March 21st, 2013

Brains

Zanzibar Day 1: Darajani and Forodhani Markets

Originally published at Rodney's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

So today I decided to get lost wandering around Stone Town’s markets. It was really an interesting experience to walk around Darajani Market (where everything from food to socks to sunglasses to mobile phones are sold. I have to say the spice markets smelled wonderful, but the meat and fish markets were an assault on the senses. And there were flies everywhere. It took some getting used to, but the immersion experience was fantastic. It was what I had been missing during my trip to Nigeria – a chance to interact with the local culture on my terms, without security, and haggling just like everyone else. I ended up not buying anything really, but it was really nice to look around. It turns out that most people are sensitive to having their pictures taken, so I didn’t take much in the way of photos of the market.

After spending time at Darajani Market, it was early evening so I headed in the opposite direction towards the Forodhani evening food market near the water. Interesting to note that there is fre wifi there :-) It’s in a really clean area of down by the sea. In terms of food, the food market was clean and delicious. I ate something that call “Zanzibar Pizza” which is more of a kind of pie cooked Halal-style with ingredients which have mostly been pre-pared and only need to be re-heated. But the pizzas were delicious. I ended up eating a chicken pizza and a beef pizza. And I washed it down with sugar cane juice, which is juice from sugar cane with lemon and ginger added. They run the three ingredients together through a kind of wheel press. I was skeptical at first but I have to say that it tasted great! I finally ended my eating experience with a chicken kebab which was yummy and then a cafe latte at a local restaurant. It was a really great food market and I will be making a return visit before I leave Zanzibar :)

Not the best photo, but here you can see how sugar cane juice is made

Not the best photo, but here you can see how sugar cane juice is made

My Zanzibar Pizza being made. They were so good I had to eat two of them :)

My Zanzibar Pizza being made. They were so good I had to eat two of them :)

A person checking his phone at sunset. The power had just been out for a few minutes

A person checking his phone at sunset. The power had just been out for a few minutes

Panorama shot of the Forodhani Bay

Panorama shot of the Forodhani Bay

Panorama shot of the Forodhani Bay

Panorama shot of the Forodhani Bay

Boats of all sizes out on the water

Boats of all sizes out on the water

Boats of all sizes out on the water

Boats of all sizes out on the water

Boats of all sizes out on the water

Boats of all sizes out on the water

Sitting on the dock of the bay, wasting time...

Sitting on the dock of the bay, wasting time…

The water is beautiful even at night

The water is beautiful even at night

Enjoying the sunset

Enjoying the sunset

Lesson Learned: Don't set your food down for a second, otherwise the cats get it :)

Lesson Learned: Don’t set your food down for a second, otherwise the cats get it :)

Lesson Learned: Don't set your food down for a second, otherwise the cats get it :)

Lesson Learned: Don’t set your food down for a second, otherwise the cats get it :)

Flat Eric

Zanzibar Day 2 (Morning): Spice Farm Tour

Originally published at Rodney's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

So this morning I wanted to visit a spice farm. But I didn’t want to visit just any spice farm. I wanted to visit a spice farm that had a track record of re-investing in the community so that it wasn’t all about profits. Thankfully the hotel knew what I was looking for and we (I was joined by one of the hotel owner’s counsins) ended up finding a spice farm which benefited children orphaned who parents had died of HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately I didn’t get any opportunity to spend time with the children like I had hoped (they were currently in school session), but I said hi to as many as possible and they were nice enough to let me snap some photos.

IMG_2528 (Small) IMG_2542 (Small) IMG_2538 (Small) IMG_2529 (Small)

We continued onto the spice tour where our guide Solomon showed us the different spices and we got the opportunity to sample many spices right from the plant. It was a bit embarrassing at times to not know what some of the spices I really like the most (e.g. nutmeg, etc, etc) look like. I considered this to be a great educational experience involving food as well. After learning about the different spices in Zanzibar (including something called Freddie Mercury Fruit which turns your lips red) we sat down for a traditional lunch using spices grown at the farm. The lunch was delicious and not at all hot (as was my assumption that all of the spices would be hot, but there was a delicious range). Also interesting here was watching the guys climb the trees without any forms of harness. And they do it barefoot. I don’t think that this would be allowed anywhere in the Western Hemisphere :)

IMG_2526 (Small) IMG_2623 (Small) IMG_2621 (Small) IMG_2619 (Small) IMG_2617 (Small) IMG_2613 (Small) IMG_2611 (Small) IMG_2610 (Small) IMG_2609 (Small) IMG_2601 (Small) IMG_2593 (Small) IMG_2590 (Small) IMG_2589 (Small) IMG_2585 (Small) IMG_2583 (Small) IMG_2582 (Small) IMG_2581 (Small) IMG_2575 (Small) IMG_2566 (Small) IMG_2562 (Small) IMG_2553 (Small)

Finally, now I update this blog post to include a link to the video I took of one of the tree climbing boys singing the Kilimanjaro song whilst climbing the tree tops :D

Doubtfire

Zanzibar Day 2 (afternoon): Anglican Church/Old Slave Market and Stone Town Tour

Originally published at Rodney's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

After a great Spice Tour visit I decided to get a little more cultural and learn some more about the history of Tanzania. So with a guide I visited the Anglican Church which used to be the site of the slave market in Zanzibar. More specifically, it was a slave market used by the Portuguese and the Arabs to sell slaves and then when the British came they closed the slave market and in it’s place put a church as a way to change the karma of the site. I had a really good guide who was happy to answer all of the questions I had. What struck me most was the following:

  • The extend to which Africans sold other Africans into slavery was much wider than I thought. Warring tribes would sell each other off to foreigners who were only too willing to receive them.
  • Red tiles around the altar which was placed where the tree was used to sell and/or hang slaves
  • The baptism bowl was located at the spot (in the back of the church which is atypical because it is usually in the front) where slave children used to be killed who weren’t strong enough to be sold for work
  • The tomb of the Bishop who drove for the closure of the market and construction of the Church.
  • The place where they kept up to 125 slaves in a place where you could only literally fit 40 people overall
  • The monument that was build to remember the old slave site.

IMG_2326 (Small) IMG_2661 (Small) IMG_2654 (Small) IMG_2650 (Small) IMG_2648 (Small) IMG_2647 (Small) IMG_2645 (Small) IMG_2640 (Small) IMG_2638 (Small) IMG_2637 (Small) IMG_2634 (Small) IMG_2632 (Small) IMG_2631 (Small)

After our trip to the church, we spent another hour walking around Stone Town, visiting the different markets, and learning more about the location and history. Stone Town – a world heritage site – has lots of beautiful doors which have Arabic and Indian influences. We also stopped by “Jaws Corner” which is named that way because it means that people stop there for conversation and talking. Finally we stopped by the location where Freddy Mercury (of Queen) was born. It was a really good way to spend 3 hours :)

IMG_2669 (Small) IMG_2327 (Small) IMG_2687 (Small) IMG_2682 (Small) IMG_2681 (Small) IMG_2679 (Small) IMG_2675 (Small) IMG_2672 (Small) IMG_2670 (Small)