This is the scene immediately after arrival in Zanzibar, the exotic spice island and historic crossroads of East Africa, as you step off the morning ferry from Dar es Salaam. Could this possibly be any more colorful?
You're practically atop the equator with some of the cleanest air in the world overhead. On a clear day, your eyes almost vibrate from the intensity, even just walking down a random alley.
Btw, I don't like to admit this, but I wound up humming the 1960's Patty Duke Show theme ("from Zanzibar… to Barclay Square!") for the first few minutes. Sorry to be such a tourist, but there it is.
Which brings me to a fun fact that wildly improves Patty Duke Show reruns on TV Land:
Once you consider what this means for the sitcom's mythology, that's fantastically weird.
What the hell was Patty's mysterious British cousin Cathy Lane doing in Estonia under Soviet rule, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis, right at the height of the Cold War?
Espionage. Had to be.
This whole innocent sitcom suddenly reeks of intrigue. All the hiding and confusion and pretending to be other people — it's hard not to start imagining that this was the classic development of an intelligence "double."
Y'know who else was in the Soviet Union in 1962 and suddenly came back? Lee Harvey Oswald, that's who.
Plus, Cathy's father was the Chronicle's "foreign correspondent." Probably his CIA or MI5 cover. So he could go overseas and keep an eye on his psycho sniper daughter.
And suddenly the "identical cousin" thing starts making a lot more sense. Plastic surgery to create a cover? Probably.
Dear gods, how many other mind-controlled identical cousins were wandering around, awaiting their orders? What were their masters planning? And was their evil plot averted when the show was cancelled? Or did they just go underground…?
But I digress. Zanzibar. Really beautiful. Even if Cathy Lane was once based here to covertly monitor Soviet arms smuggling in East African shipping lanes.
Delightful strangeness, noticed while walking around Kigali:
Dude, do you really want me to taste your wall paint?
If not, why are you advertising it to look like lemon custard?
But this flight was as close as I intend to be for a while.