was very competent though and explained the result-chart to us, before prescribing us two kinds of antibiotics and some weird rehydration-salt, which tasted horrible and was thrown in the trash later.
Well, here’s to cabbage and cucumber, the two things we will never eat from a street vendor again.
We ended up staying 7 days in Arusha, by the way.
One of the antibiotics tasted horrible and would probably not be sold in Europe anyway, having to take four pills of it a day was an adventure…
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
We were fed up with African food however, and ordered pizza as soon as we were able to eat again.
Later, we found a Chinese restaurant, where we ended up eating every day until we were finally healthy enough to leave Arusha.
Now we’re diarrhea and antibiotics-free and a Dalla Dalla brought us safely to the Kenyan border…
Oh, and what we learned from that story: Saying things like “as vegans you usually don’t get food poisoning” is a very bad idea, even if you knock on wood while saying it.
Never provoke your destiny.