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Rain in paradise

31st October 2010

No sunrise this morning. Instead, the sky is overcast. So the pitterpatter of rain I heard earlier was not a figment of my imagination then.

Mmh, this does not quite fit my image of Zanzibar, but hey, at least the sky will be a bit more dramatic for my photographs and the heat more bearable...

My stomach bug has cleared and I can't wait for breakfast. We get a fresh fruit platter and a choice of cooked food (pancakes, Spanish omelettes, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs) – now I really don't want to go back to camping where my staple breakfast is cornflakes with milk (although we are occasionally surprised with a cooked breakfast).

AH has booked a snorkling trip, and I can't wait to go for a wander by myself – but this proves hard to accomplish, as Said, the guy who sold AH the trip, decides to accompany me.

Says something about agreeing with AH that I should teach him German in exchange for Swaheli.

The Maasai I see here are not really Maasai, he says, but putting on a show for Italian tourists.

Tourists are staying away from Zanzibar, in fact from the whole of Tanzania, because of the elections. (So what are we doing here??? What's the backup plan? None as far as I am aware!)

He doesn't anticipate any problems, though the outcome will be tight because „We are an educated people.“

I also learn 3 more Swaheli phrases:

„Tunaendelea“ - „let's proceed.“

„Lala salama“ - „sleep tight.“

„Badae“ (pronounced badai) – „see you later.“ Said decides that he has enough of the rain and leaves me.

I am still not sure what he wanted from me.

He never asks for a tip and never asks me a single phrase in German.

He says he is a Catholic, so I ask him about church. As suspected, there are no churches here in the north, so I can’t compare my Livingstone experience.

Said says the only two churches are located in Stone Town and that there generally is a good relationship here between Muslim and Christians. (AH later points out that Said is a Muslim name)...

I wander alone into the local village, which once again has an Indian feel to it. In the rain, everything looks a bit washed out, apart from the women's colourful clothes.

I feel safe on my own, even though I am the only white woman – and a woman in trousers as that.

A sign at the entrance of the village has made it clear that women should not show their legs and men should not be bare-chested.
No problem, as I am well-covered up. Too covered up today, as the rain pearls off my Factor 50 suncream...

The village looks poor, even though the tourist compounds are right next door. I wonder how this village has benefitted...

There are flattened plastic bottles strewn all over the dirt road...

A little boy races past me, playing with the rubber of an old tire; a woman washes her dishes in a plastic bowl on the street.

Most villagers seem to have gathered in the square by the school, presumably because of the elections today...

For lunch I try local snacks in the restaurant next to our compound. I have a dish made out of green peas and coconut milk and a drink made out of red flower. It’s called „Karkade.“ It’s apparently good for the blood.

I don’t know about that, but it’s definitely refreshing, tangy without being tart. It reminds me of hibiscus. (Now that I am back home, I’ve been able to check the drink on the internet. It’s indeed made out of dried hibiscus flowers and sugar.)

The rain is picking up, so I go back to our room until it’s time to pick up a tired AH from his snorkling expedition.

Said reappears (so „Badae“ really meant „See you later!“) and offers to show us the village.

I ask him about the drink I had, but he doesn’t know it. Instead, he gives me an interesting recipe for spice tea: cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and lemon grass. (Yes, my friends, I’m definitely going to try that back home. Did you honestly think Africa would change my „weird“ taste?)

This time we walk along by the seafront to the fishmarket. No fish left at this time of day, but a beautiful view.

There is seaweed wherever we look and step – the contrast between the green weed and turquoise sea is great for photos (less pleasing to the nostrils!)

We visit the turtle conservation station that the locals have started in 1993. Not that much to see, though it’s fascinating to see how individual the markings on older turtles are. The turtles look pretty much alike when they are young.

Turtles are only fertile from about 30 years. In the past, people have eaten turtles and so endangered the population. Now fishermen are paid to bring the turtles to the centre...

We walk back through the village which looks more friendly in the evening light. Said says it has benefitted from tourism, mainly through work opportunities.

Posted by TTraveller 06:46 Archived in Tanzania

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