Thursday, July 19, 2012


 Well, I'm back in New York. It feels like NYC is the sandwich bread encasing my trip to Africa. A lot has happened in the past two weeks and although I’m sorry to not have blogged more, j’ai bien profité de living life in the moment. 

  ZZZanz-i-bArr (always with an exaggerated exotic pronunciation) was incredible. We barely scraped the surface of this mysterious, historical and mythic place. The streets, too narrow to fit a car (which doesn’t stop motorbikes from flying around corners), wind in a random and circular way with beautiful shutters and ornate doors decorating every building. The sea breeze easily navigates the labyrinth, as do the vibrant sounds of kids playing, birds singing and chanting prayers. The apartment we rented from Manuela (a wonderful woman doing anthropological research on witchcraft on the island) was in a great location between The Big Tree (literally called so on the map) and the large market. We spent most of our days split between sipping coffee in a café by the beach, viewing films at the international film festival and swimming in the Indian Ocean. On our ferry ride over we happened to meet three French guys, resulting in even more of a Paris reunion for us Francophiles. Our first night we all went to the night market. BBQs and tables lit by gas lanterns line the waterfront displaying every kind of seafood imaginable. After picking out our skewers of fresh fish, prawns, coconut bread, samosas, etc., we sat in the Forodhani Gardens grilling (pun intended) our French friends about language and expressions. 

 Julia & Manuela  

 The Night Market

  One day we took a day trip to Bububu to find Hakuna Matata beach. The crowded daladala dropped us on the main road and so began the adventure. Three mzungus (foreigners) on a quiet dusty road guaranteed attention and everyone helped us find the way. The beach was beautiful and we were soon surrounded by a gaggle of curious and sweet teenage girls all wearing their abayas in the sand. They never swim in the ocean and asked us why mzungus like the beach. My favorite part of this beach was the ruins. Once an Arab home, the ruins were being taken back by nature. We silently explored with little white butterflies, as the old stone glowed gold in the setting sun. 

 A humorous sign on the beach

 Almost every evening at dusk we went for a swim and right at this time the beach would be taken over by a boys daily soccer game. Julia and Caitlin gave swim lessons to a crowd of eager kids while I tried to capture it all on ‘film’.

  I must return to Zanzibar some day. There was so much more to see and do and I really loved Stone Town. The mélange of people and cultures over it’s long history as a major trade center in the Indian Ocean have created a truly exotic place who’s beauty and mystery stay with you.

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