Every time I land in a new country there is a period of transition; I’ve come to understand this now. A period where I miss the place I just left, struggle to figure out how to get to where I want to be, how to eat what I am hungry for, assess the prices of things in relative terms, scratch and shift uncomfortably in my new room. Such was the case in Zanzibar.
I arrived early in the morning off a red-eye. I was exhausted and dull. The air was thick with moisture. The sun was only just starting to inch above the horizon, but it was already hot. Africa hot. We used to say that as kids growing up in New York City on those unforgiving August days to describe our suffering in the weather – “it’s Africa hot.” We thought we were clever. Here in Zanzibar, I actually was in Africa, and it was actually Africa hot. I humped my luggage into my room and fell asleep.
When I come to shortly after noon, I shake off the sleep and step outside the hotel to survey the area. White sand stretches out to the horizon dotted with black reeds. Sea water pools along the coast line creating streaks of turquoise blue and moss green. Fishing boats sit abandoned in the sand. The tide is out. Far out.. At the horizon a strip of deep blue melts into the endless sky. The endless sky dwarfs the people beneath it. Dwarfs me. The world feels expansive. The air is still. Only the screeching of birds overheard reassures me that I haven’t stepped into a painting. There are no objects, only shapes. There are no inhabitants, only colors: turquoise, cream, black and green.
I walk slowly down the beach. Slowly because I am still tired and jet lagged, slowly because I am melting under the mid day sun, slowly because I am dumbstruck by the beauty stretched out in front of me and I need to take it all in.Continue reading “Before Us There Was The Sea”