We entered Tanzania and had a few long driving days until we reached the coast of the Indian Ocean and then off to the magical island of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a part of Tanzania, but still separate enough that you needed a passport stamp to visit. Before we were welcomed to Stone Town, Zanzibar we had to take a ferry to the island.. The ferry ride was hot and stuffy two hour journey. It reminded me that I don’t do boat rides on the ocean that well. Once we arrived to Stone Town, we looked around and it was paradise….. and the green color in my face finally started to fade, which made it even better. Over 97 percent of Zanzibar is of Muslim faith, which makes it the first area of our trip to see Muslim influence in everyday culture. We took a short walk to our hotel (I forgot to mention we were staying in rooms with BEDS, no camping!) Yeah!
Later that day we went on a spice tour. It was better than what we expected. We toured the spice plantation and got to see what all the spices look like from roots to leaves. We got to see where peppercorns come from, vanilla beans (YUM), cinnamon, ginger, lemongrass, nutmeg, star fruit and many more. In the picture we posted is the little basket made out of a leaf they made for us, is was a great tour to actually see where all of our spices come from and their true form. We even got to see a local man climb a palm tree with no climbing gear and shuck a coconut from the tree all while singing a local song and the only word I can remember is “Jambo” (which is “hello” in Swahili). He cut open a bunch of coconuts and we ate and drink the insides, pretty tasty stuff.
After the tour we went to a local home and ate a traditional African meal of rice, cassava leaves, and a lot of fresh fruit (pineapple, star fruit, watermelon and passion fruit). The day came to an end pretty fast and having 28 people in a group, we all moved a little slower than expected so we had to extend our tour into the next day. So we ended our tour for the day at a really nice hotel and a couple drinks watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean.
That evening we walked into the square where they have local chefs and restaurants set up booths and cook to order local delicacies. Adam got to experiment with his 50mm lens and came out with some amazing shots. All the seafood you could imagine was available: prawns, lobster, fish, squid, octopus, not to mention freshly pressed sugarcane and so much more. We ate as much as we could and finished out dinner off with a chocolate banana pizza…delicious!
The next morning we all assembled and finished up our tour of the island. We visited a church which and we learned was once the location of the center of slave trading. This part of the tour sent shivers down our spines. I couldn’t even go into the area underneath the church that were the holding cells, because it made me feel claustrophobic. After this, we ventured into town and got to check out the local fish market where they sell whole fish caught the night before, huge 100 lb. marlins coming off of truck roof tops, dried fish, freshly cut meat hanging from racks, huge bundles of bananas, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes etc. Once you got past the awful smell that market was really amazing. It’s where all the restaurants and locals come for their food everyday, because not many of the people own refrigerators.
After our tour finished up we piled into a van and headed to the north part of the island where we were going to spend a couple more days relaxing and laying out at the beach.