Day 337: Homeward Bound

Wed. 17th July 2013

Goodbye Zanzibar we had a great timeBackpacks packed for one last time and we are soon off in our minibus to the ferry port for our crossing back to Dar and the start of our journey home. After the obligatory stop for fuel and police check point we were well on our way to town and hopefully not too much traffic to hold us up. It was a slow journey in and we were glad of the extra time we had allowed as the ferry time approached. There were no parking spaces close to the ferry so our driver double parked and we unloaded as quickly as we could. Cue much honking of horns from the cars behind.

Our boatIt was a scrum to get through the entrance and we were relieved to find the tranquillity of the VIP lounge. We were escorted through the waiting masses and onto the boat and up to the First Class Lounge, with comfy seats and a TV screen. The safety briefing stated that free drinks were provided throughout the crossing but there was no one to serve them! We slept for most of the crossing only venturing out on deck and into the heat to search for the toilets at the back of the boat.

Another recent visitorWe knew to expect a scrum outside the ferry terminal in Dar, so we formed a line with Dave at the front me at the rear and we marched off ignoring all calls for taxis, hotels, tours or whatever else was being sold. We were heading for the sanctuary of the Kilimanjaro Hotel where Dave and I had eaten lunch two weeks earlier. This was one occasion when we were grateful for the familiarity of a large hotel which are all the same the world over. We were even able to book a people carrier to get us to the airport and at a reasonable cost. After ordering lunch Dave guarded the bags and Lucy nursed her cold whilst I took the boys out to see some of the sights.

Sightseeing in DarI did not have much time for sightseeing and so we headed for what had been our highlight, the fish market. The sights and smells are so different to any market we had taken the boys before. It is quite overwhelming with the mass of locals in their brightly coloured outfits jostling to bid for the fresh fish and also to see the many varieties laid out on all the stalls. Care is needed to avoid walking in the streams of fishy water from hosing down the stalls after all the produce has been sold. We were the only Europeans at the market so we stood out from the crowds.

After lunch it was time to brave the traffic to the airport, which lived up to its expectation of being stop start most of the way. Luckily we had allowed plenty of time to get there and so check in for Chris, Lucy and Steve went smoothly. They were grateful the Dreamliners were operating again after the recent fire in one. This meant they did not have a twelve hour wait in Addis Ababa as we feared yesterday.

Still writing up notes for the blog!Dave and I still had a few hours before our check in opened but luckily as Business class passengers we managed to pull a few strings and check in early so at least we could wait in the lounge. This did mean pacing ourselves with the free booze to ensure we caught our flight home OK. In the lounge we met Ali and Liz again, waiting for their flight to Dubai. We have discovered that although the world is huge with many exciting places to visit it is also small enough to keep bumping into people we know. We sat and chatted away about life the universe and everything (including how mean we were to put the others on the cheaper Ethiopian Airlines flight in cattle class that left earlier than us and landed after us in Heathrow!).

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