With a crick still firmly in my neck the next stop on our east-coast tour of Zanzibar was Ocean Paradise Resort. We got a taxi with a man whose toothy grin took up the majority of space on his face and headed north up the coast. As you will find out in Zanzibar this is easier said than done. Few roads go direct from one place to the next but instead squiggle and meander in-land and through villages. We sped past precarious looking bicycles laden with 3 passengers, dalla-dallas (the local open-sided buses) with conductors swinging off the back and kindling (presumably one of the passenger’s precious cargo) stacked high on the roof, and coughing mopeds with schoolgirls in ankle-length cotton dresses sat side-saddle. We drove past a newspaper-selling lamenting as people swarmed round his stall just interested in reading the front-covers but no intention of making a purchase. Next was the gas station patrolled by two women in traditional traditional dress who stood with a stand filled with a mismatch of oil bottles and rags. They tended to our taxi as the driver handed over a wad of cash which was quickly added to their girthy roll of notes kept in the folds of one of the women’s dresses.
The driver made sure to enlighten us about the Zanzibar way of life…the house and carts which are called ‘the Zanzibar Ferraris’, the lines of flipflops outside makeshift mosques, the piles of sugarcane in a mechanic’s forecourt, the traditional way of building mud huts. Our driver, who was fasting for Ramadan, added to the bustle of life by honking his horn to every car…apparently it’s a courtesy thing! We cruised through a police check point thanks to our driver being friends with the police and we continued on our journey, dusty air being pumped through the air con and plastic seat covers squeaking as we bounced up and down over the potholes. And finally, we arrived at the hotel.
The welcome lobby sat beneath a vast roof structure of colossal proportions, through which an ocean breeze and yellow-tailed birds of paradise passed. After a few refreshing juice drinks and a brief introduction to the resort we were shown to our room. Rooms are set like little pods in the grounds of the hotel, between the main looming construction and the ocean. Ours was right next to the beach, which could be seen from our bed through the curved wall of glass, What a view to wake up to?!
The hotel offered a whole host of activities and a beautiful pool with a little bar where you could swim away with a fresh coconut. But with such a beautiful stretch of coastline it would have been a crime not to grab one and return back to our favourite spot….a quiet spot with a view to die for. It became the perfect place for soaking up the belting midday heat, working on our tans which were slowly becoming a deeper shade of conker, and getting in a good stint of reading. Knowing that in just a week’s time we would be back in the rat race of the big smoke with spare time sparse, our peaceful and idyllic time at Ocean Paradise was a precious thing to be savoured.
The best of Ocean Paradise is still to come. Watch out for the next post on A Stylish Review to see the real jewel in the Ocean Paradise crown.