Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zanzibar: Stone Town

May 22, 2012
Stone Town

We left Kendwa Beach a day early so we could spend some time exploring Stone Town, the one proper city on the island and the port for all the ferries. The architecture is a mix of Arab, Persian, Indian, and European elements, making it a super interesting place to walk around (and incidentally, a UNESCO heritage site since 2000). Additionally, there is a lot of shopping to be done, if you're willing to bargain, which my travel buddy was happy to do. She negotiated everything to ridiculously low prices, something I've never been willing to do. We probably got three times more stuff with her style than embarrassment to my Turkish heritage, I know.

Anyone want fabric with Obama's face on it??

There are men that go around with carts full of these green oranges that you can buy as snacks. The smell of freshly peeled oranges is amazing and the fresh scent reaches you often before you see the cart...

I know it sounds terrible, but it's actually quite the opposite:
In Zanzibar and Tanzania in general, students are traditionally subject to corporal punishment and this project seeks to replace this behavior with more humane (and effective!) forms of discipline.

Every night in Forodhani Gardens a bunch of stalls with kebab skewers, lemonade, and  other foods set up and people come by to eat, drink, and be merry. On our last night in Zanzibar we stopped by as well and had LOTS of food from lots of different stands. The stand sellers kept getting offended when we bought one item from them and then moved to another stand to buy something else, but as this was our only chance we wanted to try a little something from everyone! The highlights were a mishkaki (mini-kebab) soup/curry thing called " " and the sweetened lemonade. 

I've found that the Tanzanians are particularly quick to sit down with you and acting like you've been best friends forever, in contrast to Rwandans who will do everything they can to help you but keep their emotional distance. Although Freddy did that, too, he was an exception because he was very mellow and not pushy at all. Typically they'll come over, put their arms on our shoulders and start in immediately with personal questions and stories. If they know/own a particular store or restaurant, they'll then try to bring you over there and sell something to you.

In the park, we immediately had a Rafiki who walked with us to all the stands, helped buy food and ask questions, and then sat down with us when we went to eat. We tried to avoid him by speaking in German, only to find the man on the other side of Kira spoke German fluently! Suddenly we had two Tanzanian Rafikis, and were stuck in random conversation with them until we finally got up to leave. Even then they tried to take us to a bar, get our phone numbers, or make appointments to meet the following day. I have to say, I like my solitude and although I enjoyed my two weeks in Tanzania, it was a relief to be back in a country where I'm mostly ignored by strangers on the street.

One of our stand rafikis...

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