Ferry Crossing to Zanzibar & Spice Tour

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
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Trip End Dec 10, 2011


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What I did
Butterfly Spice Farm
Walking Tour of Stone Town
Freddie Mercury's House in Stone Town

Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar Urban/West,
Saturday, November 26, 2011


We got up for 7 am breakfast and 8 am departure.  Chris joked with me abut continuing the trip and he would get me in for free since he is the big boss.  Chris and Eunice call me Diana Ross and I call him Chris Rock.  He was supposed to do a rap number with Eunice for us, but it never happened.  I have to keep putting off doing my singing since Diana Ross I am not.

We drove a little ways to a ferry where we went upstairs and Chris helped carry my big bag.  I felt bad about that because I am supposed to be able to carry my own bags.  It is part of the overland experience, but that green roller bag is very heavy these days.  It was a short trip and then we got a minivan to the Zanzibar ferry port where we had an hour to wait and we walked around Dar es Salaam a little bit.  Chris said that previously we were able to take the truck over the first ferry and it is just recently that it has become undoable.

We got into a waiting area for an hour and Chris laughed because I thought it was the ferry itself.  On the ferry, we had economy seats...at least that is where we were guided....but later I found out that no one cares and you could go anywhere you wanted.  I sat in one row and Juliet in another and I heard her chatting with the person next to her.  The man next to me communicated by sign language so I assumed that we didn't share a common language.  Maybe not a valid assumption.

After approximately 2 hrs we landed in Stone Town and went to our hotel.  Then we had a lovely lunch at a nearby restaurant where I had red snapper.  Then we headed out on our Spice Tour.  We had a guide who mimicked various Western accents.  At first it was sort of amusing; then it got a little tiresome.  We first walked around Stone Town and saw the fort, the palace-the House of Wonders-because it was the first to have electricity, an elevator and other modern conveniences.  The elevator no longer works.  We also saw St Monica's which has a cross from the tree where David Livingstone's heart was buried.  David Livingstone is a kind of saint here because of his missionary and humanitarian work.  Then we went to the old slave market where we saw where slaves were kept before being sold.  Not pleasant at all.  Apparently, Zanzibar was the slave trading center on the East coast which served Arabia and Eastern countries. 
So we walked around quite a bit of old Stone Town during this short tour.

The Spice Farm was next.  It appeared more like a tourist education center than a plantation of any size because all the plants were mixed up together in a relatively small area.  Our guide was accompanied by Said who cut things with his big machete.  He was also busy making things as we later found out.  We saw cinnamon bark, lemon grass, nutmeg and mace, henna, cloves, pepper, allspice tree (very small), vanilla and more stuff that I can't remember. now.  At the end we sat under a canopy and drank 3 kinds of tea:  masala, lemongrass & ginger, and a third forgotten one.  We ate oranges, pineapple, passion fruit and jackfruit - all cut up by Said I think with his machete.  The jackfruit was said to taste like a combination of pineapple and banana ....and it did.  After that Said climbed a coconut tree and gave us coconuts to drink from.  He hacked up the coconuts so that there was a round opening in each one of them.  Finally he made us crowns and frog necklaces ...all from papyrus leaves.  We each had a slightly different version and Matt - our sole male representative - had a tie.  This was definitely a highlight....maybe that coconut water was spiked with something because we were all giddy walking around with our crowns.  Simple pleasures!

After the Spice Tour we came back and had some drinks at the Livingstone Bar since it was happy hour.  I had 2 pina coladas.  Juliet had a caprioschka and a pina colada.  Mel recommended the caprioschka.  Then we walked to the night food market in the square and checked out the stalls.  There were skewers of all kinds of meat and seafood.  Some of the group had a sort of pizza.  Others went to a restaurant for Indian food.  Juliet and I stayed at the market.  She checked out lots of stalls and then chose a falafel.  It was huge!  They put a yogurt sauce on it and then ketchup.  I got a roasted ear of corn and it was tasty, but very tough and it took me a long time to finish most of it.  It was too much for me to eat it all.  Or maybe I should say, it would have taken me too long to eat all of it.

Back at the room I tried to get organized and pack a small amount for the trip north so I could leave my big bag behind.  Juliet fell asleep before I finished.  I put down my mosquito net but not hers.  She challenged me saying a real friend would have put down her net so she wouldn't get any mosquito bites.  She had been taking her brewers yeast more faithfully than I and had said she wasn't getting bitten really.  I was still getting bites and even got a few that night.   With my mosquito net.
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