This is a story that I told a lot over the summer, so you may have heard it. But I wanted to put it up here, you know – for posterity.
At the end of our two-year Tanzanian adventure, we built a few days on Zanzibar into our schedule. We had to leave Masasi about a week before our final departure from the country, because we had meetings in Dar es Salaam. We used a few remaining vacation days to tack on a trip to Zanzibar. It gave us a little incentive to look forward to during all the packing, selling, and donating.
So we were going to Zanzibar. Where to stay? In general, we tend to like "authentic" places, with a bit of a local flair. But we wanted to be on the beach, so Zanzibar Coffee House was out. We'd stayed at Robinson's Place on our first trip to Zanzibar, and loved it. It's got a perfect flavor of laid-back authenticity. But it was closed for renovations at the time. So that left us at square one in terms of finding a place to stay.
And actually, when we got down to talking about it, we weren't really all that interested in "going local" this time around. We'd kind of had enough of local. We wanted civilization, pure and simple! Neither of us had ever felt a strong draw to stay at an all-inclusive resort, but now we did. We wanted to be take care of - waffles for breakfast and rooms with A/C…ahh! We decided that we would pick one of the big resorts on the East Coast. A colleague recommended a website, and we picked a three-night vacation package with one of those Thomas Cook-type holidaymaker companies.
I think our reticence about all-inclusive stemmed from a slight fear that the resort would be filled with chirpy Activity Directors bouncing around, calling for "one more game of water polo, guys!!!" In fact, there were very few organized activities, and we pretty much stuck to our habits of using vacation time to catch up on sleep, do a lot of reading, and just hang out together.
The only special event that I remember was on one night, when the resort arranged for a Maasai show to demonstrate the tribal traditions of chanting and jumping. A man from the resort staff introduced the Maasai group, in English, of course. The hilarious thing was that we understood the Swahili that the MC spoke to the Maasai “warriors”.
The script called for the MC to present various members of the Maasai tribe. So, for example, he needed to showcase a Maasai child. Quickly, under his breath, in Swahili he asked, “Where is the child?” The Maasai group answered, “There is no child here today.” MC: “Okay… you. [indicating to one Maasai guy] You’re short. You’re the child today.” The short guy stepped forward, and the MC switched back to English to give a pretty simplified, glossy blurb about the role of children in Maasai society.
As you can imagine, H and I were pretty tickled by the time he got around to introducing Maasai women. And then the MC told the resort guests this:
“And now we have Maasai mama. Maasai mama, she beautiful and wear lots of beads. She try to have lots of children to help with the herds. Maasai they live in Kenya and Tanzania, but they move around. Maasai now also available in Uganda. Everyone, give big round of applause for Maasai Mama!”
We were falling apart with laughter. Now also available in Uganda!!!
So that evening was a delightful night of unintentional comedy in the midst of a very pleasant few days. Overall, we really enjoyed our all-inclusive experience at the PlanHotel Neptune Pwani Beach Resort. The food was really good. The grounds were immaculate. The shoreline was, as always, stunning. And best of all, the staff was very kind, relaxed, and charming… and best of all, funny!!