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Zanzibar still with Wiebke

TANZANIA | Thursday, 14 February 2008 | Views [784] | Comments [1]

My indulgence in Wiebke's cashews at the beginning of the ferry trip over to Zanzibar resulted in feelings of nausea and heading out the back for air. It was here I realised the cool fresh ocean breeze I'm used to from back home was, well, back home. I did feel better but barely in the sauna-like air compared to what i was expecting whilst ocean cruising, and was soon back inside watching the most 'Lost' I ever have.

We were lucky enough to arrive on Zanzibar with just a few days to spare before the famous Forodhani Gardens were fenced off for revamping. This is the foreshore area where a million stalls of sugar cane juice, cut fruit and tables absolutley packed with seafood prepared and ready for consumption were spread each complete with their respective 'papasi' (literally parasite) touts. I was looking interested seafooding it up and was of course pounced on within 3 minutes and taken to a table where I was to being choosing my dinner dish by dish. The question of 'How much?' was worked around craftily by my practised tout and i soon had a plate of various seafood in front of me with a Tsh12000 price tag. Realisation of being ripped off was immediate but inexperince loses that far along and there was little  I could do. Having been surrounded by local men before our bums hit the rickety benches, we were soon having 3 different conversations at once, each, not including to each other. All harmless, some extremly boring (Wiebke got a stoned one)and a couple, insightful. After talking to one guy whilst eating my expensive market stall seafood, I began asking him how much he would pay as a local for what I had on my plate. Previous eagerness to talk faded and was replaced with pregnant pauses and cop outs of not knowing. He didn't have to side step for long as the guy sitting next to him but with his back to the table spun around to begin a challenge. It was the guy who hjad sold me my meal and was watching my eating progress to secure payment when finished. What followed was his defence rant about hard working fisherman, increased oil prices and families needing support. Having been resigned to paying the Tsh12000 from before I started eating, I handed over his money stating that I knew he ripped me off as a tourist and that was his job but he will be the only Forodhani stall I'd be paying that much too.

We spent the next 2 days wandering around exploring Stone Town and getting lost, which is mostly the point, and taking a spice tour. Eager to start checking out all the postcard beaches we visited the closest to town Fuji beach and found that bikinis are just not the way to have a nice time. Shorts and t-shirt make for a much more relaxing time for the local men and thus for yourself. Whilst wandering Stone Town, we bumped into Sandrine and Vincent the French couple we safaried with. A nice suprise of course and my first introduction as to how small Stone Town really is but we knew they were destined for Zanzibar after safari, as is with most tourists in the country. 

Meeting the next morning at the spice tour office, we were waiting for all the tourists to arrive when along came Sandrine and Vincent again. We were to spend this tour together as well.  The Spice tour was really interesting as we went out to the spice farms and got shown all the different trees and ways the spices are cultivated - cinnamon quills being rolled from the bark and tandoori coming from a pretty looking furry nut. After a delicious local lunch of pilau rice and spinach cookied in coconut milk (water never again!!) we visited the cave where slaves were imprisoned before being shipped off to various locations around the world after is was made illegal in the ealry 1900s. The infamous Dr Livingston (I presume you've heard of him. Hehe) was largely responsible for ending the slave trade but died just a few months prior to it being legislated. We then went to Mangapwani beach before heading for a fresh coconut drink and to Chuini to stay with Wiebke's mate Ally. Wiebke and I both had fairly adverse memories and expectations of drinking coconut milk - mine from being 8 in Thailand and finding it's richness and transparency all too much to bear. Milk is white and that's all there was to it. However, this time around wasn't as bad as we thought and we got through 2/3 of one between us, mostly enjoying the flesh which is peeled of the inside with a little jimmy like thing.

Being dropped off in Chuini, we were told there was no address but just to cross the raod from the big tree and ask at the shop for Ally's in-laws. We were graciously received at the one bech stall and personally escorted to Ally's with calls of "mzungu" the whole way. It was a relaxing 3 days getting up to some cooking mischief and generally hanging out with Ally and bub Shammy and her other sister-in-laws and husband Feruz.

Tags: Adventures



Ah, Zanzibar. High on my list of places I wish to visit!

  simon_monk Feb 14, 2008 10:25 AM

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