The BIG Trip 2010/2011 travel blog

Mombasa's Giant Tusks

View from Fort Jesus


It came time for us to leave Zanzibar so up we got early, had breakfast and a met a taxi to take us to the airport. We had enough money with us to pay the taxi and that was all the money we had. The bank machines in Stone Town were either broken, empty of cash or not taking our ATM cards. The day before we had to cash-over whatever Euros and Kenyan money to pay for our hotel, a few trip purchases and supper. We just had to pray that the ATMs in Mombasa would work or...well...if hotels in Africa continued to ONLY accept cash..well I guess we would be sleeping in the streets.

We lined up at the ticket window at the airport only to find out that our plane flight for 10:00 was canceled. It would fly out later instead. We were welcome to put our feet up in the restaurant for the next 8 hours. What to do.....hmmmmm... The two women ahead of us heard our plight. Christine was on her way home to USA. Tammy was just dropping her off. Out of the blue Tammy volunteered to help us and Kate (who was also stuck with us) after she saw her friend off. Tammy turned into Super Tammy. She first drove us to the bank to see if we could sort out the cash flow problem. Then she lent us her cell phone so we could call our credit card companies to see if they would allow us to access larger sums as the ATMs weren't working. This took several calls and several times in line for service. But patiently Tammy waited and entertained us with stories of her time here in Zanzibar.

1.) The time as a diver/owner of Scuba Do she once found and resuscitated a 15 year old green sea turtle trapped in a fishing net by breathing into its nose while treading water.

2.) The time she got a call from a friend in London asking if she could get on a plane pronto from Zanzibar to Nairobi and to bring her cell phone. Seventeen people of 36 had been seriously injured in a large vehicle rollover in Rwanda and were being flown to Kenya for medical attention. Tammy was needed as a phone liaison between the patients and their families in England. While there, over two days, she also gave a litre of blood to an man (unrelated to the rollover) and rounds up the necessary other two litres he needed for surgery.

3.) The time Tammy saw a woman wandering the beach with only a bathing suit on. Turns out her hotel caught fire and EVERYTHING the woman owned-clothes, passport, money were gone. Tammy helped her out.

What a woman! Our little situation was nothing compared to those stories!

So back at the bank while Lynda was in line...a verbal argument broke out between two Africans. Tammy got in the middle of it to settle things out. Told the man he was rude to bust in line ahead of the woman. We just watched hoping that things weren't going to get out of hand. They didn't but it sure got loud. Tammy then lent us her cell phone to try phoning our Credit Card (reception only worked outside in the pouring rain - short rain). At any rate Tracy was able to get enough cash out to keep us in food and shelter for a few days and off we went to Old Town so British Kate could get a few pictures since she didn't get a chance to visit...oh and how about a stop at the market while I show you where the vendors all buy their produce in case you want to pick up a few souvenir WAY under regular price...and hey how about lunch....a traditional Zanzibar soup around the corner I think you are going to love it.

After a lovely day in town Tammy drove us all back to the airport in time for our late flight. We exchanged emails and grateful hugs. Tammy was a lifesaver really.

We hopped the plane (8 passengers in the whole plane)and landed in Mombasa a mere 50 minutes later. We originally booked the flight to avoid wasting a whole day by bus. By the time we reached our hotel in Mombasa we WOULD have already been there had we taken a bus...but we never would have had the great story to go with our time on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.

Oh.....and Tammy went home to spend the first night in two weeks alone with her husband whom she had married four days ago. She had entertained family and friend til the big day....one of their dogs walked her up the aisle. So if you ever want to learn to scuba dive...do we ever have a contact in Zanzibar for you! Scuba Do



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