Touring ramadan, so to speak..
Trip Start Aug 30, 2006
25Trip End Nov 10, 2006
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Basically it's a tour of a spice farm. It was pretty interesting. I learned some useful things like - cloves are good when you have a toothache, and it's what makes colgate - the toothpaste - taste like colgate. Apparently it's also good to have as a tea when you've eaten something that's disagreeing with your stomach. Whatever you ate - it will come out of you.
We toured cinnamon and nutmeg trees, vanilla and black pepper vines ( vines, who knew?) cardamom and papaya and pineapple. Each place we learned something new, something interesting.
ginger - tea, or raw cures sea sickness
lemongrass - is an insect repellent
nutmeg - makes some women trippy - can be an aphrodisiac
And then we ate in a local's house
We visited a lovely sandy beach with black coral rocks jutting out of the blue sea to the right, and dhows and canoes parked to the left. Vast blue sea ahead, and thatched huts to shade the weary.
I could not believe how many canadians were on the tour. Probably eighty percent of the twenty five people were canadians. There was a group of four or five volunteer NGO workers on vacation. There was a groupd of four or five who were on an exchange from Carlton to the University of Dar. It was so bizarre
Back in town the party at the end of Ramadan had begun. An enormous 'feed your family' event.
In a park there were hundreds of tents offering food, spicy potatoes, veggies, skewers of beef and goat, roasted squid, fishcakes, chapati.
And there were rows of tents selling cheap dollar-store-like toys. Water guns, spinning tops, wands that light up etc etc
There were ring toss games where you win whatever your ring lands around. Everything from 500 tsh (50 cents), to soft (Kleenex), to toys or condoms.
There was ice cream, and guys selling candies and chocolate. Little bags of peanuts and popcorn and red squishy sugar coated things they say comes from a fruit.
There was loud music from a disco tech in the middle of the park. Photo booths to capture the beauty of the families. They did look beautiful.
The women were dressed up incredibly - dazzling skirts, bright colors. The toddlers were dressed well, all of the kids were. The men, all - every last one of them - in long pristine white robes and caps.
So, families walk, the man leading the way with a group of seven and eight year olds, then follow the four and three year olds, and then comes mom - most often with a baby in arms.
Today everyone is happy.
Families ate food off of paper plates, sitting together on the grass wherever there was room. Men, always moving forward, would walk by and greet each other respectably, warmly
I learned how to make sugar cane juice. I've never liked the juice, but it was cool to learn.
I wandered down to the gardens by the sea. There is a beautiful gazebo and arch in the garden - mix with that the smells of food being cooked. And add the absolutely magical moments when kerosene lamps are lit, fires from the stoves are roaring, and the sky is still just light enough to see the ships in the sea.
(***Photos to come***)