Stone Town

Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
1
53
129
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar Archipelago,
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stone Town was brilliant - it was excellent, from the colourful fruit and spice markets, to the intricate labyrinth of alleyways that weave their way between buildings, shops and market stalls.

First off we wandered through the vibrant, bustling fruit and spice markets looking at all the exotic (to us) fruit and vegetables available - I really wished we were self catering, it would have been a culinary delight of wonderful fresh produce. The fruit market led on to a fish market and then a meat market - I don't know why, but I have a strange fascination with these sorts of places, a curiosity to see what sort of things are being sold. In the fish market there were all varieties of fish, shellfish, octopus etc. and in the meat market we saw a buffalo head and an antelope being chopped up for sale.

People come from all over Zanzibar to sell their wares here - it's a fantastic life watching place.

We investigated some of the alleyways and hidden courtyards, the museum and the fort.

We visited the site where the old slave market was, an appalling time in history where slaves were obtained from mainland Africa and traded with the Middle East. Some of the holding cells still exist and we went inside to have look - unbearable, unthinkable conditions - small, claustrophobic cells, no room to stand, holding up to 70 people at a time, there was no ventilation to speak of and often large numbers died of suffocation and dehydration - it was an extremely sombre and sobering time we spent there.

It was really so hot and walking around in the heat sapped all remaining energy from my mum and dad.  We all agreed it was time to hit the beach.. The sea was calm, warm, clear and inviting. Mum and dad came in for a bit, but me and John were in there for ages - which is surprising, since John doesn't swim too well and is nervous of the sea and has never really been in past his knees and even though I'm a really strong swimmer I don't feel totally comfortable in the sea either. To see John in there up to his chest and clearly enjoying just bobbing around made me extremely happy. The water was really buoyant and if you just laid back and relaxed you just floated around without having to do anything to keep afloat - we were in there for a good hour.

After splashing around we went and found a shaded spot under an umbrella and just chilled out reading our books, I have to admit, I'd not been looking forward to it, but on the quiet, really it was okay for a few hours.

Our room was ideally positioned to watch the sunset, it was breathtaking, simply beautiful, a pure horizon of golden orange - the sun flickering in a fire lit sky - even just the colours themselves served to remind me of where I was - Africa. I sat alone at first, but silently John decided to join me - he handed me a glass of fanta in a wine glass and we sat together watching the final light of day disappear into night.

After dinner my mum and dad went straight back to their room, me and John went to the sunset bar, a bar out on a pier type thing in the sea. We ordered a non-alcoholic cocktail each - called a banana seduction, which was absolutely delicious. A man called Hussein asked if he could join us and we ended up chatting to him for a while. Originally we were only going to stay for one drink, but we ended up having more banana seductions and stayed for a few hours. As we sat there we could see children going out to sea in the dark in small boats, Hussein said that they were around 12 years old and were going out fishing, he said they wouldn't be back till morning. He spoke about his family and asked about us. We told him we went into Stonetown today and went to the fish/meat/fruit market. He asked if we went and got fresh fish from the fish market at home and was extremely surprised when we said that we live around 150 kilometres from the nearest coastal village - How do you get fresh fish every day then he asks? It was a strange concept for him that we didn't actually eat fresh fish most days. He wanted to know things about England, like when the rains were - that was quite easy really - all year round!! and wanted to tell us things about Zanzibar and teach us some more words in Swahili, so we've added a couple more words to our vocab now. It was a really good time.
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Comments

starlagurl
starlagurl on

Very nice...
That was a busy day full of extremes, I'd say. Also, very lovely lovely sunset photos.

Louise

travelmonster
travelmonster on

Re: Very nice...
Yeah it was, a great day. Thanks about the photos, I love sunsets!

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