Let me set the scene. You're walking along a beach. The sand is a fine white crystalline powder. It's the kind of sand you can run your fingers through and it won't stick to your skin. It's the good clean white sand.
The water is Photoshop Blue. That luxurious blue you only see in pictures advertising tropical islands. The reality is the water its never that colour. It's overcast or green or something else. It’s never that blue. Except today. Here. Now. That blue is what you can see stretching out towards the horizon. The sun is high and the skies are clear. It's blue on blue in an endless spectacle of exotic beauty.
You’re in Zanzibar, Stone Town, the Indian ocean. Africa meets the middle east. Exotic, dark, tropical.
Can you see the it? Do you have mental image of the paradise you long for?
How about this one?
A mound of medical waste stacked up at the back of a under-resourced hospital. Flies find place to rest amongst the syringes, bloody tarpaulins and mostly empty bags of blood products. Bandages strewn about like an overeager mummified adolescent stripping for sex.
Around the corner and down the steps is the sea. There are rocks here. A place for another mound of incorrectly disposed of medical waste and the charred remains of something plastic. A cursory burning before it's pushed into the water.
We were talking to some tourists who had been on the far side of the island. One day they walked along the beach and found a vial of blood. Confused, they didn't know how it could get there. We filled in the blanks.
We didn’t end up doing the things we had planned in Zanzibar. We didn’t go scuba diving and we didn’t go swimming in those tranquil azure seas.
Zanzibar: Hot medical tourism destination