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Stone Town and Garden Spice Tour

Zanzibar - Stone Town

Rested and hopeful for more relaxing times we wake and Sam drives us to the Ferry Station. In full "herd style" we follow like cattle and load onto the first ferry.
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A short 15 - 25 minute water commute to catch the main ferry to Zanzibar.
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This ferry is much larger with upholstered seats, refreshments and a rude "overlord" guarding the entrance.
We had our back packs on our backs - he didn't like that. He motioned for us "foreigners" to put our packs in an unsecured room before we could load onto the boat. Rose was no where and no help as we argued to keep our packs like others were doing. He kept insisting that foreigners had to put their bags there. He even grabbed Thom by the arm as I tried to look for Rose to get her assistance. In the end he won out and we resigned ourselves to leave the bags in the locked up area with all the other "Tourist" bags.

After the 90 minute commute we unload in Stone Town...


Stone Town also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for "old town") is the old part of Zanzibar City. Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa.
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Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture,With the East African culture being preeminent, there is a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. For this reason, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

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The heart of Stone Town mostly consists of a maze of narrow alleys lined by houses, shops, bazaars and mosques. Since most streets are too narrow for cars, the town is crowded with bicycles and motorbikes. The seafront has wider streets and larger, more regularly placed buildings.
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The most well-known feature of Zanzibari houses are the finely decorated wooden doors, with rich carvings and bas-reliefs, sometimes with big brass studs of Indian tradition. Two main types of doors can be distinguished: those of Indian style have rounded tops,
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while those in the Omani Arab style are rectangular. Carvings are often Islamic in content (for example, many consist of verses of the Qur'an), but other symbolism is occasionally used, e.g., Indian lotus flowers as emblems of prosperity.

Our hotel, a basic colonial building with showers and clean bathroom facilities. A walking tour was offered for $10 US but we opted instead to just wander on our own through the streets.
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Thom, cool Aussie Nancy and I take to the streets to see the sites like the beautiful water and colonial buildings, the park and occasionally stopping in to a shop or two.

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Along the way we bump into Rose who was shopping and Paul. Paul joins us and we continue to wander the streets. After getting lost in the narrow twisting maze of streets we found the local market which was so crazy busy!
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We walked around for a bit but needed to be off the streets between 5:30 and 6:30 at sundown because everyone would be inside praying for Ramadan and it may not be safe to be on the streets during that time since no one would be out except those looking to possibly mess with tourists. So to be safe they advise you to stay in .
Eventually we end up back by the ferry station where we stop in for WiFi and a drink.
My 'milkshake' which was actually just chocolate milk
We relax and even FaceTime with mom! Around 4 PM we head back to the hotel to prepare for this evenings visit to the food fair in the park.

That night the park was full of patrons and vendors. Ramadan was still in full swing so food after sunset is a BIG deal! We wandered a bit and looked at the food offerings but in the end thought better about eating some of the foods and we shared a "Tanzanian Pizza" - a crepe like creation could be made sweet or savory - we chose to get a veggie one. We bump into Bob, Christine, Vivian and Nancy the five of us decide to go to a restaurant for something a bit more substantial and a drink. We end up in a place called Mercury's. An upscale establishment named after Zanzibar's own Freddie Mercury!!! Two guesses what the soundtrack was... After dinner we went to the Dispensary but the advertised music was not on for the night due to Ramadan so we went back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we are going to head out of Stone Town and go first to a spice farm and then on to the beach / resort side of the island!

Zanzibar - Spice Farm

There is a brief rain shower during breakfast on the roof this AM producing a double rainbow - a positive sign of good things to come!

After a short walk to the "Big Tree" we meet our guide, Abdul

who joins us on our private bus and escorts us to the Spice Farm where we stop and walk through the many fields of crops getting entertained by his animated style.
We see, feel, smell and taste various plants along the tour:
lemon grass


My favorite cinnamon bark fresh from the tree yum!





Some kind of berry that can be used as lipstick???

Our friend here was making everyone some souvenirs from leaves and plants.
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After the tour we have a tasting of teas and many fruits grown locally.
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And around noon we come to a small house where we enter and are served a fine lunch of local cuisine. Rice Pilloa, cooked spinach, salad and octopus stew - all very tasty! (well I didn't have the octopus but Thom did...)
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After lunch we board the bus and off we go to the beach! 15 minutes into our ride the bus breaks down. We sit by the side of the dirt road while we wait for assistance.
As we sit locals begin to show their faces and start to gather near us. Some just staring while others (particularly the children) wave and smile saying hello! Luckily Abdul has a functioning cell phone and even better our new replacement ride arrives in a short time - back on the road...

Posted by Kelly Rose 16:57 Archived in Tanzania

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Kelly Rose and Thom! Sorry I haven't commented earlier. I have been silently stalking you :o). Looooove your posts and descriptive details. Looks and sounds like you are having an amazing trip! I am so happy for you both! God bless the rest of your travels and all of the lives you touch. You deserve nothing but the best. All my love to you, Ali

by Ali

Unfamiliar territory, foods, peoples, plants and animals - yet so very interesting and enjoyable. You two must be a true asset to the group with your total involvement and pleasure, continue to enjoy and share your journey - it is a real treasure...Love you, Mom and Dad

by Mom and Dad McLaughlin

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