Monday, August 11, 2008

Zanzibar: Day 1

After a night's good rest, we woke refreshed and not really sure what to do with ourselves. Do we learn how to dive, do we head to the beach - what? Zanzibar is actually a pretty large island with pants transport around it. So, unless you've got a bit of cash for private transfers, it's actually fairly hard to get to gorgeous beach without experiencing a dalla-dalla - the minibuses crammed with people, which we did NOT fancy after a day on the bus/ferry. So, we really didn't know what to do. We got cash, then headed into town to see what was what.

Stone Town is... astonishing. Absolutely amazing. It's got the windy, narrow streets of the Barri Gotic in Barcelona - that old, town feeling you just don't really get anywhere in the US, simply because of the age of things. Yet it's so not European - the amazing smell of spices, the call of the muezzin, the constant greetings of "jambo" from kids and adults alike. It's such an incredible mix of cultures, history, language. However, that makes it almost impossible to navigate without a bit of wit and a lot of luck, and no shame in asking for directions. You think you're going to one place, and end up either back on the same road or somewhere completely different.

The water is absolutely beautiful turquoise. We sat and ate a gorgeous Indian buffet overlooking it, and it was such a gorgeous relief after the hectic nature of the day before. We'd been in to inquire about the diving in a couple of reputable places (according to the Lonely Planet, but more on that stupid book later), weren't sure, and essentially chose a place because it was a bit friendlier, a bit less... playboy (the instructor) and didn't charge us extra for using visa. We felt pretty pleased with ourselves about that. And even more so for getting to the shore and eating and drinking while watching the sun set over the water at the (unfortunately-named - we don't spend all our time looking for fellow colonials) Livingstone. The bar itself is really rather nice, and it was a perfect spot to just chill.

It was a good day.

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