It was an early start as predicted with students ready for the bus by 5.45am. We were in good time for the ferry ... and then the mayhem began! To board the ferry there are all the checks of the airport ... passports, tickets, X-ray machines for all bags, metal detectors ... but none of the organisation ... it becomes a free for all ... we were clear with the students before we got there to stay close and stay tight and move fast ... and they didn't do a bad job but then there is the rush to get on the ferry with bags, trying to find space for suitcases whilst being battered and bashed by people who are all desperate to get the ferry ... its ten minutes of mayhem which if on your own or with one other would be fine but trying to get a group of students through is pretty out there! But just like last year we made it 😃
When I spoke to Sampson about the security and then the immigration cards on disembarking when we are in the same country he assumed that we go through the same rig-moral when entering Wales or Scotland which made me chuckle. We decided it was about ensuring that the authorities knew who had entered the island and left etc
Anyway ... the programme changed fluidly, as it has to in Africa ... we visited a mini market for provisions ... and after all my protestations about local produce I did succumb to a Bounty amongst my other produce! I told the kids I'd admit this on the blog 😃
Then we set off for the spice tour ... which was as fantastic as I expected ... seeing coffee, vanilla, white pepper, lemon grass, ginger, cloves, turmeric to name but a few in their natural condition ... and to taste them and lots of different fruits ... they tasted so good taken straight from the tree ... the mango was 'to die for' and Sampson got us some lychee to try as well which was new to most.
Then off to Stone Town for lunch ... we decided on Tanzanian take away ... a whole variety of things such as three types of samosas, pancakes, chicken (of course), naan breads, rices, fish and many more ... Something for everyone (to be honest most have eaten pretty well on the trip apart from Oli T but he has got by with snacks and bits ... I've tried to encourage him and he has tried a few things).
And then it was off to one of the highlights of the trip ... the mangrove lodge ... since we had been given the trip advisor photos the kids and I had been really excited by this part of the trip ... and it certainly lived up to expectations ... mostly but more of that in a mo ... we picked our dinner from a great list of local dishes including calamari , tuna nuggets, tandoori chicken ... and then to our rooms ... we got the kids settled first in their bungalows ... absolutely beautiful ... then Mrs A into her bungalow ... and then they say something to me about being fully booked and I'll have to stay in a Tanzanian staff room?? Fortunately we have now come to a compromise that I am happier with as that was very poor. The kids experience is amazing and they are having a great time ... and that is the main thing.
The beach is great, the sea is a pleasant temperature ... the kids had a great swim, throwing a ball, sunbathing etc ... then dinner was great ... we then had opportunity to buy some gifts from some traders
linked to African adventures and that was great because in a safe environment the kids had a chance to try their hand at haggling ... some with more success than others but they all had a go which was great.
Update on Oli T ... he ate really well at dinner ... he had tandoori chicken and the starter which was samosas and pakoras ... so well done to him ... he has responded to the encouragement and done well.
There was then a couple of hours of chill out time for all which they did on the hammocks ... chatting merrily away ... they really have gelled very well ...
So it has been a really pleasant day, the mangrove is fantastic (even has bushbabies in the garden ... they will make a chattering/laughing sound all night so warned the students about that so they don't think they are being invaded by something wild and dangerous 😃)
And so to bed ... hopefully will get to post another blog tomorrow ... out last full day in Tanzania ... good night for now. Mr L