Tag Archives: Paje

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!