Monday, July 9, 2012

07/07 & 07/08 - Zanzibar!!

Sorry no blog update yesterday or Sunday.  We were traveling and getting settled in the new lodge.  The internet at the new place is a little quirky (big surprise).  It seems to go off each night when I am trying to post so heres a Monday update for the entire weekend.  Saturday morning, we left Arusha for Zanzibar.  The flight was only a little over an hour.  The airport was typical of the small African airports that we have seen here.  We were holding up the line because they were actually handwriting our boarding passes.  They also hit us up for 5,000 shillings more each.  The lady said it was a "new government tax."  It seemed a little sketchy, but not worth arguing about.  

Arusha Airport

Handwritten boarding pass
Bad picture but we finally got to see Kilimanjaro

Approaching the island

Once, we got to Zanzibar, there was no one there to pick us up.  We got grabbed by a large man who was looking for 6 people who apparently matched our description (I guess we don't blend).  We were hustled into a van, along with all our bags.  We drove for quite some time (much longer than the book had indicated we should have gone).  Eventually, Gretchen asked the driver and he said "Imani??  You said Amani!" at which point, we turned around.  Apparently, there are resorts named Imani and Amani both on the beach.  Shortly after turning around, the driver got a call that the 6 people headed to Amani were still waiting at the airport.  Apologies to them.  We did not mean to steal their ride.  
Streets of Zanzibar
We headed back toward town and turned down what looked like a fairly scary little road in a neighborhood called Bububu.  I was a little nervous, but when we finally got to our resort, it is actually a beautiful beach villa.  We made it here just in time for sunset last night.  The villa is on the west coast of the island on the Indian Ocean so the sunset was beautiful.  Outside the hotel, there is a bar/restaurant that is in a "treehouse" in the villa compound.  We had a great dinner (I had grilled Kingfish and rice with coconut sauce), but then about 8 the power went out.  The owner explained that it was a regular (maybe nightly, not sure yet) event.  It is part of a load sharing program because they have issues with power here.  It came back on about 9:30, but the internet was done for the night.  
Street approaching our place

Chilling in the treehouse

Mine and Kelsey's room

Sunset outside the hotel

The lobby

Very Zanzibari

Bar at the treehouse

Sitting area
Sunday, we got up early for breakfast and then headed out to do a "spice tour."  The biggest sources of income for the island are sales from spices (mainly cloves, followed by cinnamon).  We tried lots of different types.  I had never seen most of them growing.  The first one we came upon was a nutmeg tree.  We then saw lemongrass, cinnamon, black pepper, cacao, cloves.  It was a fun day.  After the walking tour, of course they had plenty of all of them to sell to us.  
Road through the spice farm

Our guide showing us nutmeg he pulled off a tree

Kelsey with an uncomfortable smile
while she gets her palm jewelry

Yes I am wearing a palm frond tie
and crown one of the guides made for me

Our guide and his two assistants

Lunch at the spice farm

After we got back to our hotel, we took a boat ride to the "slave chambers."  This was a secret area on the northern part of the island where they continued the slave trade after it became illegal in the mid 19th century.   The boat we took was a rundown fishing boat with a small outboard motor.  It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there.  After the ride, he aimed the boat at what looked like an abandoned beach.  We climbed off and headed up a nearly invisible walkway that had been carved out of the coral more than 100 years ago.  Once we got thru the foliage, we saw the coral roof of the underground slave chamber.  Our guide helped us walk down inside and showed us the holes in the wall where the chains used to be attached.  Zanzibar was a huge hub of slave trading, and this was a rather depressing reminder of that major part of the island's history. 
Climbing onto our boat

View of our boat from the coral cliffs
above the hidden slave chambers

Seth climbing down into the caves

This is where they kept the secret slaves
after the abolition of the official slave trade

After heading back down, we visited another beach.  On this beach, our guide took us snorkeling.  There were sea urchins on the bottom and we saw a few fish, but we didn't go out far enough to really see anything big.  (although we did see monkeys in the trees when we came back).  The boat ride home was beautiful.  Another perfect sunset to end a really, really nice day.  


Another amazing sunset

Boat ride home

1 comment:

  1. I can tell by the smile that these past days have been a nice break for you.