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Published: October 17th 2011
Turquoise waters and fine white sand, historical buildings and narrow alleyways, busy markets and friendly people, this is the colorful spice islands. This is Zanzibar.
On arriving in Stone Town you are met with a maze of winding alleyways and narrow streets, full of color and laughter. As you pass ancient buildings its easy to imagine a time of pirates and traders. A time when the Spice Islands were the ancient trading route to the world. A time when Royal Britannia ruled the seas.
Being welcomed into the slums by the local Muslims and seeing how they live with religious dedication an honesty is an eye opening experience. Being woken up at 5am with a call to prayer an unwanted reminder to explore this colorful and fascinating island.
As you weave in and out of the markets dodging an onslaught of traffic, the sights and sounds attack your senses. With the smell of spice in the air, you follow your nose towards the amazing foods available from the old fort and night market.
Watching the locals socialize and play board games in the street is mesmerizing. Taking time to talk with Arab business men and traders from
all over the world a fascinating experience.
While the local people survive on tourism, they are at the mercy of Tanzania's political climate. The recent sinking of the MS Spice Islander brings a sense of unity, and a reminder of their dependency on a fragile tourism industry.
Visiting an island in Africa where the local people protect foreign visitors is an unusual experience. Feeling safe to wonder the maze of alleyways at 2am a luxury. Taking photos of winding streets and colorful people without provocation an opportunity not to be missed.
While a large proportion of Zanzibar's indigenous people live in Poverty they often envy the rich tourists descending on the island. Yet they have something we have lost in the West, a sense of family and community. A place where they respect their elders and help the disadvantaged. A place where business is done through friends and family with honesty and integrity, working towards a common purpose without politics or greed to fleece the tourists.
Traveling to both the north and east of Zanzibar gives a nice introduction to the island. Finding rural villages along the coast is the challenge while Italian resorts buy up
coastline for development.
Enjoying the stunning beaches of the north, and the vast beaches on the east your vocation. Partying with the Rastafarian's until the early hours your reality. Sailing your first Dhow into the sunset an awesome adventure.
This is the Spice Islands.
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