On Saterday, while my friends where camping out in the snow in Stadtkyll, Germany, Geraldine and I took the ferry of 9:30 from Dar heading to Zanzibar. Or we tried to take the ferry, but due to technical problems we had to switch vessels and had a huge delay. Oh well, this was a holiday, so not to bother too much. Finally, we could see what Dar looks like from the Indian Ocean:
The amount on red tape to get onto Zanzibar amazed me: metal detectors, health and visa forms, a doctor to check you on ebola, Geraldine was even questioned on her purpose - it is like entering another country. No wonder the Zanzibari were very interested in the recent referendum on the independence of Scotland; they might want to split off from the mainland Tanzania as well.
The ferry port is a crowded place, and everybody seems to want money. On our 5 min walk to the beautiful Warere Town House we were followed by a old man who wanted 5000 Tsh for giving the right directions; for that kind on money we could have gotten a taxi.
The hotel had refreshing cold towels at arrival - Stone Town is even more humid and warm than Dar - clean rooms, high beds and a roof terrace for breakfast and diner with a lovely view and cooling breeze.
It even had Zanzibari wildlife - or should I say "wildlief"
We did bring the mother cat some leftovers from our diner at Mercury's. The fish head was completely gone the next day, as where the chunks of tuna.
Which brings me to the most famous descendant of Zanzibar. Why do you think the name of the seaside bar annex restaurant is named Mercury's, the toilets are aptly named "King" and "Queen", and Bohemian Rhapsody is played day and night there. Yep, this guy is born on the island
Stone Town has a very relaxed feel, completely different from Dar. Admittedly, the store owners are pushy, but that is about the major nuisance. It feels safe to just get lost in the narrow alleys, knowing that you will get out somewhere. We did manage to walk past all the landmarks: the Old Castle (now a cultural centre), Forodhani park, the former Slave Market with the Christ Church, we saw it all.
Apparently, we couldn't get enough of touristic attractions, so the next day (Sunday) we ventured out to a "spice tour"; after all, Zanzibar is the one of the "spice islands". Omar the guide took us for a leisurely walk through some "fields" with peppers, cloves, palm trees, grapefruits, lychees, vanilla, mango trees, cassave, ginger, lemon grass, you name it, it grows on Zanzibar. The picture shows the piri piri (or pili pili) "hoho", which should be the sound you make to quench your mouth after eating it. They look so sweet, but are not.
We were decorated with palm leaves hats and necklaces, and given lunch: rice with the spices we just smelled and tasted.
Sunday afternoon was relaxed, as well as my Monday morning: just sitting in the shade, reading a book, having a beer (or coffee). Geraldine was dhowed to "Prison Island" to see the tortoises, and was bruised when getting off the dhow. At that time I was already back in Dar, in the pool of the Slipway.
Dinner at the Indian place Flames was excellent, just like the first time we were there. This time we had meat :-)