! I think we would have had a hard time without him. He walked us to the hotel, which is being renovated now, we checked in and headed to 'The Mercury' restaurant to have dinner and celebrate our Dutch mother’s birthday J, food and service were good and they have a beautiful view on the harbor.
The next day we started our sightseeing through Stone Town, we were amazed by all the historical sights, but unfortunately it is very run down, the buildings need serious maintenance. We went to the former slaves market, where a man offered his services as a tour guide. It was quite interesting! We learned about Livingston who was the main force to abolish slavery in the UK and also about the Anglican bishop Edward Steer who used to buy slaves to free them. We also went to the Palace of Wonders, a great place to learn more about the ‘Swahili’ people, slavery, the ruling of Oman over Zanzibar and what an open society this was, with common interracial marriage and slavery amongst Arabs never being as abusive as what we know from the USA, as slaves would very often mix so much ending up in the Omani part of the family.
We got lost many times in the town, in its narrow streets, with thousands of shops, bicycles, people and even mopeds finding its way, passing by Islamic schools with girls fully covered and boys wearing their Islamic hat and tunic outfit chanting verses of the Quran
. At some areas of the town they would completely ignore us or just be kind, and at the touristic areas they would try to sell souvenirs and talk to us all the time. We finally got to The Palace Museum, which was the residency of the last Sultan of Oman in Zanzibar under British protectorate, it gave a good insight in how their lifes were, and they have a collection of trade treaties with Europe, amongst them with France and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We enjoyed getting lost again in the labyrinth of narrow streets, while looking for a bookshop as we hoped to buy a lonely planet for India to prepare our future trip, however, there are 2 bookshops, way too expensive and none with the lonely planet of India! We were exhausted after walking all day and we had a well-deserved dinner at the Forodhani Gardens. These gardens are between the sea and The Palace of Wonders, a wealthy Zanzibar-Indian business man revamped them and every evening there is a food market with delicious fish. Rashid, our cook for that evening, talked us into buying at his stall, he spoke in a flawless English, we enjoyed Tuna, Lobster, Shrimps, Arabic bread and lovely sugar cane juice with ginger, the food was great, but he definitely ripped me off, charging 20Euro instead of 15Euro, it sounds like a big difference in Tanzanian Schilling though, from 35,000 to 50,000… well, he was very nice, and dinner was delicious!
Our last day in Stone Town we went to the post office to send a package home, with a lovely safari painting and books. The package was 2kg, and at that office only 1kg packages are allowed, so we had to open the box and create a 1kg package, and put it in an envelope, we also did some shopping, got lost and finally got back to the hotel to have a couple of hours enjoying the view from the roof terrace waiting for our pick-up to bring us to Jambiani beach.
It took us a 8hour bus drive from Moshi to Dar es Salaam. The bus station is still at least 15min. car drive from the harbor, where we had to take the ferry to Zanzibar. We arrived at 15.30 to the bus station, got a taxi and were still on time for the last ferry to Zanzibar at 16hrs. The taxi driver took us to a different ferry than we asked, I guess he would get his commission of course, the price was the same, but instead of taking 1 ½ hr it took 2 hours to the island, not too bad. But the ferry was really crowded! Inside it was good air-conditioned and they had a Mr. Bean and a Jackie Chan movie on. Once we arrived at the harbor we were expecting the pick-up from our hotel The Warere townhouse; in the middle of all the chaos, there was the man waiting for us. That was a great relief as we arrived at the harbor and it was already dark, and it was very crowded, there were so many locals trying to sell or offer something, it was real chaos, but Charlie, the manager of the hotel was there waiting for us with our immigration forms and pens; excellent