Published: February 7th 2011January 18th 2011
Welcome to Zanzibar. Blue and turquoise shore line, with local fishing boats sprawled along the coast. We walked along the beach for awhile until we saw Old Fort (a Stone Town landmark) and then headed into the narrow, mesh of streets. The buildings were old, grey and falling apart but the history and stories that those building have experienced is evident. It is so easy to get lost though - on more than one occasion I was unable to determine in which direction I needed to head towards. So much for my sense of direction.
My lack of sleep probably had a lot to do with how quickly I got annoyed with the people of Zanzibar, but I was surprised and saddened to see how tourism has corrupted and distorted the local culture of the Zanzibar people. Everyone wants something in return for their help. There is no sense of human kindness of just offering help or service. People don't want to just point you in the right direction, they will show you but then you need to give them something in return. I got over being in Stone Town quickly, so Don and I hoped in a Dalla dalla
(local minibus here) and headed for the nearest beach to swim. A picture perfect deserted beach with refreshing cool water was just what I needed to calm myself back down to zero - Stone Town + the heat were a bit overwhelming for me with no sleep.
Back in Stone Town, Don and I found a hotel restaurant on the beach where we could have sundowners. It was a beautiful setting with the locals doing Capoeria on the beach, the sailing and fishing boats heading into the harbour and the sun setting over the ocean. The night markets provided perfect dining, with street vendors selling anything from octopus on Zanzibar pizza (think pancake dough, with diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, sauce and an egg cooked on a skottle). Of course we had tasters but settled on tasty, 'Zanzibar Cuisine' in a tiny restaurant we had stumbled upon earlier that day. I'm glad I got to see Stone Town at night, it was a far better experience than during the day. Maybe its because it wasn't as hot or because there are less tourists out, but I found the people far more friendly at night.
There are more photos below