Farouque, German and yours truly at Emerson Hurumzi Hotel


On the day I left Zanzibar, I wore a linen suit, because I guess I feel I’ve reached that stage in life when one needs to be a little bit more formal in appearance, especially when travelling long distances. My friend Farouque Abdela was surprised to see me in a suit, since he always knew me to wear clothes made by him back in the day, or more casual outfits. I explained that the heat in Zanzibar might make the suit look incongruous, but things would be different when I arrived at Heathrow. Farouque agreed, remembering a time that he wore slippers and went on an international flight, only to arrive at his destination with freezing toes.

Sure enough, Addis Ababa was not as hot as Zanzibar. Even though I knew I was going to stop over for more than seven hours in Ethiopia, it didn’t occur to me to pack any bed clothes in my hand luggage, so I arrived at Addis, was taken to a hotel room and had to depend on the warmth of the duvet on the bed, which was barely adequate.

Thankfully, London wasn’t as chilly as I expected it to be on arrival. I got through the first evening back at home without thinking about how much I missed the heat of Zanzibar.

The following morning was different, however. I arrived at work and several colleagues commented on the fact that I was wearing a winter coat in early September. I had to explain that I had only just gotten off the plane from Zanzibar the night before and was still adjusting to the climate.

I look out the window today at a sunny sky, but I’m struggling to resist the temptation to turn on the central heating. I’ve already had to do so on several evenings since I’ve been back. Autumn is my favourite season in England, but I wish I could have the heat and humidity of Stone Town right now.