Saturday, July 10, 2010

"We're in Africa"

We had only paid for an economy ticket on the ferry but the man stamped our ticket with first class which, once we got on we were very happy about. The first class cabin was upstairs and had larger seats than the downstairs one. I had never been on a boat like that in the ocean before and I wasn’t really sure what to expect but someone came around and started handing out barf bags so I didn’t take that as a good sign. I don’t usually get nauseous but we had some really rough waters (we were told that later by the captain) and it was like we were on a really bumpy roller coaster. Rachel was sitting next to a woman that had ridden over to Zanzibar that morning and said it was completely calm waters on the way in and that this was unusual. I took that as a good reason why I wasn’t feeling so hot. It may have also been hearing the noises of people around me throwing up. I never actually thought that I was going to get sick but I kept my eyes closed the entire 2 hours to Dar just making sure that I didn’t get sick. Turns out that the woman Rachel was sitting next to was getting a taxi near to the holiday inn that we were staying at so we all decided to share a taxi after the ferry. Once we docked and were downstairs, we realized that getting our bags was going to be very difficult. It was incredibly crowded and people were pushing and shoving every which way. They had no system in place for people retrieving their bags either so it was just a free for all (all of this information will make sense as to why something stupid happened). So Rachel and I had to carry our 100 lb bags off the ferry and up a few flights of stairs to get to the terminal where the taxis were. I literally thought my arm was going to come off and as lame as it sounds I kept telling myself that I could do it and that I was strong enough to carry these bags (I’m really not). When we finally made it into the taxi and to the holiday inn it was about dark. We exchanged information with the woman we had met and headed on our way.

While Rachel was checking in, the guy behind the counter said that he needed to see her passport and then asked to see mine too. I started looking for it where I always kept it in my purse and couldn’t find it there and then remembered that I had it in my pocket and then it wasn’t there either so I started to freak out inside. I set my things down and started going through my purse and my bags and still no passport. I was convinced that it had fallen out on the ferry or on the dock somewhere and was lost forever. I was sure that it had made it on the ferry because the man checked it while we were on our way but I didn’t recall seeing it after that. When we got up to our room Rachel went into problem solving mode and we got into contact (after much waiting) with the embassy and it was already closed and it was going to be closed the following day because of a national holiday and we were told that even after that it usually takes about 10 days to get a new passport issued to you. During that time you are not allowed to go anywhere or do anything really. So I was facing having to stay in Dar for the next 12 days because of losing my passport. We got on the phone with the people at the airlines to change my ticket and found out that it would be 200 to change the ticket and then another 200 to get it changed for the exact date that I needed it for. At that point, before I had to spend any money, I told Rachel that I wanted to go back to the port and look for myself for my passport. So we got a taxi back to the port and when we got there the captain was eating some ice cream in the lounge and we asked him if anything had been found and he said no, but again, I was going to need to see for myself. So we made our way back to the boat (I am carrying Rachel’s headlamp and flashing it on the ground as we walk, just to check). So we get on the boat and its pitch dark on there and we start to go upstairs and this guy is standing at the top of the stairs holding my passport! I literally started crying right then and was in total shock. I honestly think that is such a God thing because that is unbelievable that my passport fell out of my pocket and that it was still there untouched and he found it. We gave him lots of hugs and some money for finding it and then headed back to the hotel. It was getting late by then and we both really wanted to eat and shower. Neither one of us felt like going anywhere so we ate dinner at rooftop restaurant and watched Holland play and win in the world cup. We both had showers (best showers ever) and packed and got ready for bed because we had to be up at 5am the next morning for our flight at 730 to Johannesburg.

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