Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania
October 18th – 20th 2010
Our fast-ferry took 1.5 hours to reach Stone Town, Zanzibar. Felt a little sea-sick the whole time. Upon getting to Zanzibar, it was getting dark so I allowed a local to take me to one of the inns I wanted to stay at but ended up staying at a place right across from it because it was a lot cheaper.
(Kids hanging out after school.)
(Cinnamon is actually bark!)
(Cacao beans, what chocolate it made from. It’s the seed behind the white stuff that’s cacao.)
I spent my time checking out the local fish and produce markets, watching a few beach soccer games, wandering around the streets filled with souvenir shops and eateries, visiting a few tourist attractions, and taking a spice tour (Zanzibar is well-known for their spice trade). The spice tour was particularly fun. We got to see what trees or bushes spices came from. (I did not know cinnamon came from the bark of a tree and I didn’t realize vanilla pods look a lot like long beans before they are dried and used for cooking. Workers have to manually pollinate vanilla plants as insects can’t.) We got to see, smell, and some instances, taste the spices right off their origins. We visited small villages, a remote secret beach, and eat some simple local food that was cooked using the spices we saw on our tour.
(Seafood line up. Pick what you want, they throw it on grill.)
(Making sugar cane juice.)
(Making Zanzibar pizza.)
My favorite dinner spot was the Forodhani Gardens. In the evening, plenty of grilled seafood stands open for business and as soon as they see any tourists, they get them to check out their seafood line up. There was, among other things, barracuda and octopus, which I tried. A little expensive and the octopus was a little tough to chew but it was a good experience. There were sugar cane stalls as well, which they serve with ginger and lemon, which was an interesting twist to a classic refreshment. I also tried Zanzibar pizza, which was like meat inside ‘roti canai’, a popular Malaysian food. The ‘aroyo’ (I don’t know how it’s spelled) was an interesting local favorite. It’s a thick, gritty soup that comes with fish balls (balls made of fish paste, not the balls of fish. Do fish even have balls?). While enjoying the food, I got to know a few of the locals sitting around me and they were a fun bunch.
On my last day, I found out the owner of my inn had a son who was attending flight school in Arlington so he was quite excited to find out I used to live in Dallas. What a small world.
Lots of great pics, check it out.