Day 337: Smuggled Out of Zanzibar
With storms approaching, we boarded the small craft and headed for the mainland. Photo: Flora Petri
Daily Updates are not edited and function more as daily journal entries – so if the plot seems to be all over the place or missing entirely and the tenses changes faster than a kaleidoscope, well, that's just the way it is.
I PRESS my fingers deeper into my mouth as I place a dried date on my tongue, savoring the taste of the salt water on my fingers as it mixes with the intense sweetness. Our tiny boat catches a large swell, as Mwanzi turns it at the last minute to stop the wind-driven wave from capsizing us.
I turn back to smile at him; my entire body is drenched with sea water. Mwanzi's lips are pulled down over his buck teeth, lines of concern run across his forehead, as his eyes scan the choppy open ocean around us. I catch his eyes. He doesn't smile back.
“It's never a good sign when Mwanzi looks concerned,” I say to Flora, whose joining me and Rafiki to Bagamoyo,
“He's a great captain. He knows the sea well,” Floras says, slipping around the implications that perhaps we should also be a bit worried – it's a long swim to the mainland from here and I'm pretty sure Rafiki doesn't float.
Flora would have been fine taking a dala-dala back into Stone Town and then catching the ferry to Dar es Salaam, as most reasonable people do. However, I'm too vulnerable to drive Rafiki to Stone Town now that I'm missing a driver's license, import papers, proof of insurance, and Zanzibar driving permit. I could probably go late at night or early in the morning to avoid police roadblocks, but I want to avoid officials altogether, which would be impossible at the port.
I want things to be simple.
The solution: get smuggled off Zanzibar.
This only works because Zanzibar is uppity and righteous about visitors going through its immigration, as it is an autonomous entity, while the rest of Tanzanian could give an empty basket of fucks about Zanzibar's immigration. So, despite the Zanzibar entrance stamp in my passport, there is no Tanzania exit stamp, which means there's no need to go through immigration again – or at least I hope not.
It was dark when Baby Dada and I had returned from Stone Town last night after a riot of a party at the Boss Lady's house. We caught the last dala-dala back to Kizimkazi. Progress was so slow. Afraid that there would be no dinner at home, we popped into Hassan's for chips mayai and chicken kebabs before returning home.
The House of Giggles was dark and silent. There appeared to be nobody there at all. The guys were gone. Heather and the Finnish girls were nowhere to be seen. The doors to the downstairs rooms were locked.
When Baby Dada wandered around back to have one of her countless FaceTime dates, I decided to re-check the doors. They were locked, as Baby Dada said, but the keys were in the keyholes. Moments later, Mau and Mwanzi show up.
“Mwanzi, what time do we leave tomorrow?” I ask.
“We go at 7am, but need to load up motorcycle earlier because of tides.”
“Sounds great. I'll contact Dada Flora and let her know.”
A piece of Flora's heart is throbbing in Stone Town with Laurence – the Swahili speaking German rapper. She was supposed to spend the night at home. However, on an emotional whim, the kind that gathers momentum close to a departure, she'd reached out to him so they could spend one more evening together.
The first dala-dala back to Kizimkazi doesn't leave until 7am.
“Would it be okay for us to go at 9 instead?” I ask.
“Yeah, that's okay.”
“And can we go ahead and go directly to Bagamoyo instead of that other place, please? I know Heather wants to maybe come also, so it's better to go direct as originally agreed.”
At some point since confirming the trip back to the mainland Mwanzi shifted the plan from dropping us at Bagamoyo to somewhere a little north of Dar es Salaam – somewhere they say is only a 10-minute drive from where we want to be.
“No,” Mwanzi says.
The request turns out to be an open flame pressed into the softest of tinder already dosed with gasoline.
Mau tries to intervene, tries to explain why Mwanzi can't take us to Bagamoyo for 170,000 Shilling as agreed.
“Isaac you have to understand, Bagamoyo is very far away. It takes a long time,” Mau says.
“Yes, I know, but it's the same distance away as when we made this plan. Mwanzi knew how far away it is,” I snap back.
The excuses roll out: Mwanzi thought I was talking about being dropped off somewhere else when we agreed to the price. That somewhere else is a place I've never even heard of... How can I arrange to go somewhere I've never even heard of?
I wasn't supposed to tell Flora that she didn't have to pay. She is paying. She's paying me to cut my costs because 170,000 was a bit too big of a bill for me to foot alone.
Every excuse, every flawed piece of logic thrown at me brings no new information to the table. All of this was stuff that would have been known before we agreed to the price.
Rebuttals snap from my mouth, because this is bullshit.
“Listen, let's do it this way. Flora stays on my bill, but if you want to charge Heather extra to make up the difference you need, that's fine,” I say.
“Yes, I think that will work,” Mau says, who at this point is doing all the talking.
However, Mwanzi has already dug in his heels and is quietly fuming in the darkness of the common room.
“No, you go find a different captain,” spits at as.
What the fuck? It's night time, less than 12 hours before we're supposed to leave and this fucker is bailing? Beyond it not being professional, this is a guy who I considered a friend. We sat on the floor and ate dinner together in the darkness, our hands picking up soft balls of ugali and beans.
Without a doubt, this is all tied to Mweda and Megan fleeing home at a moments notice. Mweda and Mwanzi were best friends. They were in all of this together, neck deep in surviving and hustling as they built their lives. And now, Mwanzi has been left behind.
“What? How am I going to find a captain tonight? Mwanzi, relax brother; there's no reason to get angry,” I call out to him, as he shuffles outside and holes up in a plastic chair like a sulking child after throwing a tantrum.
“Here, come talk to Heather,” I say.
I slip upstairs to get Heather. She and Mwanzi are super tight and she's the new volunteer manager. This is a moment I need her to step in and help.
“Hey Heather, Heather?” I call into the darkness of her room.
“Ugh, yeah,” she says in a groggy, half-asleep voice.
“I'm sorry to wake you, but can you please help me with Mwanzi.”
“I'm totally passed out,” she says.
I don't ask for help often. I gladly accept it when it's offered, but I don't ask for it. When I do, I need it.
“I'm really sorry, but Mwanzi is saying he won't take us tomorrow morning. I really need some help.”
There's a moment of silence.
“Ugh, tell him to come up to see me,” she says in a tone that makes it clear that she's not really going to do anything at all.
She was probably seriously baked before crawling into bed.
I ask Mwanzi if he'll go see Heather upstairs.
Several minutes later, Mau and Mwanzi return from upstairs. I didn't even see Mau go up there, but he seems to have again stepped in to smooth things over.
Mwanzi has cooled down.
“Okay, where is this place?” I ask.
We find the new drop-off point on a map. It's not ten minutes away from Bagamoyo; it looks like a 30- or 40-minute drive. It's totally possible to make the drive. However, part of me is worried about police at checkpoints recognizing me and a wild-haired blond as possible targets for extortion, which is why I wanted to be dropped right at Bagamoyo.
“It's straight up. Very easy,” Mau says for about the fifth time.
“I know. I know the road.”
“Okay, let's go back to the original plan. We'll do the original price, but to this place and Flora will just be on my bill,” I say.
It's agreed. The tension in the room dissipates.
“What about the Konyagi?” Mau asks. “You promised Konygai tonight.”
Konyagi is a sugar cane-based local liquor – bottom shelf – in Tanzania. After throwing up tequila for the better part of the night at the end of Laura's birthday party, I'm not sure I can live up to my promise of having another drinking event at The House of Giggles tonight.
“I did say we'd have Kongyai. How much is a big bottle?” I ask.
It's 15,000 Shilling. I give the money to Mwanzi. For the sake of speed, we dig Rafiki out of the bush – my poor girl hasn't been started since I arrived in Kizimkazi. It takes a while, but she chokes to life, blowing big clouds of white and blue smoke.
Nervously, I hand Mwanzi the keys and the guys take off toward the village.
I try to lay down and sleep, waiting for them to get back, but I can't. It's taking a long time. Before tonight, I completely trusted the guys. Now, I don't.
I'm nervous. Eventually, I start walking to the village, meeting them on the rocky road as they cruise back toward home.
I lie when I greet them.
“I was worried the bike broke down,” I say.
Back at the nearly silent House of Giggles, there's the cracking sound of the lid being unscrewed. I let Mwanzi take the first shot. I take a swig after him, and then head to bed.
Last night's encounter eroded my confidence. I've been nervous all morning. What if Mwanzi, with his mood changing like the weather, has another boom swing? I am relieved to see him and his big smile at about 8:30am.
Mwanzi, happy as a kid sucking on a piece of sugar cane, putts into town on Rafiki to load her and get the boat ready.
We'll meet him at Sunset Beach at 9:30am. From there, we'll head to the mainland.
A small storm blows across the island, drenching our adobe house. Water finds its way onto my bags. I turn around and find that a leak deep inside the building is gushing water onto my drone.
“Fucking hell! This place gets everything fucking wet,” I moan, rescuing Dorsey II and blow drying with a handheld duster I have to clean camera lenses.
Shortly after Flora arrives, Heather comes downstairs.
“Is my family home?” she asks in her boisterous, loving voice.
I stand off to the side, wearing my full riding gear near the bean sprouts at the edge of the kitchen, as the girls fall into a ball of hugs. They're on the verge of tears. The three bush sisters – Heather, Flora, and Baby Dada – hold onto each other, their dirty blond hair a single messy mass.
I know I should be feeling something about leaving. The House of Giggles has been good to me; I've made friends with excellent people. However, I don't feel anything at all.
I'm just ready to leave.
Ready to be on the boat.
Ready to be back in Kenya
Ready to no longer worry about whether or not I'll be able to get Rafiki back into her home country and sell her in order to fund the final days of the trip.
I'm disappointed that I don't feel something. It means I missed it while I was here; I missed some essence of the place. I'm sure it had to do with female bonding, which would account for why I always felt distant from the group. Unfortunately, Heather, who is mostly a bounty of wonderful qualities, regularly makes scathing, uncalled for comments about white men. I am, of course, considered an exception. However, the language has always left me a little on the outside as the girls coo about being “bush sisters”.
I was never a “bush brother”, nor was I “one of the boys”. I was simply Isaac, which, though less than endearing, is exactly who I am.
Baby Dada, my number one pal for the last week or two, helps me carry all my bags as the four of us head to Sunset Beach.
The rain clouds clear above us, but there are unsettling large storm systems skirting the island.
The moon was almost full last night, which means the tides have become more dramatic. The coral rag shelf that the ocean nibbles on at high tide along Sunset Beach is dry. The tidal plain is a white desert, freshly hit with rain and littered with green clumps of ocean foliage; pockets of puddles keep black sea urchins wet as they wait for the tide to return.
Time slips by as we wait. There's no word from Mwanzi.
“Africa time,” I tell myself.
Flora, who went to town to get her bag, returns with chapati, because Dada Flora is like that. She also returns with news from Mwanzi: the tide is too far out – we'll have to wait until 10:30 before leaving.
The sun hides behind some light gray clouds. We cluster under a coconut palm on a patch of rough sand and shells. A silence, a comfortable silence, dominates the space between the four of us.
“I feel so bad for Pacha,” Heather says. Pacha is our kitten. She's not had proper food for days. I fed her a couple of vanilla biscuits for breakfast today. “I think I'll go back to give her an egg.”
Flora bought Pacha eggs when she went to the village.
“I don't know why I'm so emotional,” Heather says, as she wraps her arms around Flora for a last goodbye.
Her big bright eyes are filled with tears, the edges red. She's the one being left behind. Flora and I leave today, while Baby Dada moves on in a day or two.
Heather and I hug. Holding each other tightly for a moment.
“Love you,” she says.
“Love you too.”
“I love you all,” she says, pulling away.
The House of Giggles is a place of love.
Heather heads home, leaving only Baby Dada to say the final farewell. In true Baby-Dada, chilled-out style, she's content to sit around and wait.
It's nearly 11am, but it will be some time before the tide comes in.
Mwanzi pokes up to Sunset Beach on Rafiki, a massive grin on his face – he likes Rafiki. He likes her a lot. The man is glowing at this point. He shows the girls how to climb a coconut tree, effortlessly scaling the trunk, the balls of his feet pressed flat against the trunk. They laugh and cheer.
Dark cumulus nimbus fortifications are accumulating on the horizon. Their color darkens from a light drizzling gray to a darker, stormy charcoal.
A sudden, sustained gust of wind comes ripping across the tidal zone and into our faces. Nervously, we watch the wind beat up white caps like a pastry chef working with heavy cream. Thankfully, its a lazy chef who is a bit tired and sleepy. A chef who gets distracted before the ocean becomes unnavigable.
Mwanzi takes shelter behind a couple of trees to roll himself a joint.
Time smoothly sails forward.
Back at the House of Giggles, in search of the dates I forgot to pack, I find Mau who wasn't around when we left earlier.
“Want to come say goodbye to Dada Flora?” I ask.
“Why not?” he says, which is his standard way of saying, yes.
Back down at the beach, Flora wraps Mau up in a big hug. At first, they did not get along well. In fact, Mau wasn't liked by any the girls. However, after one blowout verbal battle between them, he woke up the next day a completely transformed man. He woke up the guy I met, know, and hold in high regard.
It's time to go. We finish off two foil-wrapped packets of chips brought back from Hassan's while Mwanzi gets the boat.
The tide, which hadn't moved in hours, suddenly rushes in, gaining enough depth for Mwanzi and another man to drive the boat right up to the sandy shore skirting the coral rag shelf.
With a bit of effort, we manage to slowly walk Rafiki down steep steps to the beach, then heave her into the tiny boat.
We loaded Rafiki up and were ready to go. Photos: Flora Petri
Our fiberglass craft is hardly bigger than a large rowboat. It feels like the sort of boat someone's grandpa in Minnesota would keep around the summer house for bass fishing.
“I never thought I'd be leaving Zanzibar on a tiny boat with a motorcycle and a man I met on Tinder who has become such a good friend,” Flora declares.
We both give Baby Dada hugs as she helps us load the rest of our bags into the boat.
There are no tears this time, just Baby Dada's big, goofy smile.
“I'll see you in a month and a half in South Africa,” she tells Flora.
“And I'll see you in Botswana in four months,” she tells me.
This doesn't feel like a goodbye. It's more of a we'll-see-you-in-a-bit.
“The time is good now,” Mwanzi says, encouraging us to stop taking photos and get into the boat.
The craft cuts into wave after wave. Thankfully, none of them breaking on us. Each of them showers us with a fine spray of saltwater.
“Saltwater is healing,” Flora says, smiling.
Within minutes of being on the boat, my shirt is soaked through. I peel it off and dump it into the hull. Rafiki, tide up at the stern, catches plenty of salt as well. However, our bags, under a black tarp, are mostly protected.
Droplets of saltwater cling to my body as the spray from waves continues to blast my body.
“There's no more epic way to leave Zanzibar,” I tell Flora.
My arms are tense as they lock me against the wooden board we're sitting on. Our eyes scan the choppy, sloppy ocean.
Waves come together, their force mounting, looking dangerously close to breaking on us, before other waves cancel them out. The boat rocks up a large swell, then slides down its backside.
Mwanzi expertly moves the boat through the ever-changing ocean maze.
It would only take one freak wave to wreck us I think, and who knows what the storm winds have blown together out here in the open.
I pop another date into my mouth, sucking on my salty fingers. My left eye stings from the saltwater. I've rolled up my thin red shorts so my upper thighs can get a little color.
The shorts cling to my body, outlining the shaft and head of my limp dick. I pluck at them to see if it's possible for the fabric not to be so descriptive. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse down Flora's shirt.
“I think we're maybe halfway,” I say, glancing back at the sliver of land that's proudly known as Zanzibar, and then forward toward the building-dotted mainland.
I miss the first school of flying fish that flutter out from in front of our boat, but I spot the next flock.
They're small flying fish, the largest of them are over-sized dragonflies; their scales catch the gray sunlight, shimmering bars of silver. The wind blows them across our stern.
And though I know that their fins are held out straight, gliding away, in this light, with the ocean changing colors as each swell and wave remolds its surface, they appear to poses fluttering wings. The smaller ones – too small to be caught by the wind – fly straight and low, blue streaks against the blue-green ocean.
Mwanzi and his shipmate are making the crossing by dead reckoning. Their eyes searching the horizon. How Mwanzi manages to navigate the maze of waves, while staying on course as he keeps the boat afloat is incredible.
Several big waves catch us off-guard. They're nearly set to break over our tiny boat as they converge into a single wave, powered by a large swell.
Mwanzi quickly spins the boat, pointing the stern directly into the wave to prevent us from going turtle. We pause in the air for a moment, then come crashing down hard on the next wave.
He handled it perfectly.
The mainland feels so close, yet the waves and swell are still growing around us.
A few seabirds come whizzing by, their black bodies flying low.
Large schools of flying fish also take to the air, dozens and dozens of them taking off at once, like Spitfires responding to bombing raid sirens.
The ocean becomes flat as we tuck into a protected bay. Dar es Salaam, its tall buildings breaking out of a haze, is much closer than I thought it would be.
All eyes are on us as we putt into a cove dotted with mangroves and heavily worn canoes and dhows.
Our boat presses into the sand.
A string of four or five people club squid on the ragged, crowded beach. Their long sticks smack fleshy, translucent flesh. The dead creatures bodies are covered with sand.
The water is black, thick with organic matter.
“Mwanzi, were you scared?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says, smiling as he shivers from the cold.
We're all shivering from the cold. The hairs on my body have risen as goosebumps dot my bare chest. The sun disappeared at some point; the wind picked up. Our wet bodies grew cold.
“Come into the water; it's warm here,” I say.
Cold and wet, we arrived at the mainland. Photo: Flora Petri
A couple bystanders jump in to help us unload Rafiki. I feel something cold and wet on my hands as I handle the engine. The fuel line has been pulled free. Even once it's put back over the nozzle, a small gash in the tube continues to spew gas.
Mwanzi stops the leak with his thumb as a bystander cuts the tubing above the nick with a rusty machete. We reattach it. Everything seems okay.
A few meters from the water line, there is a tin-roofed shack with walls made from vertical clusters of palm frowns that are most likely only able to keep out a light rain. Inside the makeshift restaurant, a woman boils a pot of something over the embers of an open fire. The pot sits on three rocks, covered with gray ash and black burn marks.
I don't know what happened to the guy who came over with us. So, it's just the three of us who settle down on a wooden bench for our last lunch together. A small portion of veggies, beans, a single piece of meat, and sauce are served with rice on canteen-style plates.
Rafiki is nearly packed when I come in to join Mwanzi and Flora.
“So will you see Megan when you go?” Mwanzi asks.
An unabated smile breaks out on his face as he claps his hands like two big starfish – it's total joy. The kind of joy that is far too often only expressed by the mentally handicapped.
“You should come with Heather next time. I think she wants to come,” I say, hoping to build on his happiness. But something is lost in my words, or his understanding, or my understanding. Even after I explain what I meant, his joy seems to have evaporated.
Outside, two men in slacks and exceptionally clean dress shirts are loitering by Rafiki and our luggage.
“Rasta,” they call out, hailing Mwanzi. He steps outside to talk to them. Everyone in this little fishing port calls him Rasta.
They're talking and talking.
I come out, ignoring all three of them, as if whatever is happening is normal. I finish securing Flora's last bag to Rafiki.
I'm tightening a rope, when one of them addresses me.
I've not looked at them hard enough to know what they look like. Even now, as they speak to me, my eyes remain mostly diverted. I am going about my business.
“What's in the bags?” he asks.
“Clothes and travel stuff.”
“Okay, we're police in charge of this area. So we have to know this stuff,” he says.
They make no move to show us any proof that they are indeed police.
However, I believe they are police. I also believe they are sniffing for the scent of something that could be slipped into their pockets. Plain clothed police are a serious hazard to transparency, justice, and enforcement.
“So only clothes?”
“Clothes, toothpaste, a camera,” I say, avoiding any mention of the drone.
They go back to speaking to Mwanzi, who is explaining that we've come from Kizimkazi and are driving up to Bagamoyo. At least that's what I assume he's saying in Swahili.
The conversation goes on for a bit longer. Then, it stops. They leave, walking around the palm-sided restaurant to talk with the cook – a big woman with big hips and an even bigger smile.
Though I was struggling to look Mwanzi in the eyes earlier, knowing fully well that my trust in him was tarnished, I pull him in for a big hug.
Because he's a small man, instead of one arm over a shoulder and one under a shoulder, as most guy-hugs go, he wraps both his arms below mine.
It's a strong good hug. The kind of hug that lets each of us know that we'll be missed.
“I'll try to come back again in a few months,” I say.
Flora also gets a big hug. She says her goodbyes.
With some difficulty, I'm able to get Rafiki running. We dig through the sand, Flora tucked in behind me. Our tires find asphalt and we're on our way to Bagamoyo.
Flora knows how to ride a motorcycle and did a similar way-too-much-stuff-on-a-bike trip with a boyfriend in Sri Lanka.
She is immediately aware that I'm not shifting out of my top gear, but working the clutch instead, so she doesn't have to move her feet from mine. We are sharing the foot pegs, her feet stack on top of mine. Within a few minutes, she intuitively moves her feet from mine when I need to shift.
“Okay, you're good,” I say.
She puts her feet back up on mine and we continue to drive north.
At one point, so distracted by trying to tell her that she can put her feet back, I nearly pile Rafiki into the back of a car that's slowed for a speed bump. I swerve into the narrow middle ground between the two lanes, barely avoiding oncoming traffic.
“It feels so different being on the mainland,” Flora says, unflustered by the miss.
“I guess so,” I say, though it doesn't feel any different to me at all.
After settling in at Firefly Lodge, I take Rafiki out to get washed for 2,000 Shilling – the saltwater from our boat ride could destroy her in a few week's time, which Mwanzi reminded me about before we parted ways.
There's a note at reception when I get back. Flora is off exploring, but she's been in contact with Megan and Mweda – we're all doing dinner together after about 7pm.
In the dorm room, lying on one of my bags, Flora has placed a large piece of aloe she'd plucked from the garden for me – my face and upper thighs took on a little too much color.
Showered and feeling fresh, I'm delighted to find myself starring into Megan's lively, impish eyes as she and Mwede arrive. Mwede, with his unbelievably charming smile, gives me a big hug, doing the same two arms under move that Mwanzi pulled. I keep forgetting how small he is.
Everyone was excited about the Korean fusion place down the road. However, I've only heard bad things about the place.
As we walk by the restaurant, toward the lauded Funky Squid Restaurant, we hesitate. The special of the day is squid dumpling.
“Let's just roll the dice,” I say. The words are out of my mouth before I realize that I forgot the die back in the room. Instead, we flip a coin.
Fate sends us to the Korean restaurant, which is overpriced.
“It feels so strange being on the mainland, doesn't it?” Flora asks Megan.
“Yeah, like I can't get completely used to it. I want to walk everywhere barefoot and still eat with my hands all the time,” Megan says, her face bursting with a smile.
It's strange to sit here and listen to them muse about the bush girl narrative they developed at The House of Giggles. Neither of these two women is a stranger to a rough, travel style of living. Megan lived by herself out in the Alaska bush for six months in a trailer without electricity or running water. Yet, something about The House of Giggle, which was only a few minutes from a number of resorts and only twenty minutes walking from the village, led to this strong narrative of living in the bush.
There's something seductive about the narrative, something joyous, unconstrained, and raw about the idea of sharing our meals from a single silver tray beneath undiluted starlight. Yet, was it really bush living?
I'd say, no.
Again, I find myself wondering if I think this because I wasn't a dada, I wasn't a sister. Was it because I was a white guy that I failed to be swept up by the narrative. It's as if I read the same pages of the same book they were reading, but failed to understand the meaning behind the larger metaphors and the underlying connectivity surging through the work. Or, perhaps, they were simply swept up in a fantasy and bestowed greater and greater meaning into specific elements of the narrative as they went. (One doesn't have to live in the bush to be sharing meals and digging into ugali with their bare hands.)
On the very first night, I met Flora and Heather, when they were dressed to the nines – having washed off layers of dirt that they had been wearing as a tan – the pair were spinning this bush woman narrative, glowing from the context and close bonds it wove between them.
Mweda confusedly looks at the chopsticks that arrive with dinner. It's his first time trying to use chopsticks, his bashful smile and child-like curiosity as he attempts to use them is endearing.
“Chopsticks are hard,” I say.
By the end of the meal, we're all using our hands.
The plate-sized squid that's been stuffed with veggies and rice, as well as the general explosion of sesame oil and other Asian flavors fills my foody soul. However, I'm still hungry. So, we wander toward the fish market, where a few food stalls and shops are still open.
Right next to the beach, not far from a pile of pineapples that are being shipped to Zanzibar, we find a man with case full of seafood skewers and all the makings for Zanzibar soup.
I buy a couple sticks of muscles, their small lips orange before he puts them on the grill.
“Do you like muscles?” Megan, who's never tried them asks.
“I love muscles, that's why I go to the gym,” I say, striking a cliche bodybuilder pose in my hoody.
Mwede laughs immediately, Flora gets it, and Megan is only a half beat behind.
“I missed you, Isaac,” she says.
I laugh. I love puns. And I love people like Flora and Megan who love food and words.