Tag Archives: Africa

Reflections on Africa

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Well, the dream is over and the adventure is nothing but a memory. I’m back home in Australia, it’s about nine degrees, and I can’t help wishing that I was still exploring strange lands on the other side of the world. My two months travelling through the Dark Continent have come and gone, and the astonishing landscapes and beautiful people of Africa are now thousands of kilometres away, but the things I experienced and the people I met will always be a part of me.

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Africa was never a place I really wanted to visit, largely because the Australian perception of the continent is one of death and violence and chaos. Even leading up to my trip, I kind of felt like it was a place I should visit, rather than one I was actually passionate about seeing. That changed the moment I stepped foot in Africa. For that reason alone, it was the most surprising place I’ve ever been to – and my journey through Africa turned out to be the most enjoyable overseas trip I’ve ever had. If you’re tossing off up about going, just book a flight over there and go for it. Where else can you climb a mountain, dodge a carjacker, get chased by a lion and get smashed on great beer in the same afternoon?

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I was very aprehensive about what would welcome me in Cape Town, and was worried about even making it from the airport to my hotel. The slums that slid past the bus window as I stared out in wide-eyed wonder did nothing to ease my apprehension, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the city. It’s certainly troubled, but it’s also overflowing with incredible hiking trails, lovely beaches, top restaurants and pubs, and some truly special women.

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They call Cape Town the gateway to Africa, and it was the perfet entryway to the place. After renting a shitty Hyundai that even a sex offender would be embarrassed to drive, I found the rest of SA to be even more incredible. The rugged coastline, the misty mountains, the freaky animals, the beer, the dried meats, the gigantic fruit – dude, the place rocks. And despite having a reputation for being knob-jockeys, I found the Saffas to be the kindest, most helpful people I’ve ever met. Of course, I’m not black, which might have something to do with it.

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Through the remote mountains of Lesotho, across the rolling hills of Swaziland, past the wild waters of Zimbabwe and shambling dead of Zambia, the beating heart of Africa entranced me and caused me to fall madly in love with the place. It’s no wonder that people have been travelling around the world to explore the wilds of Africa for so many years. It’s the sort of place that draws in the adventurous, the open-minded, and the lost.

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In Malawi I found a special place surrounded by mountains, where the water is crystal clear and full of neon fish and lethal parasites. On the beaches of Cape Maclear I found peace and happiness in a place where few people have ever been. I visited so many memorable places in Africa, but the Cape tops them all, and the memories of the week I spent there will always bring a smile to my face.

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After living amongst poverty and desolation, it was strange to end my journey on the tropical beaches of Zanzibar and Mauritius, where most people are most definitely tourists and not travellers. It would be wrong to call these places let-downs – they’re incredibly beautiful and I highly recommend both destinations – but it was disappointing to be back in civilisation, having given left the remote backwaters and interesting people that are inevitably drawn to them.

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It was a privilege to cross paths with people having their own adventures in strange lands, and I cherish the friendships I made with people I’ll probably never meet again. It’s surprising how strong the bonds between travellers can be – when you’ve got nothing and no one to tie you to your normal life, that dude or dudette you bumped into at the hostel can feel like a lifelong friend. And that’s what travelling is really about – meeting people from different backgrounds and becoming a part of their life for a day or two.

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Oh, and what happened to Prince Imotep, the Nigerian royal who sent me an email asking me to help him move his millions, thus kicking off this who adventure (before promptly being forgotten)? I dunno, let’s just say he came through, sent me the money, and I’m now so rich that I own a helicopter and one of those fancy Japanese sex robots. How that for an awesome through-story with a satisfying and believable conclusion? I really should be a Hollywood screenwriter or something.

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I wandered through Africa for two months, but it’s only since returning home that I’ve truly felt lost. There’s a line in the Third Eye Blind song Deep Inside of You that goes, ‘I’d walk with my people if I could find them’, and I think that for a while I was in-step with people I have something in common with.

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Oh well, there’s no time to wistfully ponder my time in Africa – I’m heading to Bali in a few days for a month of paragliding, drinking, and being awesome. What can I say, it beats sitting in the office.

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Hey, Mr Tamarin man, play a song for me!

I don’t have a lot of luck when it comes to climbing mountains, so I was tempting fate when I decided to spend one of my final days on the Drunk and Jobless World Tour of Africa hiking up Mt Tamarin. The monolith looms large over the southeast coast of Mauritius, and I set out to conquer it under brilliant blue skies, hoping the bad weather would hold off long enough for me to make it to the top. I’m happy to say that I made it all the way, and it was fucking amazing.

Climing up Mt Tamarin isn’t easy or completely legal, so I was grateful for the advice I found right here. The track runs through private land, meaning there are a few obstacles in between an adventurous climber and the summit.  I had to start by clambering up to the top of a massive retaining wall surrounding a water reservoir, before sliding underneath a barbed wire fence. The track then weaved through dense forest, and up harsh, rocky terrain. It’s not a walk for the feint of heart, but anyone willing to brave the dangerous conditions is in for a helluva time.

The track is very bloody steep and I had trouble scraping up the side of the mountain, and the journey was made harder by the sweltering conditions. I finally burst out of the jungle and found myself high abve Tamarin, looking down at the shining bay and gloomy salt mines. I kept working my way up whilst gazing in awe at the outrageous mountains that reached for the skies on all sides of me. The views just kept getting better and better, and I couldn’t wait to reach the summit.

The track isn’t long, just a few kilometres, but provides a great workout because of how tough it is. There are no steps or railings, just a track that a goat would struggle to make it up. I slid down the hill a few times and cut myself up a bit, but chicks dig bruises, so I was cool with it.

The approach to the top is as steep as the price of a beer in a Sydney pub, but there are a series of ropes to cling to in order to make the ascent possible. After struggling to the very top, I just stood there and looked out at one of the best views I’ve ever seen (well, outside my bedroom). Bustling villages, golden beaches and endless reefs opened up beneath me as I gawped in wonder, struggling to process the beauty of what I was seeing.

Mauritius is such an incredible country, with so much natural splendour, but the majority of people who come here see little more than their resort’s deck chairs and all-you-can-eat buffet. By pointing yourself towards something that looks interesting – like that big damn hill I kept seeing at the end of Flic-en-Flack beach – it’s possible to discover some absolutely life-changing spots.

Unfortunately, a bit of a wind popped up and blew away all of my clothes, but I didn’t let that ruin my afternoon and still managed to take a series of photographs of myself. Actually, that’s a lie – Mark, a deeply religious friend of mine who is at constant odds with himself due to his rampant homosexuality, offered to give me $10 if I’d take some rudie nudie photos of myself. I’m not complaining; it’s the best money I’ve made in months.

The climb to the top of Mt Tamarin certainly isn’t for everyone – it’s tough, kinda dangerous and probably illegal – but it’s also just about the best thing I’ve done in my time in Mauritius. It’s not a tourist attraction, it’s a spot for the adventurous to test themselves and explore a place that not a lot of people have ever been to. I highly recommend it but, ah, if the cops catch you, don’t mention my name, alright?

Welcome to the Mau-chine

As I toasted the end of another wonderful Mauritian day with a six pack of Phoenix on the beach, I put on the Pink Floyd album Animals and lay back as the sun bled into the sea. It felt appropriate, because that album is the only thing as surreal as the evening beauty of this country. The guitars were wailing and the dogs were howling when I felt a tap on the shoulder, and turned around to see a little bloke with a big smile on his face.

“You like Pink Floyd?” he asked. I thought the answer was obvious, but I told him that that yes, I do enjoy their unique style of guitar-led rock and roll. “You should come to Pink Floyd concert tonight. Just five kilometres from here. You will have wonderful time.”
He handed me a little flyer with a picture of Pink Floyd on it, and I immediately punched the sky. I’ve been a massive fan of Floyd for years, but have never had a chance to see them, so I couldn’t believe how lucky I was that they were playing just down the road from me in Flic en Flac. I cranked up the music, cracked open another can, and prepared myself for an epic evening of progressive rock.

The buses stop running early in Mauritius, so by the time I’d swilled enough booze to poison a wombat and decided to head out, my feet were my only option. I’m telling you, it’s not easy to dodge nutty Mauritian drivers on a dark back road after smashing 11 cans of beer, but somehow I made it to the concert just as the band was launching into In the Flesh? I was nearly dying of thirst after my epic five kilometre treck, so I fronted up to the nearest bark, waited in line for 20 minutes, and finally told the little barman to pour me four of his coldest beers. I was licking my lips like Rolph Harris in a pre-shool – I couldn’t wait to sink some piss!

“Where you ticket?” the barman asked me as I waved a few hundred rupees in his face. Apparently I had to trade my real money in for some stupid tickets called FunBux, and the line for FunBux was about 100m long. Pink Floyd had already blasted through Wish You Were Here and Run Like Hell by the time I joined the back, and while I was standing in line like a chump thay raced through Time and Money, so I was worried the concert would slide by before I’d even had a chance to get shitfaced. The Mauritians, it seems, could not organise a root in a brewery (or something like that).

I finally scored a fistful of booze somewhere in the middle of a 45-minute rendition of Echoes, and moved into the crowd to find some attractive young island dwellers who might want to spend the evening looking at the dark side of my moon. Mauritius might be multi-ethnic, but I was pretty much the darkest person there, and I struggled to find anyone young enough to be able to work a computer without calling their grandchildren for help. After dirty dancing with someone’s grandmother for the entirety of Young Lust (she put her hands down my pants after I sang, “Oooooo, I need a dirty woman!”), I finally stood back to check out the band.

Dave Gilmour was a bit darker than I thought he’d be, and I was surprised to see that Roger Waters had a pineapple-like haircut and colourful boardshorts. Nick Mason had obviously decided to become an overweight Indian since the band’s heyday, and Rick Wright looked quite sprightly for a man who’s been dead for nine years. I turned to the dude next to me and asked, “Is this a fuckin’cover band?” He just looked at me like my dick was hanging out of my shorts.

As far as cover bands go The Mauritian Tribute to Pink Floyd are no worse than the countless Balinese bands who play Wish You Were Here on a loop to bored tourists. In fact, they were bloody brilliant instrumentally, but struggled with the words, leaving Roger Waters’ brilliant lyrics sounding like the words of a homeless man at a glory hole. I found some fellow Aussies to get smashed with and was comfortably numb by the end of the night (despite the lines at the bar), so I can’t really complain.

As I was staggering out after the final song, I got talking to a tall, grey-haired bloke who seemed to be a big fan of Pink Floyd.
“I never got to see the real band play,” I lamented, while stepping over a stray dog.
“That’s a shame,” he replied. “I’ve seen more Floyd concerts than just about anyone.”
“Bloody hell, you must’ve met the band members and everything.”
“Just once or twice.”
“But still, I think those fellas made a decent effort to be like Pink Floyd. I could’ve sworn that was Roger Waters up there on bass.”
“Really?” the silver-haired gentleman asked with a smile. “I don’t think he looked the least bit like me.”

Black River Gorge-ous!

Whenever I climb a mountain, it rains. When I climbed Mount Field, it stormed. When I climbed Ulsanbawi, it poured. When I climbed Le Pouce, it pissed down. So when I decided to hike to the top of Black River Gorges National Park, in the south of Mauritius, I was ready for things to get a bit wet – and that’s exactly what happened. Honestly, I could end droughts by travelling the world and walking up hills.

I got dropped off at the Grand Bassin Hindu Temple just as the storm clouds were rolling in, and I was shocked to find a gaggle of hideous mutants hanging around. There was a bizarre monkey-man, a sexy mermaid, and even a terrifying elephant-headed creature. I felt like I was in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and half expected Bebop and Rocksteady to turn up and start punching my head in. It’s a nice, peaceful place, and I really got to soak in the atmosphere as I huddled under cover from the rain for 45 minutes.

Just up the road are a couple of 30m-tall statues of Shiva and his missus. They’re quite spectacular, and can be seen towering over the landscape for miles around. The Grand Bassin is a place of pilgrimage for the 600,000 Hindus in Mauritius, and these two statues are the most sacred things in the whole country. I was mightily impressed, but Mrs Shiva was definitely looking a little bit frustrated – most likely because her hubby is wrapped up in scaffolding at the moment, so they can’t root.

The Petrin entrance to Black River Gorges is a short 5km hike from the Shiva statues, and I covered it in record time due to the squall picking up around me. Once through the gates, I followed the well-maintained path up through dense foliage towards the top of the mountain. It’s around six kilometres to the Macchabee View Point, in the centre of the park, and the walk passes epic waterfalls and jaw-dropping canyons. Even with the poor weather, the park was a sight to behold.

Here’s a tip for you; if you’re lazy and don’t want to hike straight up a very steep mountain, enter from Petrin and head west towards Black River. It’s a much easier walk to Macchabee than going in the other direction – the poor bastards I saw coming from the Black River entrance looked like they’d been through 10 rounds with Aussie boxing hero Jeff Horn. The trip down that path was hard enough, and there were plenty of times when I almost tripped over and busted my arse on the sharp and slippery rocks that litter that ground.

The weather was getting worse the longer I hung around the park, so I was forced to hotfoot it out of there so I could find some shelter. I scooted off to the main road and leapt onto a bus bound for Flic en Flac, then held on tight as the driver did his best to crash the fucking thing into any pedestrians, dogs or cars he could find. The mad bastard did actually sideswipe some bludger’s car, but kept right on going. Mauritius might be a relaxed place, but the bus drivers are absolute nutters.

Thankfully, by the time I got back to the beach the clouds had cleared and I was able to pick up a few icy cold cans of Phoenix to sip while enjoying another life-affirming sunset. The weather around here might be as temperamental as a teenager, but when it’s nice it’s very bloody nice indeed. Don’t worry, I’ll have a beer or three for you!

Flic en Flac (yes, that’s the actual name of an actual place)

I’ve been to some oddly-named beaches over the years – Tasmania’s Eggs and Bacon Bay stands out – and I think I’ve found the weirdest of all time. It’s called Flick en Flack, it’s on the west coast of Mauritius, and it’s a pretty groovy place to hang out and smash a few beers. Just look at these photos, it’s awesome. Mainly, though, it’s fun to just say the name over and over again.

There’s one long beach that stretches for kilometres, plenty of palm trees, clear water, and golden sand that is mostly free of rubbish and dead birds. There are a few resorts along the water, which means there’s no shortage of plump Russians slowly turning crimson in the tropical sun. I can’t afford to stay in any of the resorts, so I’m looked down upon by the rich Europeans sipping their expensive cocktails, but I figure I won’t be the one having a heart attack in the next two months, so I win.

Yep, Flic en Flac is a top little town, and I reckon it’s a lot nicer than Grand Baie because the beach is better and it’s a bit quieter. I also prefer it because I saw three sets of boobies today. Mauritius is definitely a place where couples come to kiss each other, so a handsome single man like myself has to take what he can get. And what I’m getting right now is pissed on cheap cans of Phoenix while watching the sunset, so enjoy these photos… or just feel jealous of me. How’s the weather where you are at the moment?

Le Pouce… It’s French for ‘Le Pouce’

After making the most of a case of mistaken identity, I was looking forward to a night of rampaging rumpy-pumpy that would put Soviet war crimes to shame, but it wasn’t to be. It turns out Pierre has an 11-inch donger, so the lass I was with realised I’d pulled the old switch-a-roo as soon as I dropped my shorts and started gyrating in an erotic fashion. After getting kicked out of her hotel room, I realised that I’d pissed off a lot of people during my short time in Grand Baie, so I thought it would be best to get out of town and hide out in the mountains.

The biggest hill in the north of Mauritius is called Le Pouce – literally, The Thumb – and sits on the outskirts of the capital of Port Louis. I jumped on a bus and headed down there, and found a bustling city far removed from the postcard-perfect beaches that surround it. Port Louis is a bit like your sister – it smells like an open sewer, won’t win any beauty contests, and has 149,194 people in it. There are pretty parts, such as the recently-renovated waterfront and some areas full of colonial buildings and delightful trees, but it’s not an overly inspirational place.

It doesn’t take long to walk from one side of the city to the other (although dodging motorbikes and stray dogs makes for an exciting stroll) and I soon found myself surrounded by rainforest as I climbed up towards Le Pouce. The summit is 812m above sea level, and the walk is fairly steep in parts. It’s a pleasant stroll, but there’s no opportunities to look back over the city, so there’s no great payoff unless you make it to the top. And I, well, didn’t.

Basically, I ran out of time, it started raining, I needed to do a wee, my pants fell off, I thought I saw a dinosaur and got scared… which meant I didn’t make it all the way to the top. Tip for anyone wanting to head up from Port Louis – it takes more than the two hours some dickheads on the internet will tell you. It’s at least three up and two down. The view from 500m, where Le Pouce spurs off, isn’t brilliant, and offers only glimpes of the rest of the island. The fact the weather was rubbish didn’t help, either. Thankfully, a dude I met at last year’s International Travel Blog Awards, Austin Cheeseman, has been to the top, and was kind enough to share his photos and memories of Le Pouce. Take it away, Austin…

Hi team, Austin here *fist bump*. I climbed to the top of Le Pouce three years ago with my then-girlfriend Celia and 15 of our closest friends and family members – big crew, I know, right! The view from the top was spec-tac-u-lar, and when we got there I was so tired I dropped to one knee and proposed to Celia. Like, OMG, I know, right! The best thing is, she said YES *fist bump*!

I was SO HAPPY, but later that day, after returning from Le Pouce (did I mention how gorgeous the view was?) Celia took me to the side and told me she wasn’t ready for marriage and only said yes to save me the embarrassment 😥 I was CRUSHED 😥 😥 😥 Unable to deal with the heartbreak, I drank my sorrows away in a horrible bar and ended up having unprotected sex with a transgender prostitute *fist bump*. I felt horrible the next day as I walked back to the hotel room I was sharing with Celia, largely because my anus felt like a semi trailer had driven into it, been loaded up with coal, and then reversed back out, several hundred times. OMG, ouch!

When I walked into the room, Celia raced up and kissed me passionately *fist bump*, then told me that she loved me and wanted to spend her life with me *double fist bump* and that she did want to marry me *triple fist bump, even though I don’t know how that would work. Perhaps the third fist is the cock?*. We made passionate love (it was good to take a break from being on the receiving end) and I was SO SO SO HAPPY to have our relationship back on track. Yay, go us!

I’d like to say that we lived happily ever after, but it was not to be. It turns out the transgender prostitute had given me a nasty dose of chlamidia, syphilis, gonnorea and genital herpes , which I had then passed on to Celia. My now-former fiance threw me out of the house and burned all my possessions, leaving me no option but to live under a bridge and perform oral sex on homeless men and high court judges for 50c a go 😥 😥 😥 I was proud of my work, and often assured I was very good at it, but with the price of things these days I needed to devour half-a-dozen meaty schlongs just to afford a can of Coke, so the financial aspect just didn’t add up and I was forced to find alternative work as a high school teacher and attend therapy sessions five times a week.

After finally dealing with the trauma I had recently started a healthy and loving relationship with a wonderful lady *fist bump*, but your request for me to relive those horrible events has seen me revert to my old ways. As I write this, I’m downing a bottle of methylated spirits while a team of Thai ladyboys do their best to rearrange my anus into something that closely resembles a spilled bucket of Lego. Fuck you, fuck your blog, and fuck Le Pouce. Yes, the view is de-light-ful, but it’s just not worth the hassle.

Putting the Delicious into Mauritius

Women call me lots of things, from the West Gosford Wildcat to “Hey you in the bushes!” to names that aren’t fit to print in a family friendly blog such as Drunk and Jobless. But the most common name is The Mauritius Delicious, due to the fact that I have Mauritian heritage and am very tasty indeed. So when I decided to head over to Africa, it was a no-brainer that I would end up in the island nation of Mauritius, to trace my family roots. First stop, Grand Baie, in the north of the country.

I’ll get the obvious out of the way – the scenery is stunning, with countless perfect, palm tree-lined beaches, calm bays and pretty villages. It would be impossible to visit Mauritius and not be knocked over by how wonderfult it looks. This part of the island is too developed for my tastes, with lots of resorts full of fat cunts who probably won’t do anything more adventurous than visit the all-you-can eat buffet, but it still has a good atmosphere. I’ve certainly been to worse places.

Mauritius certainly doesn’t feel like Africa, and that’s because it isn’t really. The scenery is more reminiscent of Asia or the Pacific, and the culture is a mix between Indian and French – I’m surprised I haven’t seen a little bloke wearing cricket batting pads and a beret. In some places it looks completely first world, and in others it looks like a back alley in Bali, with open sewers and stray dogs. The public transport is all over the place and very slow, but the whole country seems to function reasonably well, especially compared to some of the desperately poor places I’ve been to lately.

The beaches are overflowing with tourists and locals, who seem to prefer bludging on the sand or getting pissed under trees to actually working. Come to think of it, I’ve never felt more at home! Most of the locals are of Indian heritage, but there are also a lot of black people with pineapple-like haircuts, and even a few people who look a bit like me and my family. No wonder the locals are so surprised when they give me a cheery, “Bonjour!” and I reply with an equally cheery, “G’day mate!” In fact, I fit in so well with the locals that I was mistaken for one.

After a nearly two day trip just to get here, the first thing I wanted to do in my ancestral homeland was get shitface, so I headed along to a beach bar called the Funky Banana or something like that. The important thing is that it was heaving with hot honeys. I took a look around, noted where the best talent was, and then swaggered up to the bar and ordered the cheapest beer they had.
“Of course, Pierre,” the little bloke behind the bar said. “Would you like me to put it on your usual tab?”
“Yes, I would,” I replied with a smile. “And since it’s such a good day to be Pierre, perhaps you could put that cheap swill back where you found it and get me a nice tall glass of the most expensive beer you have. Actually, make it two. Ta.”

I was skolling my stolen hard-earned beers when a big, tough-looking dude with plenty of tattoos and a packet of cigarettes rolled up in one sleeve came over. He looked me up and down and then leaned in close.
“Yo Pierre,” he snarled, and his breath smelled like he’d been snacking on dog turds all night, “you fucked my sister, so now we gunna fight.”
“Well, before you punch me I’d better let you know that I also fucked your mother, your grandmother, and your dad. That’s right, he’s gay,” I smirked, while the tough guy fumed. “But if you wanna fight me, Pierre, tonight, I’ll meet you in the toilets in half an hour. Now fuck off and buy a toothbrush.”

After grabbing another couple of beers and putting them on poor ol’ Pierre’s tab, I was sitting under a palm tree when a stunning, dark-skinned 18-year-old walked over, gave me a kiss on the cheek and sat down opposite me. Her tits were just about falling out of her top, and I had to smash one of my beers to stop myself from ejaculating in my shorts.
“You were wonderful last night, Pierre,” she said. “Are you up for round two tonight?”
“I most certainly am, love. In fact, it’s probably best that we get out of here right now. I’ll just pop to the bar to get a couple of roadies and we’ll head off. Is Moet alright with you?”

I gave the lass a good squeeze on the arse, and then we made our way out of the Funky Banana. In the harsh neon light of the club’s surrounds, I watched as a Porsche pulled up and a shockingly handsome fella climbed out. Our eyes met, and he came straight over to me, obviously speechless.
“Pierre, I assume,” I said, holding my hand out to my doppelganger.
“Oui oui,” he replied. “But how… what… you look just like me. It is like looking in a mirror.”
“We must be family, mate. I knew there’d be some stray members around here. Now as you can see, I’ve got my hands full, so I’ll have to get the fuck out of here. Thanks for the drinks and, ah, you might wanna stay out of the toilet for a while.”

Monkey Magic!

Paje is famous for it’s beaches, but that’s not all this Zanzibarean delight offers. The Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is all that’s left of the island’s indigenous vegetation, and is home to thousands of zany monkeys. As a primate fancier (no, not in that way) I was determined to head out to the park whilst staying in Tanzania. As I’ve been living on beer and pizza for the past week, I decided to ride a pushbike out there, and asked for one at my hotel’s front desk.

​”I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like,” sang a very camp black man, pushing an old-school fixed gear clunker out from the shadows. “It’s got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good. I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it.” Whilst oddly phrased, I thought it sounded like a good offer and started to say yes, when my new mate cut me off.

“You’re the kind of girl that fits in with my world. I’ll give you anything, everything if you want things.” The conversation had become uncomfortable, so I took the fucking bike and got out of there.

It took me about three seconds to realise the pushie was a piece of shit and was probably built back when the world was still black and white. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s first owner was a triceratops. If you know anything about my sex life, you’ll be aware that I refuse to ride anything that’s banged up and older than me, but I didn’t have any other options, so I rode that clunker 17km through farms and forests, up hills and around villages. I don’t reckon Lance Armstrong could guide that thing to see dealer, but I made it all the way to the legendary Jozani Park. Go me!

The jungle is as thick as an Arabian’s pubes, and I couldn’t wait to get amongst the trees and start tracking down monkeys. My plans were scuppered, however, when I was informed that I’d need a guide to take me out there. As an Australian, the thought of paying some dude to help me walk through the bush makes as much sense as paying some dude to root your girlfriend, so I told him that there was monkey on fire behind him, and ducked into the jungle when he turned around. It was far from the first time an imaginary flaming monkey has saved me.

Jozani is definitely pretty, with all sorts of ancient ruins hiding amongst the almost-impenetrable jungle. The paths are poorly signposted and meander through the vegetation, often disappearing into the swampland, so it wouldn’t be hard to get lost in there and end up having to marry a monkey. Actually, that sounds like a nice life; monkeys are always gobbling bananas, so they’d probably give great blowjobs. I bet a monkey’s never forced their husband to watch Orange is the New Black, either. Any monkeys out there, get in touch.

After traipsing through the jungle for half an hour, I stumbled into a clearing and realised that I was being watched by dozens of pairs of tiny eyes. Red colobus monkeys were perched in every tree, and a swarm of shifty-looking Sykes’ monkeys were hootin’ and hollerin’ and pullin’ themselves off. It was an incredible, and I felt like I was in a nature documentary as the wildlife lived wildly around me. 

Of course, that didn’t last long. I was sitting a metre away from a colobus and feeling at peace with the world when I heard gutteral screeching coming from the bush. I thought it might’ve been a herd of wildebeest, but it was something much worse – a bunch of Germans! They smashed through the bush, squawking away in their grinding voices, scaring all the monkeys away as they rushed to take selfies of themselves. My monkey friend gave me a worried look and then disappeared into the green while a fat, sausage-guzzling German ran after him. The moment was lost.

I left the krauts to continue their blitzkrieg on the bush, and crept through the bush on my own, finding monkeys everywhere I went. I’ve seen elephants, rhinos and giraffes over the past couple of months, but this experience was special because I was able to become completely immerses in the monkeys’ culture. After an hour or two I felt more simian than man. I was sitting in a tree, sharing a banana with a cute little critter named Kirk and contemplating dropping out of society, when the monkey placed his paw on me. He looked into my eyes, and I into his, and the message was clear. As much as we both wanted to spend our days in the trees together, I had to go back to my world. We were just too different.

I hugged the monkey, wiped a tear from my eye, and climbed back to the ground. I was miserable, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I looked back at the monkey and waved as the sweet sadness of departure washed over me. And then the contents of the monkey’s bladder washed over as the dirty bastard pissed into the afternoon sun. That’s the last time I give my heart to a fucking monkey.

Fish, fish, everywhere!

The water off Paje’s eastern coast is a bit like a Russian chick’s skirt; it looks brilliant, and any self-respecting bloke wants to see what’s underneath it. So today I grabbed my snorkel and went down below for a few hours. Oh, I’m talking about snorkelling, you sicko! And as you can see from these really, really, really great photos, I had a wonderful time in a place that looks like a computer screensaver.

I paid a dude a few bucks to take me out to the appropriately-named Blue Lagoon on his traditional fishing boat, and I felt like royalty as I lay back to relax while he struggled against the wind. By royalty I don’t mean that I felt like an inbred, just that it was nice to have someone do everything for me while I bludged around and looked out at the crystal clear water.

After docking, I dived into the ocean and was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of fish. Seriously, there were thousands of the bastards, and they weren’t shy. I swam right in the middle of a huge school and the fish kept bumping into me and trying to swim down my shorts. It jumped straight into my top five snorkelling experiences. If you’re a fan of aquatic magnificence, Paje is somewhere you really should check out.

There’s a massive array of fishes in all sorts of neon colours. Blue, red, green… alright, I guess you’re aware of the concept of colours. The water is incredibly clear, and splashig around off the coast of Zanzibar is an underwater encounter I will never forget (along with that time I porked a mermaid, of course).

Whilst I enjoyed myself, a fellow snorkeller didn’t have quite such a pleasurable morning. The wind picked up and my little sailor man beckoned me back to the boat, paddling it impressively against the awful conditions. As we chopped through the waves I could see some dunce swimming straight towards us, obviously on a collision course. I tried to shout out to him but he was underwater and couldn’t hear, and had no idea the boat was there until the side wing of it bounced off a wave and clonked down on top of his head. I laughed. So if you’ve got a family member who’s in Paje and isn’t answering their phone, uh, sorry.

All up, it was a brilliant day in the sun, checking out one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever been lucky enough to explore. Zanzibar is a big tourist destination for Europeans and (rich) Africans, but isn’t really on the radar of most Australians. It should be. This island is a mix of the old, untouched Bali that so many people fondly remember, and the still-unspoilt Sri Lanka that a lot of people are just finding out about. In short, it’s as lovely as what’s under a Russian girl’s skirt… well, maybe not that lovely, but it comes close.

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!