The exotic land of Zanzibar

Trip Start Feb 25, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sarah and i have just spent a week enjoying the finest Zanzibar has to offer.

After spending 2 nights in Dar Es Salam (known simply as Dar to the locals) we caught a ferry over the waves to arrive in Zanzibar by evening. The sky was cloudless and even though it was 6pm, the sun was still beating down. Dar was a hectic place, quite built up but with food and drinks at traveller prices! Zanzibar is slightly more expensive but when you're sipping a beer gazing out onto postcard views, you tend to not mind too much paying a dollar for a beer! Our first stop was Stone Town where we spent ages meandering down the narrow alleyways hunting for bargins! Stone town is a great place, offering decent cheap accomodation, fresh seafood by the harbour from about 6pm onwards and is laced with history. Formerly a slave island, the portugese and then the british have all left their mark here. The buildings are amazing with obvious european architects. We've embarked on a spice tour, where we were shown spices such as vanilla, nutmeg, pepper corns and cinnamon to name a few. We hired a jeep for a few days where the roads of Zanzibar really put it through it's paces (well, so did i!) Only a few of the roads are tarmac'd, leaving the rest as uneven rubble. Great fun in a 4wd! We stayed on the east coast (north coast being the other option but too expensive!) for a night. If you're a lone traveller i can imagine the Zanzibar would be a lonely place. It's very couply place which is great for sarah and i.

Trying to be romantic, i took Sarahs hand in my as we walked down the street. i heard laughter behind me but ignored it, thinking it was nothing to do with us. When the laughter continued i turned around to see if the laughter was directed at us. Indeed it was, and it was coming from 2 local lads. Furthermore, they were hand in hand walking down the street! Not an act of homosexuality, simply a display of friendship and brotherhood. It is NOT accepted for locals to hold hands with member of the opposite sex, but for foreigners its tollerated and laughed at. Over the next week i noticed many many local men walking down the street whilst holding hands with eachother.... yet another cultural difference.... should be used to them by now!
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