Subscribe to Mambo Magazine
The sunny side of the rainy season
So, why does Snoop Dogg carry an umbrella? Fo’ drizzle! Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week. As I write, a puddle of water forms under me from the rivulets of water dripping off my clothes and hair... I’m not feeling the rainy season love too much.
Zanzibar’s downpours are usually not what one would describe as drizzle. Instead the heavens open and a giant cosmic bucket of water gets poured over anyone unlucky enough to be out and about.
But when you get down to it, there are some pretty cool upsides to the rainy season. My top eight are below. What are yours?
1. Low numbers
The steady flow of lobster-red tourists in the high season trickles to a mere drip when the rains come. For adventurous tourists this can be a major boon – better prices, hotels and dhows all to yourself, and a more authentic experience. For residents it can be a time to just enjoy a slower pace of life and a little more room in the streets.
2. Better sleep
I can’t be alone in thinking that there’s something about the heavy rains of April and May that increase the pull of gravity. Woken up in the middle of the night by its beginning, the woosh of a heavy pour is the best lullaby. REM cycles go deeper and sleep can last for hours. For someone who usually sleeps fitfully at best, the deep slumber of the rainy season is a treat.
3. The smell
The spice island itself generally smells pretty fabulous, but a few locations in Stone Town can often get a little… ripe around garbage collection time. When the clouds open, all that gets washed away. The smell after the rain is one of life’s great pleasures, and with a soupcon of aromatic spices in the mix, including glorious cloves, it can be intoxicating.
4. Soak up some culture
If you’re usually a beach bum, a rainy day might be just what you need to force you to get off the lounge chair and exchange the rays for a little culture. Zanzibar’s live music, museums and architecture deserve as much love as its fabulous coastline!
5. Get a little closer
A rainy day is the perfect excuse to cuddle on the couch with the object of your affection. If you’re unattached but have your eye on someone, try to get “caught in the rain” near their house – they’ll invite you in, make you tea, before you know it, here comes a baby in a baby carriage. Just call me Cupid.
6. Excuse not to go out
You know when it’s nice out, and your friends are calling you to meet for drinks or beach time, and you don’t really feel like it but don’t have a good reason? “Sorry, I don’t want to go out in the rain” just sounds so much better than “Sorry, I know it’s a beautiful day, but I’d prefer to sit on my couch and watch reruns of 30 Rock while licking peanut butter off a spoon.”
7. Get to know someone new
Getting caught out in the rain in Zanzibar leaves you with two options: huddle under the eaves, chatting with locals or manning up and getting soaked. Try striking up a conversation with a fellow under-eave-waiter and you might just make a new friend!
8. Act like a kid
If hanging out under an awning doesn’t appeal, take door number two and just go for it. Embrace the fact that you are going to get so soaked you may as well have jumped in the ocean. Enjoy it – find a post or a tree and do your best Gene Kelly, jump in puddles, take off your shoes and act like a kid again. You’re getting wet anyway.