The Sights and Kites of Paje

Paje and Paradise both start with the letters ‘pa’. Coincidence? Yeah, probably, but the tiny village of Paje, on Zanzibar’s southeast coast, is certainly a lovely place to spend a few days. So that’s what I’ve been doing – bludging by the pool, bludging on the beach, and acting more like a lazy tourist than the high-octane adventure traveller that everyone knows and loves.

Paje moves pretty slowly at the best of times, but it’s like Stephen Hawking on a treadmill at the moment because of Ramadan. A lot of the restaurants and hotels are shut, but I didn’t let that stop me from getting epically smashed within hours of arriving. I found a beach bar that serves icy cold bottles of Kilimanjaro and Safari, and did my best to bolster the economy while breaking my liver. I must’ve done well, because I woke up on a banana lounge in a resort that certainly wasn’t my own, wearing a sombrero. Ladies, I’m single!

I dashed out of the pool area moments before a couple of very large black gentlemen came over to throw me out, and wandered through the blurry streets, trying to make my way home. A few people I didn’t recognise said hello to me, and I pretended to remember what I’d done the night before. It was a walk of shame, Tanzania style. I’m just glad my arsehole wasn’t sore.

The beaches here are grouse, with powdery white sand, striking blue water and plenty of palm trees. After two months travelling, it was a relief to throw my towel down, whip off my clothes and settle in for a super-sized serving of sun. It would’ve been more relaxing without having some little bloke rock up to offer me weed or sunglasses every six seconds, but it’s the third world, what do you expect?

The sand is swarming with cows and elaborately-dressed Swahili gentlemen, who wander around in their red robes, clutching their big sticks in their hands. No, they’re not out there wanking, they’re holding actual sticks, which make them look like wizards. It’s definitely an unusual sight, but all part of Zanzibar’s unique charm.

The rustic beachside resorts, with their shimmering pools and comfortable cocktail bars, contrast sharply with the tiny villages and shacks that wind along the beach. It’s interesting to trek through them, waving to children and dodging motorbikes. Everyone was yelling out, “Jambo!” to me, which I assumed meant fuckwit was pleased to discover simply means hello. Thanks, guys!

The afternoons get bloody windy in Paje which, combined with the calm waters off the beach, makes it one of the best spots on the planet for kite surfing. Most days see 50 or 60 boarders out on the water, and it definitely looks fun. It’s basically paragliding for people who are scared of heights, but I didn’t tell any of the enthusiasts that in case they decided to wedge their board up my arse for doing so.

Yeah, Paje might make me feel like a tourist, but after rocking and rolling all over Africa that might be exactly what I need. I mean, what’s the point of going overseas if I can’t send photos of me relaxing on a perfect tropical beach back to all those people sufgering through the frigid Sydney winter? Don’t worry, I’m enjoying this enough for everyone!

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