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When booking an exotic beach holiday far from the clutches of everyday life, Zanzibar is as good as it gets. Just 6 degrees from the equator, and 45 miles from mainland Tanzania, is where Polly decided to work on her tan. It was also her last hoorah in Africa, before the airport incident…

We took a tiny plane to this archipelago, situated in the Indian Ocean, to explore its rich cultural history (British and Portuguese and Sultans--oh, my!) as well as the main island's natural beauty. After wandering around the shops in Stone Town, we traveled to the northernmost tip, Nungwi, where Polly enjoyed watching the teal tide drift out and back in each day. It was there that I scattered her remaining ashes…her urn donning a sarong made from one of her dresses back home. And a little red hat in honor of the Red Hat Society

As we waited to depart from Tanzania the following evening, my husband and I heard our names over the airport intercom. We tracked down an official who immediately separated us, instructing me to sit in the waiting area while interrogating my other half. Polly’s urn had set off alarms as she passed through their X-ray scanner, the shape and metal shell mistaken for something more serious. When my husband tried to explain that we had just spent our honeymoon scattering her ashes on Kilimanjaro, and the Ngorongoro Crater, and finally a beach in Zanzibar, they were incredulous:

“There is a person in that metal jar?” the woman in uniform asked. 

“Well…there was,” he replied. 

“I want to look inside,” she insisted. 

My husband carefully unscrewed the small urn and tilted it toward the official.

“See? Just some powder.”

The official, amazed, stared into the tiny opening as if it contained the secret of life!

(Photo & post: Barbara P.)

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