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Zanzibar

7th January 2014 We find ourselves waking up on the northern tip of Zanzibar at Nungwi. I think I might have died and woken up in heaven. I know I’m repeating myself.

We are staying at Langi Langi Bungalows right above the white, coral sand beach and water a colour starting as light lime green, changing to an aquamarine colour then turning to a Mitchell blue to become the sky. I can’t do it justice. This end of the island is a tourist mecca but I must say in a very good way. The hawkers don’t hound you too much and as you walk along the beach there are numerous resorts, bungalows and Maasai markets. Langi Langi has a reputation for fine food and after last nights offering I can vouch for it.

Backtracking, my daughter Nicola and her good friend Jacob arrived at Dar on the 6th and next morning we departed in two tuk tuk’s, a type of covered, open air, motor scooter that can carry two passengers. These things are terrific, we need them in Sydney.

The tuk tuk’s deposited us at the ferry terminal our tickets being pre booked from the Mikadi camping area at Dar, so no worries.

They did it again, conned. When we arrived there were about twenty booking offices to choose from and we were late, with only twenty minutes to go before departure. Porters grabbed some of our luggage and took off with it to their booking office. Wrong booking office, time running out, deals being offered right, left and centre, even a flight. We missed the boat. No matter we caught the 11am ferry which ended up costing a little more and after a three hour voyage arrived at Stone Town where we haggled a taxi for the one hour trip to cloud nine. (I’m running out of words for heaven).

I keep babbling to myself this is fantastic.

8th January 2014 Travelled to Stone Town via the Government spice farm. Much more interesting than I imagined. I never quite knew how a spice originated but as we sampled the spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, pepper (pepper is fascinating, see later), turmeric, cloves, vanilla, ginger, straight from the bush they tasted exactly as we knew them multiplied by ten. They are just, by and large, dried and shipped, simple.

PEPPER I cant remember the exact sequence but as it grows it changes colour from white to red, black and green all with different characteristics and we could taste them all.

Tried jackfruit, not bad, a cross between bananas, rockmelon and pineapple.

On to Stone Town, a fabulous maze of donkey width alleys with all manner of goods mostly targeting us tourists. It is reminiscent of Fez in Morocco but a little more contemporary.

Stone Town is meant to have a reputation for badgering hawkers, pickpockets and backpack slashers but we found none of this. The hawkers would try to sell you something or try to entice you into their shop but would stop after a polite no thank you I already have one and, we weren’t robbed once.

In the evening we had dinner at the next resort and entertainment was supplied by an African from Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania. He was dressed in traditional garb and played several instruments including an African piano (a box with metal prongs which are depressed and released to make a note) and then a type of violin. I really enjoyed this and gave him a tip and I think he thought he was onto a good thing. However as the night progressed I may have made more demands of him than usual, such as posing with me for several photos ending with one where I’m playing his guitar/violin. After that he seemed to make wide arcs around our table whenever he approached. Sorry Peter (His western name). I did buy the CD but was disappointed later to see him in a T-shirt and jeans.

10th January 2014 Happy Birthday Nicola Today we did a tour of the village next to our hotel, it is a village of 15,000 people. We were taken by a guide and were allowed to take some pictures avoiding the elderly, as they don’t like it and children, unless given permission. The people here don’t have the material things in life that we do but they have a perfect climate, no hunger and beautiful surroundings. A highlight was the traditional boat building done with blacksmith made tools and nails (about six inches long). A twenty foot dhow may cost six million shillings or AUD$4000.DSC04355

On arriving back our hotel manager, Sele, or as he likes to be known Sele Rasta Chef, shouted us a bottle of Aussie champagne and as I thanked him, mentioned that his timing was perfect as it was our daughter’s Birthday. His ears visibly pricked up at this as he asked her name and the spelling of it, twice. He then proceeded to shout the four of us a delicious lunch and when Nicola went to her room later, found Happy Birthday Nicola written on her bed in petals.

I call that “good service”.  It was thoughtful and I thank you Sele.

I just bumped into him and he has told me that there is a cake involved also.

11th January 2014 We went on a game fishing trip today, it was a trip that Jacob had been looking forward to for about six months, as he is a keen fisherman. All I can say about it is that it took six people, six hours to catch one fish head. As Jacob pulled in the only bite of the day we noticed that the yellow fin tuna, he had on the line had, in fact, no body. A shark had taken it.

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