Chocolate. Of the Belgian nature. Chocolate has such a curing effect. Broken hearts, lost causes, failures, rejection-chocolate always seems to solve it all. Right now I am full off of chocolate mosse–eaten at one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in TZ. Life is good. So much nice food. The other day I had the biggest craving for my normal diet staple, rice and beans. So much so that I ordered it for dinner. The waiter literally laughed in my face, unforgivingly, “we don’t have that here.”
I am currently in Stone Town. Stone Town is awesome, much better than the beach. I always like the idea of the beach, and then I go and there is just sand in all the wrong places (it gets into EVERY crack–not good), not to mention the stickiness. Combine that with a slight fear of water and you have a person (me) who is not well adapted for such an environment. Stone Town is great though. It reminds me of Prague meets Istanbul (with more mold on the buildings). There are tall buildings and get-yourself-lost (which we did) streets everywhere.
Because it is so touristy, there are lots of great things to buy here. At one point we entered what looked like a designer African dress shop. The dresses were made out of local kitenge fabric and they were selling for $175!! Oh my stars! I tried to take a picture of it so I could just go and buy the fabric myself and have my fundi (tailor) make it for me for maybe $7 (if that much), but the dude yelled at me. It blows my mind that tourists actually will spend that much on what they think is “designer” Africa, and that the people here would take advantage of them like that. On re-evaluation, tourism is the backbone of this country, and if they can get away with charging that much, more power to them. Just hope you’re not the schmuck handing over the dough I guess.
The Celine Dion power ballad, “It’s all coming back to me now” keeps running through my head. In training something called reverse culture shock is often mentioned. This is culture shock felt after the PC, on the return to America. Often more intense, people say, than initial culture shock upon arrival in the host country. Yesterday, at the beach house, the electricity went off for a short period of time. We all were indignant about it. I kicked myself in the pants thinking about how this is how I live on a daily basis. It is crazy how fast things like running water, electricity, good transportation, etc. can become such a habit so fast.
After this experience, I am not at all worried for reverse culture shock. It all comes back to you so fast. The surprise of having electricity and hot water may wear out fast upon my return home, but I hope that my being grateful for it never is lost. They always say that you don’t really know how much something means to you until it is gone, so even when I become accustomed to having it again, I hope I never forget the 2 years I lived reading by candlelight, hoarding water, and taking bucket baths. I certainly am grateful for the safiness that is my life right now.
Only one more day of it. Spice tour tomorrow, and then homeward bound. Apparently my mom was unawrae that I didn’t have a western style toilet at my site, “you mean there is only a hole in the ground?!” she exclaimed.
“It has porcelain! That is classier than most volunteers’ sites toilets,” I shot back.
Ha, this is going to be interesting. Mama Sarah, going to the bush…