NungwiOur minibus ride north to the beach village of Nungwi was as eventful as always. Another budding F1 driver, trapped on the minor race circuits of Africa. We had taken the advice of our bi-polar guesthouse owner and booked a tourist minibus on the pretence that we would have extra room inside and a space for luggage on the roof so we wouldn't have to nurse our bags. This was not exactly the case. When the bus arrived to collect us from the hotel, it was already full of bags and people, and it then became a typical 3-dimensional jigsaw to shift things about and squeeze the extra 4 people and their luggage in. Loaded up and with minimal space to breath we headed off. Kaz and I had been crammed in the front adjacent the driver, we perhaps had a touch more room than those in the back, but with our knees resting on the dash we had front row seats for the horror show that was unfolding. The driver was insane, driving at mach1, swerving to miss the endless trails of potholes when he could and overtaking blindly at every opportunity. Had he not stopped for a flat tyre, no doubt a direct result of his erratic driving on what you would most accurately call a sporadically tarred road, we would have pissed ourselves from fright. Indeed the height of the irony occurred when they were changing the tyre on the side of the road. As we stood their admiring the work of the pit crew (the obligatory tag-alongs that accompanied us on such buses) who had mastered the process and were obviously looking for an F1 gig themselves, the driver paraded around the vehicle warning us off the road and to watch out for crazy drivers.Thankfully we made it to Nungwi, a little shaken but still alive. Our tourist bus was meant to help us find a hotel, but after dumping us at the place where they receive the best commission they gave up.On first glance Nungwi was not what we expected, a dirty grimey little village, slightly bigger, but not dissimilar to Cape Maclear in Malawi. There were endless grass huts surrounded by rubbish, empty plastic water bottles and blue plastic bags everywhere. This was not the exotic paradise we were expecting, in fact we couldn't even see the beach.I sat Kaz down to mind our bags whilst I searched for some suitable accommodation. I made my way to the beach and suddenly I was blown away - there it was, paradise. It was amazing, beautiful in fact, fine white sand leading down to crystal clear turquoise water. It was in some ways like a dream. In places the sand was met by rocky outcrops, bars and restaurants perched on top and in other place verandahs sat on wooden stilts. It was low tide, but still idyllic and I wandered hurriedly along the beach enquiring about accommodation and looking for a good deal. Most were well above our budget and it was a painfully repetitive process but after a guy fobbed me off because he couldn't find the key to show me a room (typical Swahili laziness) he recommended a little place set back from the beach that I otherwise would not have known existed. The room was nice, had a recently renovated but rustic African feel about it and most importantly, it was cheap.I went back to collect Kaz who an hour on had begun to wonder whether I had done a runner. We gathered our stuff, loaded up and began the walk to our new accommodation, problem was with all the running about I had become completely disoriented and we spent the next 20minutes wandering round in circles trying to find the place. Like tortoises, our entire homes strapped to our backs we trudged along the beach in the searing heat, whilst I tried to get my bearings- was I ever going to hear the end of this. Suddenly a familiar face appeared from nowhere, it was Calvin. He was sitting at a bar courting some Swedish tourists and had caught us wandering by. It was perfect timing for us, leaving our bags for him to mind whilst we finally found Casa Umoja, and after returning to collect our belongings agreed to meet back up for lunch. We dined on Langi Langi pizza with the Swedes, overlooking the water. Not long after arriving at Nungwi I realised I still had the key to our old room in my pocket and so called the owner of our previous guesthouse to let him know. I apologised, but he was jovial "it doesn't matter, its no problem, just return it when you come back to Stone Town" - maybe we had just misread the guy.It was a stinking hot day, not a cloud to be seen and Karen and I were craving the beach. We lay on the sand roasting in the intense heat. We had encountered some hot days in our travels but this was amongst the more extreme of them. It was a severe heat that stung us the moment we left the water, sweat beading instantaneously, but we loved it, this is what we were here for.Calvin and the Swedes joined us, and then in turn more Scandanavians, part of Cal's exponentially expanding network of friends on Zanzibar. As we sat there simmering, Cal turned to us and remarked matter of factly "You know I'm the holder of two world records", "whats that" I replied. "Most well travelled person in Spanish-speaking countries without being able to speak a word of Spanish; and being the most clueless person at the beach."I couldn't vouch for the first one, but with the second he wasn't far wrong, as I looked across at him towel-less, lying on the sand in his heavy denim shorts, mottled pink with sunburn, no sunscreen to be seen and his head resting on his bedroom pillow.Tonight was the famous Full Moon Party down the beach a short way at Kendwa Rocks. It wasn't due to kick off until late, so we rendezvoused early that evening at Chollos', an open air beach bar at Nungwi peculiarly shaped like the front of a boat. There we met more of Cal's circle of friends including Angeline and Richard, a young British couple on their gap year. After a couple of swift drinks we dined with Cal, the Brits and the Swedes back at Langi Langi. It was well known as one of the better restaurants in Nungwi, but mostly we went there because it was Muslim owned, refusing to sell alcohol but allowing BYO, a big backpacker money saver considering the overpriced grog elsewhere.The night getting on, we caught a minivan to the party down at Kendwa. By the time we arrived it was heaving, hundreds of people scattered along the beach and around the bar pumping out tunes. It was a great setting, the white sand glowing under the light of the full moon and after commandeering a table we spent the night drinking cheap beer and even cheaper spirits, and chatting to our new friends. Our night was drawing to a close some time soon before sunrise, the local Rastafarians had all picked up, and bleary eyed we decided to make our way back to Nungwi. By now we were all starving, and surprisingly it was one time the entrepreneurial locals had not set up a food stall. They could've charged the earth and made a fortune, but instead the masses would be returning home to bed with empty stomachs.On arriving back at Nungwi, the town had shut down so again our chances of food were minimal. As we stood in front of a local shop pining for the goods inside, I jokingly suggested that we help ourselves and pretended to open the front door. Imagine our surprise when the door swung open, it was dark inside and there was no-one about, but after some brief discussions we inebriatingly concluded that the only reasonable thing to do was to help ourselves and leave what we assumed to be sufficient money on the counter. Whilst loudly and excitedly raiding the shop for Pringles, a security guard arrived, no doubt awoken from his post by the ruckus. We tried to explain the situation, but he didn't speak English and seemed overwhelmingly confused. Eventually though, not knowing what to do I suspect, he lent us his torchlight for us to see what we were pulling off the shelves, before we handed him a fistful of cash and went on our way. I would have loved to have overheard his explanation to the owner the following morning.Our bellies full and minds weary, it was time for bed. Calvin and the Brits were both leaving later this morning, so this was the last we would see of them. It was quite strange, in such a short time we had become friends and although we had a fantastic time we knew we would most likely never see these people again. Often in these circumstances travellers would exchange contacts and vow to reunite, but the stark reality of travelling is that you meet so many people in such a short time that you end up with a pocketful of emails that most often you cant remember who they belong to. Calvin knew this as well as any, he had been travelling for so long.There were no soppy goodbyes, he simply thanked us for the good times, wished us the best for the future, turned and disappeared into the darkness."A top bunch of people" I slurred to Kaz as we stumbled back to Casa Umoja. She agreed.The following day was not one of our best, the weather was fine and the beach as beautiful as ever, but we spent most the day nursing class 1 hangovers in bed. By lunch, I had made it to the local bakery for a take-away serving of vego lasagne, and by mid afternoon whilst Kaz slept a little more I managed an hour or so of beach time before settling into a local bar for an English Premier-League feast.Nungwi attracted an interesting mix of people, most recognisably, backpackers, female Swedish volunteers, and Italian package tourists. The locals consisted in the majority of the retracted muslim population, indolent Rastafarians that all looked like Bob Marley and spent most of their days sleeping under trees, and a handful of Masaai with a cultural identity problem. A couple of days on and Karen and I booked ourselves on a snorkelling day trip. The snorkelling was good and the day worthwhile given the lowly price tag, but it was run in a similar fashion and by the same local guys who spent their nights managing (I use the term loosely) the local beach bars. Generally they would all just get pissed and spend their time chatting up the females amongst the crowd. It was often hard to tell who was working and who wasn't, and if you didn't have breasts your chances of getting a drink decreased considerably. Like the bars, the day trips or sunset cruises were much the same, there was a certain number of paying customers and for each of them, a couple of locals simply along for the party. This in itself was not surprising, but the thing that continued to baffle us was why the women were drawn to these guys. Like flies to s***, hot single women clambered all over these Rastatutes. These Rastafarian male prostitutes, working for free and living the good life. Throughout our time in Nungwi, the girls would come and go, each night a new feast of women served up. I couldn't understand it, these toothless beach bums, high on pot and smelling of BO, I guess there must be some sort of romantic notion attached, but I would have thought the extremely high incidence of HIV in Africa would have quashed that.Kaz and I had a week of relaxation in Nungwi, and it didn't take long for us to settle into a routine. Our mornings and afternoons would be spent relaxing at the beach, reading our books and intermittently taking a dip, only the occasional rainstorm causing us to deviate from our habit and stray to the internet. We would lunch at the local bakery, a sort of community project run by an expatriate German lady. The fixed daily menu was cheap and delicious, and we looked forward to lunchtime. Late afternoon and we would take our first couple of drinks on the beach as the sea spectacularly swallowed the sun, and then after a quick freshen up, make our way to dinner. We tested a few restaurants, and were repeat customers at the ones we liked, feasting on octopus curry and freshly caught fish, and often dining by hurricane lamp on the sugary white sand with the subtle sound of the waters lapping against the shore. It was a romantic place, idyllic and thoroughly relaxing, we only wished we had more time.There were plans to meet back with Paul and Susie after our 10 days on Zanzibar, but their itinerary had changed and by the time our scheduled rendezvous came round, they were somewhere in Malawi. With no fixed itinerary it was becoming increasingly difficult for Kaz and I to catch up with them. We discussed several options, to meet them somewhere in Zambia, to travel through Zimbabwe by ourselves or to change our train booking and stay in Zanzibar. With the elections looming in Zim', in the end there was only one practical solution - it was perhaps a blessing in disguise. We decided to stay in Zanzibar for another week before making our own way to Zambia to meet my parents at Victoria Falls.Having settled on another week in paradise, we tossed around the idea of moving location and exploring Zanzibars' east coast, but in the end we couldn't imagine it delivering any better than the North and so we decided to stay put. The following week was spent much like the first, on the beach relaxing and soaking up the sun. I couldn't remember the last time we had just done nothing for so long, and even more disturbingly when we may be able to do it again. If it wasn't perfect, it was damn close to it. We ventured a little further afield at night discovering the Nungwi Inn Restaurant, the food was fantastic and the staff friendly and we dined there 3 nights out of our last 4.Towards the end of the week we met some more great people. Clare and Rachel from Oz had returned only months after visiting for the first time, it exemplified the sort of infectious place Zanzibar is, a potent addictive cocktail of sun, sand and seafood (and apparently Rastafarians). We also met John and Norman from Britain, an unconventional duo who we initially thought were gay (sorry guys). They were a fly by night sort of bunch, and for the first time since the full moon party we spent a couple of late nights at Chollos' partying by the beach.It was only a matter of days before we needed to be in Western Zambia. We were committed to meeting Mum and Dad on the 9th of April and although we could have easily stayed another week or two on Zanzibar it was time to leave. We caught our last of the rays, had our final dip in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and feasted once more at the local bakery, before rolling the dice of life and hopping on another minibus to Stone Town.We returned to Stone Town and Florida Guesthouse to find the place in disarray. The downstairs section, where our room had stood only 2 weeks prior was a mess of mud and wooden scaffolding, seemed a little extreme for a missing key. The flycatchers who had annoyingly clung to us by now called to our bipolar owner who waddled down the stairs. After staring blankly at us for a minute I stated "we're back, what happened to your place?", before he accusingly replied "you have my key, where's my book?", it was obvious from the state of the place he needed them. This immediately made me irate, "we've got them, why do you think we're here." We handed his things over before he barked he didn't have any rooms. He returned upstairs and we returned to the garden lodge, completely miffed by the d*** at Florida.We still had the flycatchers in toe, trying to convince us to go elsewhere and no matter what we said they persisted. Their presence was irritating me and I was generating a disdain for them usually reserved for vegetarians or non-drinkers.We had made plans to meet with Norman and John at Mercurys' and had a small amount of time beforehand to book our ferry for the following day. Unfortunately though the weather was pitiful and we scurried about town in between rainstorms. Whilst Karen met the others at the bar, I made my way to the ferry booking office, but it was closed for the day and half way back I was caught in a severe downpour and spent the next 20mins waiting under an awning. The rain eased sufficiently to make my way to the mostly open-aired bar, but even there it was cramped and windy and there were to be no sunsets that evening. We shared a few beers with the guys, and saw them off before a brief visit to pizza-man and bed.