The Zanzibar Assassain


Zanzibar is a beautiful spice island off the coast of Tanzania. I was lucky enough to spend a few days there after a safari through Botswana. The hotel that I was at was on the far end of the island, almost a two hour ride down back roads and through jungles. The nearest hotel was miles down the beach and far out of site. It also turned out that I was the only guest the entire time I was there. Zanzibar is an incredible place, the beach is beautiful, the people are kind, and the scuba diving is world class. It is made even better by the unbelievable tide that they have. At high tide the ocean was right up next to my hut, only 50 feet away from my front door. At low tide the water went out over a mile. A boat that was sitting in 20 feet deep water during breakfast was beached and sitting a half mile from the ocean around lunch time. I spent my first day scuba diving and intended to spend my second day relaxing. Relaxing to me means a combination of three things: cigars, books and booze. I had stocked up on Cuban cigars in Kenya and was being supplied with mojitos from the bar. You’ll recall that I was the only person at this hotel so it was very easy for him to keep them coming. I positioned myself in a hammock strung between two palm trees. It was paradise, drinking cocktails with an African beach all to myself. That was when the assassin struck. Wikipedia will tell you many facts about the red colobus monkey. It omits the fact that these monkeys hate cigar smoke. They don’t just dislike it, they hate it. It also omits the fact that these monkeys are quiet, devious and have a good arm with a coconut. I was laying back in my hammock, cigar in mouth, drink in hand when I heard a thud in the sand next to me. I looked over and saw a green coconut in the sand next to my hammock, about 10 inches from where my head was casting a shadow. These green coconuts are about 3x larger than the hard brown ones we get at US grocery stores. One hit to the head with one of those and you are never getting out of your hammock. I looked up to see the devil monkey staring at me and attempting to wrench another coconut off the branch with one hand while pushed away my smoke with another hand. Apparently the monkey had been sleeping in the tree and been awoken by the smoke. I rolled out of the hammock and ran right as the cheeky fellow pulled off his second coconut and took aim. He never released his second weapon, and I managed to relocate to another hammock. It just goes to show that you can’t ever let your guard down!

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