Saturday, February 18, 2023

Zanzibar - a bit of spice - is this the real life?

Zanzibar joined the rest of Tanzania (Tanganyika) in 1964 but until then had been under the rule of sultans from Oman, and later was a British protectorate. The Arab influence is clear to see, mostly in their architecture and religion (95+% Muslim). 

We stayed a couple of nights in Stonetown, the old section of Zanzibar city. It’s basically a maze of narrow alleys, including markets, shops, hotels,etc. There are no cars and even a motorbike barely makes it through the narrow streets.

Our hotel had some interesting design features. Our room was on the 3rd floor (no elevator - I think I counted 70 stairs) and you entered through the bathroom. The 'bathroom' had a bench and several chairs and we hosted drinks there one evening mostly because it had a large fridge for our beverages. The toilet is behind that curtain and the whole room was basically 'outside'.

Fortunately the bedroom had air conditioning as it was hot and humid. Like all the beds we’ve been in this one had mosquito netting.

Through some saloon type doors was a small sitting area with stairs leading to a large sitting area on the roof. From there we could see out to the ocean and view the sunset.

To get to the rooftop dining room we had to go down lots of stairs then up some more. We enjoyed a traditional sunset dinner there one evening complete with music and dancing.

On our way to the east side of the island we stopped for a tour of a spice farm and a cooking lesson. It was interesting to see how spices such as cinnamon, clove, turmeric, cardamom, etc grow. Lots of different fruits as well - pineapple, coconut, mango, bungo, passionfruit. The fresh juices here are amazing.

We were gifted with some souvenirs.

Our cooking class featured falafal, pilau (rice dish) and a vegetable curry all made with freshly ground spices. Also some deliciously flakey chapati (flatbread). Thanks Cori.

We finally arrived ar our R'n'R spot for the next few days. No scheduled plans and a beautiful white, deserted sandy beach. This is the view out our door and the water is just beyond the greenery.

They call this the 'cocktail' pool and Ross is making full use of the 'honesty bar'.

Trying not to think about the shock to my system based on the weather predictions for Vernon when we get back (-16!!) but you can see there isn’t much variety here.

Pretty boring! Well, maybe not.

Oh yeah I’d forgotten that Freddy Mercury was from here until we drove past his museum on our way out of Stonetown. But then again this whole trip brings to mind:

Is this the real life? 
Is this just fantasy? 

A fantasy soon ending.


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