Beaches of Zanzibar

Trip Start Jun 05, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar North,
Monday, June 18, 2012

Got up at 7:00 and went to breakfast which was cereal with our first cold milk in a long time, eggs, toast, and lady finger bananas.  Got back to the room and packed us and had about 30 minutes before we had to meet the group.  We headed to the slave market first.  Then Anglican Church of Tanzania Diocese of Zanzibar is located at the spot where slave trade was occuring.  Zanzibar means "Island of blank" - zank means black and bar means country.  From the Bantu language where Swahili comes from.  People move to Zanzibar from Tanzania, Kenya, Ethopia, Asia, and sailors from Oman, Iran, and India using dhors.  They started growing spices to eat.  They called the exported spices Queen spices including coconut and cloves.  In the 12 century, white people from Portugal came including Vasco de Gama, Christianity and Islam were already here.  Catholic religion was brought by Portugal.  Stonetown was originally a lagoon and used stone to help build it up.  In the 15th century Swahili people asked Oman to get rid of Portugal and there was a battle.  The Sultan of Oman became Sultan of Zanzibar.  If you stole, you got your hand chopped off, and it was common to have stonings. Indians came, the Arabs built palaces, and there started being big discrimination between rich and poor.  Now, the cost of living in stonetown is $30 per month so people live outside town and come to town to work.  Cloves are exported to America, Great Britain, and Scandanavia.  Turmeric is good for the skin, asthma, chest pain, and singers use it for the voice.  In teh 17th century the idea of stave trade came up.  It was an economic thing for the Arabs.  When tribes would battle they would get the people to help capture the enemy.  To ship a slave to Zanzibar it took 2-3 weeks with no food or water.  They were even piled on top of each other.  Then for an additional two weeks they were held in a small area.  One area was for men and held 75 people, and the other room was for women and children and held 55.  It was a very small room.  The Arabs, French, Oman, and British bought slaves.  The slaves would be whipped three times at the auction and if they did not cry it was possible that they would sell for good money.  If they cried, often times they wouldn't sell, so they would have to go back into the holding area for another two weeks until the next sale, often times dying before the next auction.  For 70 years, this continued at the spot where we were.  Then, David Livingstone, explorer and missionary, said it needed to stop, that it was against their religion to hold people.  In 1871, the United Kingdom backed Livingstone and it was stopped in 1873. Unfortunately however, the Arabs continued it for another 30 more years only 8 kilometers from where it had been previously.  This chuch that we were sitting in while learning all of this information was erected with the help of several nations.  Italy provided very nice marble columns but they were installed upside-down by accident.  We left the church and headed over across the way to the holding areas that we had been told about.  I can't even imagine how bad those conditions would have been.  It was very sad to visit this spot. 
    We hopped onto the bus and headed to the spice plantations.  We passed through a very smelly, polluted, dirty part of town.  Then we turned towards the spice farms and it was a little bit nicer in that area. The frist spice we saw was cardomin which is used for cooking and baking bread.  You pick the seeds and allow them to dry.  Then we learned about the Anato plant which is called local lipstice because it stains in a bright red color.  Then we came to the vanilla bean.  It takes a year for the beans to be ready, and then one big plant might only have five total beans on it.  .  Next, we saw coffee, starfruit, passion fruit, leche, papaya, and jackfruit which grown right from the trunk of the tree.  Next we saw iodine and the boy walking with us cut open a twig with his knife and you could see the iodine bead up and then come out.  We were suprised that curry powder comes from the leaf, then is ground into a powder to cook in food.  Then we saw tumeric which is used for many things that our guide talked about earlier in the day.  Then we saw sky monkeys running around.  I thought that they were really cute but apparently they are quite distructive to the spice plantations.  We saw the sour sop and chili peppers.  Then we saw cinnamon with is just the stripped off the bark.  The zlang lange was extremely fragrant.  The locals call it Canel nothing.  Jasmine is also used for perfume and lemon grass is too.  A guy came and sold soap and fragrances.  They smelled great but the prices were way too high.  Ernest and Marlene bought three soaps and three fragrances for $37.  We continued and saw durians where are so smelly that some places like hotels have signs saying "No durians allowed".  Then we saw the henna tree in which the flowers are dried and chopped up to make the dye.  Then we saw ginger up close and got to see, smell, and taste it.  It tasted really strong.  The lemongrass us good for tea and keeping away mosquitos.  Next we saw black pepper, red pepper, and white pepper.  We learned that all three types come from the same plant it is just the seed picked at different "ripeness".  Peppers and vanilla both have to grown on something as the vines can't support themselves.  Miles found what I call the "sensitive" plant that closed up when you touched it.  There was also mint and local cotton.  Then probably my favorite was the clove.  The boy with us climbed about 15 feet up into a tree.  He plucked off some cloves and brought them down for us to see.  Each clove has to be hand picked, dried, then you take it to the government and they pay you.  Unfortuantely it is a little bit of a monopoly.  Then we were seated and got to try three different teas.  We had lemon grass tea, then the next was strong, kinda like red hots, then the last, ginger tea,  was totally spicy and burned your mouth.  Then we sampled two types of bananas, starfruit, clementines, oranges, jackfruit, grapefruits, and a few other things.
    Then we left and headed to a local home down a tiny dirt road. We took off our shoes and sat on the floor which the woman finished fixing dinner.  We had rice with a bunch of spices, spinach, and some octopus that still had the suction cups.  Then we appropriately had bananas for dessert.  We said our thank you's and goodbyes then headed to Kendwa Beach which is about 1 hour drive from the plantations.  I think that most of us took a nap on the way so the ride when pretty fast.  We checked in at Sunset Bungalows.  We had trouble figuring out the safe, but once we figured that out we were good to go.  We checked out the restaurant (expensive) and the dive shop, then Miles snorkeled a bit.  I started to but then saw jellyfish and decided no to.  He saw a neat starfish and some other fish.  We walked down the beach a little and checked out other dive shops and restaurants.  We cleaned up a little then started walking to the next town while Victor told us was a 30 minute walk. was 15 minutes just to get to the main road, then abour 30 minutes until we got to anything, then about 15 more minutes walking through a really poor area until we finally popped out on the beach.  We chose a place for dinner called Barak's because the menu was extensive and you got a free smoothie with a meal purchase.  The smoothie had chocolate, banana, and some sort of citrus.  Miles got jackfish and I got chicken.  It was served with rice and french fries.  We watched the sunset and some guys playing soccer on the beach.  Then we had three choices:  hire a taxi, walk the roads, or walk the beach.  Of course we did not have bug spray or a flashlight.  We chose the beach but when we got to the Royal Zanzibar hotel the water was deep so we thought we could just walk to the other side of the resort.  When we got there workers said it was not possible.  That hotel was amazing with infinity pool and a buffet to die for.  We got walked out to a pitch dark road which I thought was rather unsafe.  We walked awhile then came to the next hotel.  It was gated with guards and we explained our situation.  We weren't guests so we weren't allowed to walk through on our own to get to the beach.  We were sent to the staff entrance where we were told that a guard would have to walk us out.  The resort was huge so it took forever to get to the beach.  Then there was a guard dog so we had to wait until it was under control.  Then he sneeked us through an opening in the rock and onto the beach.  I think he was going to leave us at that point but since Miles gave him a tip (2000 TSH) he continued with us for a distance and said that area was unsafe and we could get jumped.  Finally he said we were safe to walk on our own and I was relieved that this adventure was over.  We saw that the internet at our resort was closed so we went to the next one down.  Internet was 3500TSH for 30 minutes so we looked at facebook, hotmail, logged 5.5 miles on map my fitness and updated travelpod.  Then we got some overpriced ice cream and headed back to the room for the night.  We are used to paying 1000-1500 for an ice cream bar but this was 2000 for one scoop.  Usually it is all the ice cream in the cone and one scoop. No!  This was only one scoop in a cup so it wasn't very much.  Oh well, when we get to Stonetown or Dar es Salaam I can get the good stuff again. 


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Mom in FW on

Your dinner sounds lovely!! So did the spice plantains - I would love that!! Good call on the jellyfish/snorkling, Michele!! So sad about the slavemarkets - hard to imagine or believe. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for you two!! Enjoy, and thank you so very much for such great details of your adventures. We love you!! Bob and Mom

givethemyourshoesMiles on

If you can get some tumeric for cheap, I would do it. It's extremely good for you and apparently is sold pretty expensively over here. Also, April said she would pay you back if you can find her a little hand-made container box (wood made or something) for under $20. She had specifics, though, so you'll have to hold off until I know more.

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