Where Is This?

October 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Africa Stories, Memoir -- Non-fiction Stories | 18 Comments
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I am busy writing a long story and won’t be able to post much.  This picture will appear in the story.  Can anyone guess where it was taken?  (Continent doesn’t count; you must name the specific location.)  When the story is posted — hopefully in about three months — you will know then.  Meanwhile, I hope to whet your appetite.

Shannon Moeser on Tortoise at Prison Island (Zanzibar)

Shannon Moeser on Tortoise at Prison Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania)


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  1. Knott’s Berry Farm

  2. Hi Shannon !

    Dar es Salam, Tanzania (Tanganyika), Africa ?


  3. Both Danis and Gilles are wrong, but at least Gilles is on the right continent (and even in the right country).

  4. Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner… The slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro ?


    2013/10/19 Gilles Ehrer

    > Hi Shannon ! > > Dar es Salam, Tanzania (Tanganyika), Africa ? > > Gilles. > >

  5. No Gilles, you are guessing now instead of doing a bit of research.

  6. Hmmm . . . Tanzania and tortoises? This will take some research. I’ll go for a Nile soft-shelled terrapin which can reach lengths of up to one metre. And a small village not too far from your home in Dar es Salaam.

  7. One meter is only three feet. Look at the size of that tortoise. It’s a giant tortoise.

  8. My researches didn’t mention giant tortoises there. And you only seem to be taking up about a 1/3 of the shell from the low angle of the photo. How big was the tortoise?

  9. I cannot believe that at age 73 (that’s how old I am now), I am a better at using the computer as a research tool than most of my younger readers. Hint: After plugging the correct parameters into Google, look under images. Once you find a suitable image, find out exactly where it was taken. Then Google the name of that exact spot and eureka, you’ll find all sorts of interesting information because there is only one place — a small area.

  10. Zanzibar, Tanzania and “maybe” even more specifically Changu Island

  11. If the photo was taken prior to December 1963 then you were in the British protectorate of Zanzibar. If it was taken after April, 1964 then you were in the United Republic of Tanzania, of which Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region.

    If you were there between December 1963 and April of 1964, it would have been a terrible vacation because of the Zanzibar Revolution.

    Changuu Island or Prison Island is the home for the endangered Aldabra Giant Tortoises and from what I gather the entire island is a refuse for the Tortoises.

  12. Correct. I knew it only as Prison Island. It was only when I was doing some internet research that I found out that it’s proper name was Changu Island. The locals all called it Prison Island. I was there on July 6, 1964. At that time, Prison Island was not open to the public. So how did I get there? Well, you will have to wait for the story.

    When I was there, the tortoises roamed freely. In doing my research, I found out that later nearly all were killed by poachers in the decades that followed. Now there is a specific area in which the tortoises are kept (Prison Island as a whole is a stunning vacation spot). Now visitors can see and feed the tortoises, but not sit on them anymore.

    • Fascinating. I wish I had the energy to put more than 5 minutes into my attempts at “research!” Thanks, Shannon!

  13. Well, a young and pretty model in Hollywood would no doubt have an opportunity to meet and friend an assortment of eclectic folks, some would-be admirers with interests beyond the entertainment and publishing industry. I can imagine a well-heeled gentleman and investor with political connections that would love to take a pretty blonde doll as his companion to this exclusive retreat.
    From what I can gather, the Hollywood well-to-do crowd knew of this place and the entire island could be rented for a weekend or week from the Tanzanian government. Hence, Private Island, but it seems it was private, more for the lack of facilities and fresh water, as opposed to some eccentric private owner.
    My question though, is you were there just months after the revolution and merger of Zanzibar and Tanzania. The blood was still covering the streets in Zanzibar City. The Muslim/Arab genocide and deportation had barely subsided. Gees! It smacks of a romantic adventure, like Hemingway and Gellhorn covering the Spanish Civil War. What in Gods name were you doing there, then?

  14. Hurray! I have someone interested in my not-so-short story. I’ve been afraid that once I get it written, no one will want to read it, given that it will be about 9,000 words long (give or take 1,000 words).

    One correction. I was no longer a model by this time. That is why it is labelled “Shannon Moeser” and not “Gloria Dawn.” Gloria Dawn, the model, ceased to exist after August 1963. Probably some aspects of Gloria Dawn, the model, were still part of Shannon Moeser, the person — personalities don’t change overnight.

    By the way, even Gloria Dawn, the model, was never interested in well-heeled gentlemen. Unfortunately. Life would have been so much easier, albeit more boring.

    • I didn’t say Gloria or Shannon were interested in gentlemen, well-heeled or otherwise.. Gentlemen would naturally interested in you Shannon. Maybe it’s the guys perspective you’re missing.. I’m also making a number of assumptions. For one, that you even had a male companion. Hell! you could have been a part of a group of students. But that wouldn’t be romantically adventurous.

      • danisw1954: Your third paragraph two comments ago was the most accurate. Adventurous — definitely. Romantic? I didn’t think so at the time this photo was taken. But then I might have been wrong. A male took this photo, but the word “companion” could be misleading, at least at the time the photo was taken. But I’m not going to tell you the entire story now. I’m still revising the first part — and it has four parts.

        And now there is the possibility of re-structuring the entire story. Not changing it, just putting part of the introduction into the story at a later time. At least that is what the instructor of the course thinks I should do, although I tried it once and it didn’t work. Confused people. So right now it is more-or-less in chronological order. Revisions needed. Revise, revise, revise. That is how you write. When I am happy with the story, I will post it, probably in two parts.

  15. I’m hooked and looking forward to it.. I already know more about that time, at that place than I ever knew before, which was virtually nothing… Thanks, you’re a good teacher Shannon and that was a great assignment.

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