Paje proved itself beyond the hype. My taxi pulled up after driving through a maze of houses and I was presented with a big white wall with Ananda Beach House painted on it. Walking past the bungalows I arrived at the main house overlooking the beach. White sand and turquoise water, an assortment of beach lounges and not a cloud in the sky, it was better than expected and I already favoured it over Michamvi. I instantly opted to extend my stay for one night, giving me 3 nights and 3 days to spend doing absolutely nothing. Despite my laziness I did walk into ‘town’ that afternoon, weaving my way through the village, eventually finding my way. The small shops didn’t offer much in the way of ingredients to cook for myself so I decided it would be a nice opportunity to treat myself and have a few meals out.
Having done enough walking for the day I spent the afternoon reading and writing, adding some productivity in here and there by researching my next steps, deciding what to do with my remaining time in Africa and where I might go to next, South America being the idea. This was how I spent the next few days, with my biggest movements being a change of beach lounge every few hours to give me a slight change of scenery and to make me feel as though I’d been somewhere and done something.
To make up for lazing about for three straight days I committed to waking up after sunrise and heading down the beach for an hour of exercise. It’s amazing how much motivation a good view and atmosphere brings. With the beach nice and quiet I was free to do what I wanted before the heat got too intense and the humidity came on too strong. There were still people around, some in the ocean collecting the fish to sell that day. The tide started out so low and stretched so far that it looked as though they were walking on water, their silhouettes framed against the sunrise. Walking back to the hostel I watched as the crabs scurried about, running back to their homes the minute they heard my footsteps, even the slightest sound or movement a threat to their existence.
The best surprise I had was while I was at a restaurant just next to the hostel on the first afternoon. I was reading my book waiting for my food to arrive and heard the sound of cows. Looking up I noticed a whole herd of about 20 cows walking down the beach just near the water, seemingly going for a stroll with what looked like no one accompanying them. With my lunch finished I walked back, following the maze of footprints and fresh hoof prints and dodging the cow shit. The following mornings and evenings the same thing happened, in the morning they took themselves for a walk up the beach, keeping out of sight until they walked back down in the afternoon to take themselves home. Wildly peculiar but a great source of entertainment for us tourists, not used to seeing cows in such an environment.
Unfortunately on Thursday my time in beautiful Paje had come to an end. I contacted the taxi driver I had used on Monday and arranged for him to pick me up and take me across the island back to Stone Town, back to regular traveling and the busy city.