Read about my holiday in Zanzibar here:
July 31st 2015, 5:10 PM, Zanzibar, Tanzania
First time in Zanzibar, on the last day of July 2015, on blue moon, I was writing by hand in the last row of the bus taking us to the hotel:
“A yellow and purple bus with locals in purple and yellow shirts.
On the side of the street everybody sells. Bananas in trunks – first time to see it live, wood logs, sports shoes.
Luxuriant vegetation, green everywhere. How lucky these people are in a way.
When you arrive in Africa is as stepping in another world, a world where time stopped and everything is ran by a different pace. The blue sky between the palm trees, the wind leaning their leaves, the whole atmosphere, the routine of disorganized organized surroundings.
Some sell watermelons in the dirt of the street next to almost demolished buildings next to palace looking edifices.
In the airport, I stay by the door of the aircraft, looking through the rectangular opening of the door. Seven small jets wait tourists to take them further into the Savanna, the national parks, into the mystery of the jungle. Then I put my head outside and I see Zanzibar written on the small airport, breathe the air of this magic place. That exact moment I was overwhelmed – really, by the feeling of how lucky I am to be seeing all these places.
An old Coca Cola ad on an old shed, dirt, dust, wide pedestrian areas like small alleys and green grass. Two or three riding on the same bike. Some wave at us. Policemen and women in green uniforms look young and tight. A small gathering of used coconut under a tree next to four locals. Men in their long clothing and their hats. Pure nature and improvised comfort/necessity in between. Some plants. Mainly sheds with old rusted roofs, brown garage doors for these sheds. Two kids sit next to each other trying to take something of the third’s foot.
In front of us, in an opened truck two men ride standing with their shirts in the wind. Some palaces are under construction. Gatherings of banana trees between locals’ houses. Unbreak my heart playing. […] Buses looking like trucks with the cut box in the back with people facing each other. Some men hanging outside it. Others having their siestas by the road. Peacefulness, but not much happiness. Some trees have red leaves.
Women are truly amazing, stunning truly, proudly wearing their femininity and curves in intense colors and African print dresses. By the way, I have not seen women wearing pants here in Africa, in general. A cow with a hunchback pulling a small carriage with sand.
The feeling I have when I’m in Africa (especially in Tanzania) can only be explained by the movie “I dreamed of Africa”. It is a totally different one from the one when I am in South Africa, a country where I feel the peace, the silence, the low pace in the air, where I have no thoughts or worries. However, Tanzania spices it up with adventure…
The trees are huge and occupy the space for a house. Other look like vertical sticks.
There’s poverty and it is obvious. On wooden tables women sell stacks of 4-5 small fish.
In the middle of the plain a bad without mattress. I still don’t know how women can carry those huge bags, baskets, boxes, buckets, containers, pretty much anything on their heads.
Between the small houses without roofs small banana trees forests (around two meters wide) as tall as the houses. Like corn or tomatoes, it’s just that they have banana trees.
The driver honks to some men. He must be some boss. I’m curious of their hierarchies here. A shed is called Kempinski and I find it hilarious.
Lychees bunches. The space, the nature is generous, there is no economy of green, wideness of the air, blue of the sky, tallness of palm trees, number of bananas. Bananas everywhere. I’m wondering if they are obsessed with bananas as the Chinese with rice.
We Are the World is playing.
We must be the only white people around. Tall trees have such tree crowns that they look as green monsters with leaves starting from the ground up to the top. The sun is setting and now the shadows of the wide banana tree leaves are reflecting on the small sheds by the road.
Tens of kids play football on a field with grass and dirt.
It seems that by dusk there are same gatherings every now and then. We’re heading to a more reote area and we are moving really fast. The vegetation becomes amazingly tropical, dark, jungle like, palms between tree monsters, banana trees at the bottom, flowers and grass. Through the trees’ spectacle of nature I spot threads of clothes drying and some colorful dresses. Houses covered with reed or maybe cane leaves. Small kids are dressed as they were going to a wedding. We turned right and almost killed a little hen. We passed a truck on the right side and then it passed us on the right side also. I see a new tree – looking like a stick, tall, with a bush on the top.”
We arrived at the hotel and decided to return to Zanzibar City/Stone Town, where the airport is located, to have dinner there. I should’ve accepted his insistence to go with him (which would have solved many problems), but I left.
Stone Town is on the West side of the island and it’s the place where everybody stops for at least a day or two. There is not much to do, but it is an interesting place to visit mainly due to the 502 doors unique, beautiful, wooden carved and with metallic knobs doors. I ran across this wonderful article about the doors of Zanzibar which is worth reading before visiting Stone Town.
We walked for a while, then had dinner at 6 Degrees South, where we had a seafood platter, looking at the dark ocean. Especially myself, who was there, but whose thoughts were drifting away, sometime to the extent of wanting to go.
The truth is that my first visit to Zanzibar was just a preview, a day to open my appetite for the island, to make me curious and finally, to make me return a month later. However, it was special from one point of view, but there is no space for that here.