Today was a pool day, and not a bad view from Mrs L’s sunbed either!
The pool is lovely, which is more than can be said about the food here at Amaani Bungalows. We are on a bed and breakfast rate so breakfast needs to be here – but is a somewhat disappointing affair. Over the past 10 days we have at times battled with flies but as Cosmos used to say ‘this is Africa’, so we expect that; however, breakfast was something else, we were plagued with wasps! The fresh fruit selection was fairly minimal (and covered in wasps) when compared to everywhere else we have stayed; Mr L’s toast failed to toast in the toaster despite the bread being in the toaster for near on 10 minutes; and to add insult to injury there was no fresh coffee, only instant! How can a hotel not serve fresh coffee, especially when they grow coffee here in Zanzibar?
Breakfast though was an improvement on yesterday’s lunch. Mr L had ordered a crab salad – he got a minimal bit of salad with a few crab shell bits and pieces, no tools to get any crab out but there was minimal crab in the shell bits anyway. Mrs L ordered the cashew nut stir fry and was asked whether she wanted rice or noodles, she opted for the rice. What arrived was a plate of beef stir fry that contained about 6 cashew nuts with chips/fries……..not what she wanted at all. So other than breakfast we will not be eating any other meals here this week!
Continuing on the theme of food, we walked back to Waves for lunch – probably the most exercise we have had all day!! Nice salads had by both with a stunning view.
There is a massage place here at Amaani so Mrs L, thinking of Thailand experiences and prices, enquired about what a Zanzibar massage would cost – an astounding $40 for an hour or $20 for 30 minutes…….not a good price when compared to our 1 hour Thailand massage that used to cost us £6/$10. On the way back from lunch we saw a sign on the beach advertising massages but no price, seeing us looking a big black lady suddenly came rushing towards us who informed us that a massage would cost 30,000 TZS or $20 – still astronomical! Mrs L has not had a massage and neither has anyone else that we have seen. This is where we think they need to get to grips with their business model and realise that in fact a more reasonable price of say $10 for a 1 hour massage means more people would have a massage whilst on holiday and probably would return for more – thus making them more money overall. The tourist industry here really is still very much in its infancy.
An afternoon of more of the same i.e lying on a sunbed reading a book interspersed with the occasional dip in the pool to cool off before showers and dressing for an evening of drinks in Cholo’s and a pizza at Mama Mia. The cocktails at Cholo’s were the best of this holiday – not difficult! A mojito for Mr L and a piña colada for Mrs L, all supped whilst sitting on a sofa looking directly at the ocean – perfect. Pizza and red wine at Mama Mia’s – we had also told our new friend Hammish that we would buy him a beer there too…..we did. He was fascinating and really interesting to talk to. Hammish and his family all come from Nungwi village, he has a wife in the village and 2 young children, a daughter aged 6 and a son aged 3. He is a chef and him and his uncle previously had a beach restaurant which they had to sell to a South African property developer. He also told us how the village chief made his deal with the Zanzibar government to sell village land on the beachfronts and allow resorts to be built, but all the monies from the taxes go to the Zanzibar government and none comes back into the village. As Hammish says, they need better education to understand these matters, they were asleep when the deals were made (i.e didn’t understand the complexities and opportunities they should have explored) and are still asleep now regarding opportunities to be had. The developers of our resort and several others along this part of the coast are all Zanzibari but have now left the country to develop businesses elsewhere in places such as Dubai, India and Canada. Nungwi village appears to have been stitched up somewhat. What is sad is that in order to restart a new restaurant Hammish needs between 1-2 million TSZ which is less than £800…….an impossibility in a country where there is no capital funding opportunities available. How hard it must be to see resorts being built which cost more than his start-up cost to stay in per week…….. He also told us that the other big impact has been the resorts which are all inclusive, people who stay there do not need to buy meals or drinks from any of the local bars and restaurants so nothing comes back to local people trying to establish and develop their businesses. Overall though, Hammish says tourism is welcome, but as local people they need to wake up to the opportunities to be made.
It has been a relaxing and interesting day, and really good to be able to talk to a local person. Asante Hammish.