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Our world Travel On 10th May 2007 I fled the UK on a journey around the world with a long list of places to go. Got as far as the Philippines where I met my wife. We got married on 11th May 2010 and are now sharing the experiences of travelling the world together

Zanzibar

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 28 July 2007 | Views [1298]

Tuesday 24th July (day 10) - 8am start to get the kikumboni ferry to dar es salaam main port. This plods back & forth across a short stretch of the bay taking about 10 minutes or so to cross but you wait for ages to get on it. From there caught a Dala Dala (like a matutu minibus in kenya) to the main ferry port. This place is a bit of a mess like most african ports. There is a sort of mock security system for getting on the boat. They sort of do a baggage check...you get asked if you are carrying any guns, they briefly look through your hand luggage, completely ignoring my backpack and then waved me through. Waste of time. Anyway, the crossing takes 2 1/2 hrs and is fairly smooth being propelled by water jets that blast the 'sea star II' through the water. The on board video system treated us to a bizarre form of entertainment. First, a musical slavery type of film that could have incited a racial war amongst the passengers, and the second, a keystone cops style of african bush drama run at the speed of a benny hill programme. TV standards aren't upto much here!

Got to stone town Zanzibar at 1:15  and offloading was the expected manic flurry of bodies. Even though zanzibar is part of tanzania, we still needed our passports stamped then walked to the Safari lodge hotel for the night. Nice to get to a proper bed.

Off to lunch at the Buni café then a walk around part of the old town. Bought a Durian fruit to try. This is renowned as the smelliest fruit available. Available in different sizes they are big, very spiky and split like a conker to reveal the nuts which are surrounded by the slimy sweet pulp which is the only bit eaten. Interesting sweet texture but not one I would say you would ever get hooked on. Also bought fresh rambutan (like lychees).

Back out again for drinks at the Africa house hotel to watch the sun set. Beautiful sight. Crackin' evening meal at the fish markets on the sea front. Choose your fish end it gets cooked. Had lobster kebab plus red snapper kebab with salad, naan bread, a drink and a banana & chocolate pancake all for 5,500 tanzanian shilling (approx. £2.20). Bargain! An aside...Freddie Mercury was born here. There is a restaurant named after him on the seafront.

Wed 25th July (day 11) - First stop the slave market. It is extremely sad to think of the barbaric way that the whites treated slaves. In the case of Zanzibar, slaves generally came to the island from Bogamayo by ships that were heavily overcrowded. Built to carry 405 passengers, were used to carry an average of 609 negro slaves. The only part of the slave markets surviving is the underground dungeons where 75 slaves at a time were crammed in with no food or drink for 2 or 3 days. Those that survived were then beaten to see if they cried. The tougher they were, the higher the price they fetched at market. Most died before this stage. Fortunately, the abolition of the slave trade began in 1873 by the 3rd sultan under pressure from people like William Wilberforce. The site above ground is now occupied by an anglican cathedral. In the same year Dr david Livingstone died and his body returned to westminster UK. to be buried.

Next went to the old market which is a mixture of good atmosphere and some revolting sights, namely the meat section. This is not for the faint hearted. The veggie's amongst us skipped It. Could go into graphic detail but will give it a miss. The fruit and veg was good with lots of stuff to try out before buying. Custard apple, jackfruit, etc. Bought some of each.

Next, the old fort built 1698-1701, reminiscent of Fort Jesus in Mombasa which was also built by the portugese. It was later converted into a prison but is now the Zanzibar Cultural Centre. As usual this means it now houses stalls selling stuff.

Next the Beit-el-ajaib. Otherwise called the 'House of wonders'. Originally built in the 1890s as a ceremonial palace, it was the first building in Sub-saharan Africa to have electricity. Hence its alternative name.

The best bit of the day was the Kisimboni spice plantations. There are many surprises here in how some of the common spices actually grow, and how they are treated to get to the final spice. Some we  saw were: lemon grass, turmeric (dried & ground root), piri piri pepper, Jackfruit tree, cinnamon (bark), ginger leaves & root, coffee tree, durian tree (the famous smelly fruit), ylang ylang tree (perfume), lipstick flower, black pepper vine (green, yellow, red, black are just different stages of ripening on the same vine),Touch me not shrub, kapok tree (fibre used for stuffing mattresses), Clove tree,(pick when buds are pink, turn black when dried),  vanilla (vine), custard apple tree, cardamon (pods grow at base of grass), star fruit, tangerines, coconut. Plenty of free samples of fruit and some lovely teas. Cinnamon & vanilla was a favourite so bought some. Another highlight was a guy called 'butterfly' who sings as he climbs coconut trees to harvest the fruit.nit is amazing how fresh coconut is completely different to what you get back home in the supermarkets. Fresh ones are full of gorgeous sweet clear liquid and the flesh is beautiful, not dry. Hooked on it!. They made us all hats out of the coconut leaves. Very fetching.

Lunch was at a private house cross-legged on mats. Beef curry with fresh spices, cassava spinach and loads of fresh fruit straight from the trees. Magic lunch.

Departed for our home for the next 3 days at the sunset bungalows on Kenwa beach. Checked in, straight to the bikini beach bar for a cocktail in a hammock, watching the sun set over the indian ocean. What an end to a busy day.

Superb evening on the beach. Played djembe with a group around a fire and then joined another group for the african version of the conga around the fire. This place is safe as it's protected by maasai guards.

Thursday 26th July (day 12) - went snorkelling around mnemba island for most of the day with lunch on the beach. I had never been a fan of tuna until today. Fresh tuna from the barbie and lightly spiced is gorgeous. The tinned rubbish back home is nothing like it. The visability on the reef was in excess of 20 metres with a super array of colourful fish. Really nice day in turquoise waters set against pure white beaches. Just like a postcard!

Back at digs in the afternoon and time to get partially upto date on my blog and internet. Problem in these places is limitations. Can only get half an hour before it shuts off and that is in a hut on the beach, so not much time to what I need to do.

Group Indian meal at the taj mahal restaurant on the beach tonight. Good food & nice location. Decent meal and drinks for 23,000 Tsh (£8.50).

Back home it's shool leavers assembly at katie's school today. Another momentous occasion as there will be no more Bradshaws going through that school. Amy is still in Perth, Australia with her boyfriend and tim is away with his girlfriend in Kent. Also just learnt ...Tim had been in a semi final band competition down in Birmingham and the results sound promising so far. Not sure whether they have got through but will let you know. Fingers crossed. Amy is still in Perth Australia with her boyfriend having a great time. She will be back home on 1st August with plenty of stories of her own to tell.

Today has been another personal evaluation day - they happen regularly but I don't talk about them much! I know I have made some bad mistakes over past couple of years which I have to live with daily. The problem is that I would love to turn the clock back and do things differently but cannot as there is no chance of reconciliation. I have had to learn the hard way I guess. Who knows what the future will hold or where it will lead. What I do know is that I have a lot of love to give and want to share my life with someone like minded. I have been lucky to have two opportunities in my life to achieve that and have screwed it up on both occasions. It will never happen again for certain. It is almost impossible to meet someone whilst travelling who can be more than a passing acquaintance so I get phases of wondering whether to abandon the travel until life is back on track, or carry on in the blind hope that it will work out somehow. I am surrounded by couples doing what I should be doing, sharing the experience together. Instead I am floating along having bursts of fun but basically not enjoying being without someone close throughout it. I am not a loner. Sure we all need our own space from time to time, but it isn't the same on your own. I am also missing out on part of my kid's lives which doesn't get a re-run. I greatly miss my dancing although, if you have been keeping track of my blogs, I do get to dance occasionally, but not enough and certainly not to the standard I am used to. The times ahead are ve y challenging.

Anyway, will have to decide at some point whether to carry on with the travel and for how long or whether to pack it in. Not the foggiest yet, so watch this space folks.....

Friday 27th July (day 13) - 9am start for diving trip to a couple of sites off Mnemba island. The Bommies and Kirchwan. My buddy was to be Dixon a  divemaster and the dive group leader. Super fast speed boat to get there. The first site was deeper, down to 18metres and teaming with fish. Saw a large greenback turtle amongst many things. The second site (Kirchwan wall) was a large coral reef with a diverse range of fish, grouper, box fish, emperor, parrot fish, trumpet fish, lion fish, to name a few.

Mnemba island is private so cannot land on it. It is patrolled to trap anyone who tries. Bill Gates and Madonna are two who go there. Cost, a snip at $1000 per night. Lunch on the boat in the surface interval of cheese and banana sandwiches plus fresh mango and pineapple. Lovely jubbly.

Back at the ranch after a long day diving, absolutely knackered. I find it extremely tiring so after a shower chilled on the cushions next to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. A daquari cocktail on the beach watching the sun set before dinner. Dinner was nice although everything happens in African time, so if you are hungry, you have to order an hour before you are about to die of starvation. Just about made it.

Have to go back to Stone town tommorow so packing again. Will be sad to leave this place as I feel that I need another day here and there's a full moon party tommorow night that I will miss.

Katie has now finished primary school, so another milestone passed as the last of the Bradshaws to go through Standbride. September starting at  high school. So will be Amy at university, Tim at music college and katie at highschool. Am missing them all a lot. This is the painful side of travelling.

Saturday 28th July (day 14) - Checked out and got the shuttle dala dala back to stonetown and back into the Safari lodge. Don't you think this place sounds great. Is it heck. It is a naff place down a dingy alley and you cannot go out at night through fear of getting mugged. The rooftop view is of metal clad roofs and a sea of aerials and satellite dishes. Somewhere out there is the Sea but you can only just about see it. Anyway, a marked change from the place we have just been in.

Tomorrow we go back to Dar es salaam and then hit the road towards Malawi. Will update you all when I get the next chance.

Bye for now

Tags: Sightseeing

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