On our wish list for a long time and now reality!
Early morning we got up and did the final touches before leaving the Cruiser behind, a bit concerned as it would be the first in 4 months that we won't be sleeping in the cruiser, but all fridges running and double checking the electricity connections we left to see if the Tucktuck we booked was waiting at reception. We hopped in and experienced these fearless guys driving style from the backseat and all too soon we were dropped of at the ferry to cross the bay to Dar, from here we had to do a short walk to
the ferry to take us to Zanzibar. It was still early morning and everybody was on their way to school and
work. First time in almost 4 months that we were part of the rush hour, and then in a complete different
capacity, and overall by foot on a ferry with a backpack on the back.
We bought our tickets after eluding all the scouts and entered the luxurious Kilimanjaro IV to sit back in air-conditioned seats to watch a Leon Schuster movie on the big screen. We were probably the two people on board that could relate best to the scenes and humour. We had our passports stamped once set foot on Zanzibar and immediately were over swamped by taxi drivers and guides all too willing to show or take us places on the island.
We decided to first take a look around on our own before we should phone Moudy from the Hiliki house guesthouse to come fetch us. We strolled through the market and sat down for a cup of spice tea and spice coffee and some pancakes for breakfast on pavement cafe and watching the colourful bypass of scooters, pedestrians, school kids, bicycles, taxis and loaded trucks. The spice tea and pancakes went off well, but Rui could not manage to drink the spice coffee, and knowing him he can stomach almost anything with a coffee tag to it. We headed back to the docks and gave our host a call to fetch us. By now it was uncomfortably hot and we were still carrying all our luggage. We spotted a lovely piece of shade next to a wall and sat down only to be bombed on by the dove above. Lesson learnt: if it looks to good to be true it is to good to be true. We moved over to the sunny side of the street only to watch the next victims two Muslim ladies to move into the cosy shady spot. Hehehehe!( Same birds on top)
As we drove through the streets of Zanzibar I could just see us landing up in some dodgy place, so when we stopped in front of the striking blue doors opposite the Victorian gardens we were pleasantly surprised, and even more
so when we stepped inside. Myself were even excited about sleeping in a real bed, although we have been sleeping
very comfortable up till now. We wandered through Stonetown and answered to repeated "Jambo's" and "karibu's" the people of Zanzibar surely want to make sure you feel welcome. The little shops were stocked with all the same novelties and paintings and you have to negotiate the price of every article. Back at the guesthouse we booked dinner at the well known Monsoons with the live music show the next night and a spice tour for the next day.
After the scorching heat the air conditioned room was like a piece of heaven and well rested we headed out for dinner. Our choice of restaurant was Archipelago and by luck we had it good. We ordered calamari with Pilau rice, chicken and rice and granadilla crème Brule with very good spice tea and espresso and could not have hoped for
a more tasty meal. We walked back doing some night time photography through quiet streets and feeling so safe and blessed to be here.
Our accommodation included breakfast and after a variety of tasty fruit we came to meet for the first time with white eggs. The yokes are completely white, so the only colour in an omelette would be the bit of browning. But still an egg taste like an egg.
We left for our spice tour and our well spoken guide took us via the "bububoo" road through the highest point of this island from where you can see the sea on all sides to the spice farm. We smelled, touched and tasted all,
ginger, nutmeg, chocolate, cinnamon, lemon grass, cloves, jackfruit, citrus, and those that I can't even recall any more. In between his helpers would "surprise" us with rings, bangles, watches, ties, fans and sunglasses made from coconut palm leaves. But, nothing comes for free and they are not shy to ask for a donation, not only for themselves but also their friends with them.
Back at the guesthouse, while enjoying a drink upstairs we met a couple from France, Sophie and Alain and we all went to dinner where we had a very enjoyable evening chatting and listening to the musicians playing traditional instruments.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast we took a final stroll through the fish market, meat market, fresh produces and Stonetown we had our last lunch and headed back to Dar es Salaam. We arrived after a choppy ride back just in time to hit the late afternoon peak traffic back and were so happy to find all in tact "at home".
The full moon was rising over the ocean and the packed beaches were slowly running empty after the Eid festivals while we were excitingly downloading all our Zanzibar photos.