Nightmare Journey but we got there!

Early Thursday morning we packed the car and set off for Heathrow at around 12.30 pm. The journey went well with little traffic until around twelve miles from the airport, the traffic slowly backed up and then came to a stop with around six miles to go. We sat watching aircraft fly over the motorway for about an hour and a half, thankful that we had plenty of time to catch our flight (we were flying at 8pm).

Eventually, got going again, passing a seven-car pileup a little way on. Worryingly we arrived at the off-airport parking to discover it was full, however, thankfully we had been upgraded to business class and fortunately, we were allocated to the carpark next to Terminal 4 where we were flying from. We parked and were soon at the check-in desk and in no time at all whisked straight through passport control and security.

The flight to Nairobi left on time and we even managed to sleep throughout most of the journey. We were expecting a two-hour transfer (or so we thought) and did indeed board the flight to Zanzibar on time. Through the cabin window, we watched the propellors start to rotate at speed, and then they stopped. Over the intercom, we were informed we had to leave the plane as there was a technical fault. Bemused, with other passengers we returned to the terminal.

Nairobi is NOT an airport you would want to be stranded in for any length of time.  Its organisation and staff are dire, it seems the days are filled with ongoing chaos with no one knowing what is happening. Thankfully after a lot of complaints, we were fed. Eventually, after six and a half hours and after being ushered to several ‘false’ check-in desks we managed to get on a plane. This one successfully made it into the air and the flight was a good one. The view of Kilimanjaro was a highlight.

Late but safe, we landed in Zanzibar. The airport is pretty basic, with no baggage carousel, the handlers throw your baggage at you!!!  The transfer and check-in at the hotel were pretty quick. It was in our room as we unpacked that Jamie discovered that his new mobile phone, which he had put in his suitcase, had been stolen (probably in Nairobi). We made a call to Charlotte, who got his phone blocked.  The following morning, we informed our holiday Rep. and afterwards, we accompanied Jamie to the Police Station in Stone Town to get the paperwork sorted for insurance.

My first impression of Zanzibar is that it is a very beautiful island, the food has been delicious and over the following few days, we swam with dolphins, fed Colobus monkeys and walked through the forest in the south. We had been to Stone Town several times and we actually watched a local Rap Concert, though Jamie loved it, Sue and I thought it was rubbish!! Thankfully we couldn’t understand the language or work out why they continuously point at everything, but the band seemed very popular with the locals (and Jamie).

The locals seem friendly, but so laid back that I would call it lazy. Everything takes an endless time, and the staff in shops, restaurants and the hotel appear reluctant to do their jobs properly.  Ignoring guests and customers is the norm, and lengthy conversations with your mates whilst sat is the preference. I can see why they are classed as 3rd world.


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