Kendwa, Zanzibar

5 february 2007

Introducing myself in Africa usually follows this routine:

 

Me: What’s your name?

Local: It’s Herman. And you?

Me: It’s Sam.

Local: “Oh, your name is Herman too?”

Me: No. I said it is ‘Sam’. Not ‘same’.

 

Tasha was the first local  girl to introduce herself to me at the  full moon party on Kendwa Rocks, in north east Zanzibar.

 

Zanzibar is a former slave trading colony and an amazingly beautiful island off the coast of Tanzania...and I was pretty sure Tasha was a prostitute.

 

“Hi my name’s Tasha, what’s yours?” she said, prolonging the handshake far too long.

 

Yep, she was definitely a prostitute.

 

“Pleased to meet you Tasha, I just have to meet my friend. He’s over there.” As if by Magic, my friend Don from Doha appeared suddenly in my direct line of sight.

 

Tasha followed me over. Thereafter followed a conspicuous period of certain awkwardness during which both Don and I completely ignored Tasha in the hope she would go away. Eventually she did, though later demanded I bought her a drink. “Umm, how does ‘no’ sound?”

 

She wasn’t the only prostitute there, and two even had a scrag fight later in the night, much to the bemusement of everyone.

 

The party was fairly wild. Unsurprisingly the locals absolutely dominated the dance floor. It seems I’ve stumbled across an entire continent where people dance as if they’re being electrocuted, and I was right in my element. I’ve never challenged an 8-year-old to a dancing competition before, but he resoundingly beat me.