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Zanzibar: Stonetown

days 2 and 3

sunny 33 °C
View Zanzibar on ortho158's travel map.


After our breakfast on the seafront, we start visiting Stonetown.
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Most places are within walking distance. We go through the Forodhani Gardens, now empty, but for the rubbish left from the cooking here, last night. It looks much more like a refuse dump, than a garden.
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We arrive at the Palace Museum, where we are nearly the only persons to visit.
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Here, school boys and girls who are going to visit the museum.
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Then another museum, the House of Wonders. The museums are interesting, but in a very decrepit state. We learn about the monsoon trades: the winds blowing (clockwise) south from India to Zanzibar, and then north from Zanzibar to the Arabian Peninsula and India.
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And we learn about Princess Salme. She wrote her autobiography in Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar . In short, she was raised in Zanzibar, then fell in love with a German; they fled to Europe, where her husband died in a tram accident. It's her youth in Zanzibar that is the most interesting. It's so incredibly racist that it becomes funny. Some examples:

  • it's absolutely necessary for the Sultan to keep a number of beggars: otherwise, how would he be able to satisfy the islamic obligation to help the poor?
  • there are a number of thiefs, drunkards, arsonists, ... among negroes. It is necessary to punish them. But how? Jailing them doesn't scare them, to the contrary: they will be happy to spend a few days in prison, away from sun and work. They will sleep, dream and gain strength ... so that they will be able to continue to misbehave, once free.
  • a noble lady will often feel sympathy for a foreign slave, provided that she is not a Negro
  • Hindus are cheaters, and very coward
  • etc

A view of Stonetown , from the roof of the House of Wonders.
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We walk through the maze of streets, and reach the old slave market.
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Not a lot to see: just a cave under under the church, and a modern sculpture. We find a cheap restaurant (recommended in the budget category in the Rough Guide to Zanzibar). It is awfully warm in the street, and we go back to the hotel. We have dinner in an Indian restaurant that we reach in near total darkness. A bit scary, especially when you are in Suicide Alley.
The next day, we visit a spice farm.
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It's not really a farm, but a jungle where they grow every possible sort of spice. At the end of the day, when the temperature becomes more tolerable, we leave the hotel for some shopping.
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I buy a T-shirt "Tintin in Zanzibar". As it's the time when tourists leave their hotels (or come back from tours), we are harassed by steet vendors, but it's not too difficult to get rid of them. We do not try to find the home of Freddie Mercury.
We have dinner near the Forodhani Gardens, in an excellent swahili restaurant.

Posted by ortho158 07:41 Archived in Tanzania Tagged zanzibar

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