I didn’t sleep in as planned this morning, so I had an early breakfast at around 7.30am before heading down to the beach for a swim. The warm water was quite salty but very relaxing.
Later I went for a long walk along the beach. With luxurious resorts to the left of me and local fisherman working upon the sparkling turquoise sea to the right of me, I wondered what locals made of the rich foreigners that came to laze on their beaches.
The end of my holiday has come. I consider myself so lucky to have won a prize that has let me see such amazing places this year.
On my way over to the east coast for my beach side stay I made a stop off at one of Zanzibar’s numerous spice farms. The tour was an assault on the senses with opportunities to smell, touch and taste a multitude of familiar spices in their natural setting.
I found out that citronella and lemongrass is the same thing – learn something new every day. Explains why the mozzies haven’t been bothering me. A number of the spices have medical uses long forgotten in the western world. Turmeric powder mixed with honey can be used to stop bleeding. Cinnamon root, which smells similar to menthol, is used for colds.
After talking about Australia’s kangaroos and climate for a while with a guide at the spice farm, he asked “Vienna is the capital of Australia right?” Argh!
Now that I’ve arrived at Breezes Resort the pampering continues. I have a lovely upstairs suite with a large balcony. The walk in robe is perhaps a little excessive though, considering I just have my dusty backpack with me. A relaxing massage completed the package.
A morning walk through the winding alleys of Stone Town took me past intricately carved doors. Indian influenced doors had curved tops, while those with influence from Oman had square shaped tops. In the narrow streets head-scarfed women rubbed shoulders with lithe Masai visiting from main land Tanzania. Everywhere blue and red posters showed the smiling faces of candidates in the coming election.
Being at the heart of the slave trade, Stone Town has more than its fair share of horror stories. I was told of slaves being tied to trees, to then be whipped. A stoic response fetched a high sales price. Children too sick to be sold were thrown into a well which washed out to sea. I learnt of David Livingstone’s hand in ending the slave trade in Africa. By telling others back in England about the conditions that existed he was able to influence movers and shakers to well, move and shake.
Another well known name in Zanzibar’s history is Freddie Mercury of Queen fame. A Zanzibar local, Mercury’s house of birth is now a souvenir shop, accepting either US dollars as well as Tanzanian shillings for its range of local crafts.
A little panic ensued this morning when my airport transfer didn’t arrive, which was quickly solved by a pricey but speedy taxi ride that got me checked-in by the skin of my teeth.
All of that seems a world away, now that I’m settled in to my truly luxurious room here in Zanzibar. Usually, I stay in pretty run-of-the-mill hotels, so I feel spoilt rotten. A hot towel and drink complete with cocktail umbrella on arrival was followed by a relaxing bath. Lathered up with some lovely lemongrass body lotion my skin was craving, I’m now sitting on my balcony watching a great ball of red sun slip slowly toward the horizon as fishermen in their dhows drift slowly by.
The room service girl that just came in to turn down my bed reminds me of movie actress Rosie Perez. She has been kindly teaching me a few Swahili phrases. ‘Jambo’ is hello; ‘Lala salaama’ is goodnight.