A simpler way of life

Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
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Trip End Apr 08, 2012


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Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar Archipelago,
Saturday, May 28, 2011

It was a restless nights sleep as the lack of air con made it stiflingly hot in the room. I kicked off the light sheet during the night to get some air, but as a result was eaten alive by mosquitoes once again: I wouldn't mind so much (antimalarial tablets still being taken) but I react really badly to insect bites: my face, arms, legs and back are now decorated in angry looking red swollen lumps: that ought to keep the pestering men away at least.

I decided against beach hopping as the heavens opened again, and so made my way back to the drop off and pick up point in the village to squeeze myself back onto the dalla-dalla - the ancient, rickety vehicle I arrived on yesterday.

As I was bumped along the road back to Stone Town I was struck once again by my surroundings, the people and their way of life. It's almost like they're happily stuck in a time warp - before fancy technology and modern ways of life, in terms of housing and home comforts, children's toys and the type of job people head out the door to began to change perspectives. It seems the country is not run by want of money: in fact the people are resourceful and content with their living resources. They seem happy with their way of life and seem wary of the modern world interfering. Yesterday as I walked along the beach I couldn't help but notice the hotels that littered the edge of the beach, and speaking with one of the locals, it would seem that they're less than happy with the steady increase of tourists. It may bring in money, but its pushed up the whole cost of living, and certain beaches are now off limits to locals, reserved for hotel guests only. I eyed the numerous Vodacom billboards that were blazoned across numerous grey brick shop walls and rooftops - the modern world was indeed leaving its mark in a part of the world not yet totally accustomed or willing to accept it. The smell of marijuana - something i've noticed here - hung in the air with the thought as the rain rushed against the driver's window and we hurtled along the road.

Back in Stone Town I found my way to a couple of those tourism offices that the locals are so unsure of and booked in a spice tour and trip to Prison insland for the next couple of days: there's no use pretending I'm not a tourist - and I do want to see and experience as much as possible while I'm here.

I learnt today that Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - claimed so in 2000 - and it's easy to see why. The town, built with a dizzying blend of African, Arabic and Portuguese influences forms through maze-like alleyways that spill out onto lively main streets filled with stalls and people. I walked through the streets returning the calls of jambo (hi) and mambo (how are you?) making my way to Mercury's restaurant and bar for the evening, realising I hadn't eaten much all day.

Mercury's is a fun, friendly venue set right out on the beach, the interior walls decorated with memorabilia of Freddie Mercury; I also learnt today that the front man to Queen was born in Zanzibar. I took in the memorabilia and the view out to sea as I sat in the still hot sun at 5pm watching ten or so young boys kick a football on the beach -a simpler way of life calls for simpler entertainment; no computer games are needed here. And I don't think anyone minds, either.
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