Saturday, March 29, 2008

Finding the Clove Hotel

Here are the directions sent to me by the hotel via email to find the place:

From the Port to Clove is about a ten minute walk.
- If you come out of the gate (at the port) you turn right.
- first street left (before House of Wonders)
- We are in Hurumzistreet
You can ask people. Everybody knows Clove Hotel.

Then bear in mind that most streets in Stone Town are so narrow that cars don’t drive on them, bikes, motorcycles and two-wheel pushcarts are the largest vehicles.

So I get out of the gates and ask a policeman if he knows where the Clove Hotel is. He thinks a moment and starts rambling on in Kiswahili. I catch a few words here and there.

I stop to say to Lars and Kjersti that I am not very sure I will find my hotel. The taxi they have hired is saying to me, “Just get in.” But I know their hotel is the opposite way of mine. I ask if he knows the place, he says he will take them first and then he’ll take me to mine. Stubborn Jan says she’ll find it on her own. (I wasn’t going 4 miles out of the way and back.)

I start wondering along looking for the “first street left” back and forth along the shorefront. I stop to take a couple of photos so I don’t look lost. But if I ask a taxi driver they will want to take me. I know it must be kind of close. I come to a big building that has a sign: museum. Is this the House of Wonders? I stop a couple boys, greet them, slap the wall and say in Swahili, “This is House of Wonders?” The boys look at me and at the sign and say something about it being a museum. I keep going.

Aha! Mabati, (corrugated tin) walling off construction on both sides of the road. The policeman I asked has said something about mabati. I get to the edge of the next big white building. Four or five men call “taxi”. I turn to an older man, greet him in the Tanzanian way for respecting and elder and launch into my Swahili again. “I think I can go on feet, I am looking for Clove Hotel.” This man smiles broadly and says carefully to walk to the end of this parking area, turn right and go straight. I’ll see it. I thank him and away I go. Not more than 10 or 12 yards up that street and I’m there.

Hot, relieved and pretty proud of myself.


Anonymous said...

How inspiring! You shared with us another precious lesson that we can each recall whenever doubts threaten; a metaphor for life that teaches us how to live confidently following spirit guided intuition. Bless you, Jan.


Makaila said...

Well written article.