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16 August 2005

part II: The island of wonder

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Zanzibar...

Oh, even the name of it sounds magical, doesn't it? I was there for 5 days but I tried to take in as much as I could.

(Sandy, this post is for you, as you introduced me to the idea of going in the first place!)

Zanzibar has a fascinating and horrible history. It has been colonized by the Portuguese, the Germans and finally the British. I has also been ruled by tribes and Middle-Eastern sultans alike. Although now famous for its abundant spice exports, it was once infamous for being the hub of the slave trade. Zanzibar's rich and varied history echoes in the present. As a visitor, I was unable to be just a tourist. Hmmm, let me explain. It's not like going to an all-inclusive resort where you can sip tequila and tan on the beach without having to see the life of the locals. When you visit Zanzibar, you walk with its people. To get anywhere you have to take local transportation over horrendous roads. You have to walk everywhere in Stone Town, the capital, as cars cannot make it through the narrow paths of the "labyrinth". You will get lost often and will recieve help from anyone who thinks you look confused. Local fruits, vegetables and spices infuse even the most Americanized of dishes. In a city that is almost 100 percent Muslim, you quickly feel out of place without a hijab. Suddenly, you are aware of how much skin you are showing. Although I was VERY modest compared to some of the tourists I saw. Let me just say that Italian men seem to be loving the booty shorts right now!

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The Indian Ocean wraps around Stone town to allow more space for boats to haul in the day's catches. The city seems ancient and yet comfortably modern. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that the air is thickly-scented with a multitude of spices. When you breathe in you taste cinnamon and cloves. This was a welcome reprieve from the smog of Mwanza.

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Also, it RAINS in Zanzibar. While a lot of people complained that the weather was ruining their vacations, I was jubilant! I haven't seen rain since I left Ontario so this was thirst-quenching for the soul.

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narrow streets in the heart of the labyrinth.

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kids diving into the harbour at sunset.

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kikoi, a lovely fabric for wraps and shawls etc.

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Once the sun begins to set, Forodhani Gardens is the place to go for seafood and people-watching. You can get a full plate of fresh seafood for under 5 bucks!

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Me and my masai friends in Forodhani Gardens.

And now, to the beaches!
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I spent one day on Bwejuu beach, home of hot, hot sun and seaweed farmers. The tide was out for most of the day so I didn't swim much, but it was easy on the eyes.

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bwejuu beach

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the white sand was as fine as chalkdust

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relaxing before dinner at the hotel.

The next day we spent at Kendwa rocks. It was much more touristy but the water was clear and warm. It was amazing.

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oops, I'm out of time. I'll have to finish this later!

6 comments:

ETC'd said...

these are my favorite pictures, yet


dallas-you are incredible

each post blows me away

wow...i don't know what else to say

andrew said...

these pics are beyond beautiful, you should consider setting up some sort of gallery show when you get back. i'd go.

eano said...

you could call it a dashley in texas.


it would be so pomo

syl said...

wow, those pics are beautiful. that water is so clear!!

dallas said...

man, all I did was point and click. Those pics took themselves, but I have so much more to tell with words. Zanzibar is...well, I'll tell you all about it soon enough!

Ken Brunk said...

Hey! Bwejuu is my favorite place in all the world. I have stayed at the Twisted Palms on several occasions but since they closed down the upstairs dining area it is not the same. Where did you stay and would you recommend it? Twisted Palms is righ next to Evergreen, I think.