Read about my first time in Zanzibar – here and about my first time in Tanzania – here


Ante Scriptum

Something is happening for sure, besides Mercury being retrograde in Libra. I am so late with my article writing – Zanzibar (two trips), Copenhagen (where I spent my birthday), Jakarta (party from landing till take off), Nairobi (with my friend showing me the city by day and by night), Madrid (two trips, one with my mom on the way to New York), New York (summer vacation with mother). And tomorrow I am leaving home only to come back 10 days later after going to Myanmar, Bangkok and Paris. What a life! So, I’m starting backwards if we have decided something is in the air. Bring it on, soul destination, Zanzibar…


The Month of My Life (Started and Ended with Zanzibar)

Time flies so fast. August has been the month of my life. Besides travelling to almost all continents, I turned 25 and I have the fulfillment that this is the life I have always wanted. I am not so young anymore. Maybe I am, but I know what I was doing when I was 16, so, yep, I am not s young anymore. Most importantly, I have no chains tied to me. And destiny gave me quite a few, but I got rid of them. My life is perfect. Because I make it perfect. I have thoughts and problems like everybody else, but what I lack is fear and shallow thinking. Getting upset for small things. IMG_6428

September 18th 2015  – “I am still under the deep influence of Zanzibar, the wonder island, the temple of my thoughts, my feelings and emotions…real Tanzania, Zanzibar everyday life, where time runs “pole-pole” (slowly-slowly as opposed to “haraka-haraka”), where banana, coconut, avocado and mango trees grow between the huts which serve as houses, where few have shoes to wear, where children play with empty plastic bags, where boys write the names of football teams and players on the same huts and on the “dala-dala” (overcrowded, very low buses which make the trip three times longer than normal), where the water is so blue it makes you get lost in its depths, where police stops you around seven times in one hour journey, where the locals carry a hard life, but remain friendly, where true gratefulness at realizing how rich you are with the little or plenty you have is seeded, where the boats cut the horizon at dusk, where I want to return, the place I dream about continuously…”


July 30th 2015I told my mom I would just stay in bed after coming back from Iran and not sleep because I had a lot to prepare for my next flight. She admired my precision and in my self-consciousness and awareness I slept from 3PM to 2AM, then woke up with no suitcase done and anything prepared. Packed 5 white dresses and my new pineapple motif whole body swim suit in less than few minutes, drank the coffee I had made yesterday to keep me awake for all those things I had to do, made and omelet and with my smile on I’m off to Tanzania again, to Zanzibar this time, to see one of the most beautiful places on Earth and to catch the 31st of July Blue Moon there. Yes, finally a lifestyle that suits me! One built around my passions – travel, being surrounded by diverse people, foreign languages, spontaneity and airplanes.


Where the Story Begins

With my very first flight ever and, at the same time, the first visit to Tanzania, when I was writing “Beginning the Tanzanian Adventure”. I tend to have a feeling when I put the words on the screen, because ever since I have lived a true adventure in Tanzania – both on the mainland and on the island and I have plans for future explorations of the mainland (camping in Kilimanjaro – Africa’s tallest peak at 5895 meters, seeing Africa’s lowest point at Lake Tanganyka at 352 meters below sea level and deepest lake of Africa, seeing the mirror waters of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest). Tanzania is a country of contrasts, like myself, a being of opposites. This might be the reason why I truly vibrate with the country, I feel like I lived here in a previous life, but how could this be when I feel the Middle East is the place of my previous 1000 lives. The answer came striking from the history of Tanzania: Oman. Zanzibar was part of the Sultanate of Oman. And from the delay of the flight yesterday from Muscat, The Sultanate of Oman, on Mercury retrograde, the master of solving the problems from the past, solving the problems of the past.


A Little Bit of Tanzanian History

Around 1500, Vasco da Gama visited the Tanzanian coast. Later, in 1840, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said moved his capital to Zanzibar City, which became the centre for the Arab slave trade.

In the late 19th century Imperial Germany conquered the regions that are now Tanzania (minus Zanzibar) and incorporated them into German East Africa. The post World War I accords and the League of Nations charter designated the area a British Mandate. During the World War II about 100,000 people from Tanganyika joined the Allied forces and were among the 375,000 Africans who fought with those forces. In the year my father was born, Julius Nyerere transformed an organisation into the politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU’s main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika and it became the leading political organisation in the country. Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as prime minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961.

In the year my mother was born, after the Zanzibar Revolution overthrew the Arab dynasty in neighbouring Zanzibar, which had become independent in 1963, the archipelago merged with mainland Tanganyika. The country was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania (“Tan” comes from Tanganyika and “Zan” from Zanzibar), a country with a population of around 50 million. (source: Wikipedia)


I’ve Stopped my Article Writing after Coming Back from Zanzibar, as if Time Stopped Then

Africa makes me feel like a child, discovering the wanders of the world, the basic everyday habits, the plants, the trees, the interactions with humans and animals, the wetness of the water and the power of the sun.


Read here about my first Zanzibar experience, a little less than one month before


July 5th 2015, 7 AM sharp

The driver is waiting for me and we are rushing to get a document I still need to leave and then taking me to the airport. I am still waiting in line at the office when I get the message that I should head to the gate. I might not make it…I get the paper and arrive at the airport. It’s 7:45 and the flight takes off at 8:25 and I still need to check in, go through security, immigration and arrive at literally the furthest gate of the huge airport.

There are about 20 more minutes and I run like crazy from gates C1 to C20 something, I continued to D1, D2…D24, at a different floor and for a while going backwards. Man! Thank God I bought some sports equipment from New York, I need some serious exercising. I barely feel my ankles, but a friendly face tells me to relax and that a bus was waiting for me. Waiting. For me. In this crazy flow of millions of people of an airport as the one in Doha. And they also called. And I paid 10%. And I love them and my job and my life. Ok, I’ll stop.


I dream about writing a book. Or two. Or three. And I really hope that there I can write all the feelings, the happenings and the stories with the people of which I cannot write right now, either to protect them or because of contract clauses, so to protect me.


July 5th 2015, around 5 PM

On the flight to Zanzibar I listen to the same playlist as on the New York – Doha flight. It’s just me, if I found something that I like that’s all that I’ll take. Sometime try to be “flexible” but come back to my first choice with no exception.

So, I’ve done the impossible possible and broke no rules. Like every time. I don’t know why I am not bothered by all the rules. I spent quite some years trying to make the impossible possible, find a way to break through/by the rules. I find this a lot of fun!

Another Louis Vuitton spent on traveling. No regrets!


I arrive again in the Zanzibar International Airport and call a number I received from him of a guy who has more taxi drivers to send me someone to take me to Nungwi, which is about one hour and a half away from the airport, going to the very North of the island.

Juma picks me up and we start moving fast in the same surroundings I knew since one month before. However, this time I found out the “monster trees” were mangos, the ones looking like a stick with a bush on top are avocado trees, small banana stacks do not amaze me that much, I find out the cow with the hunchback is called “mombe”, the “trucks with the cut box in the back with people facing each other” are called “dala-dala” and are overcrowded local transportation. Juma is a nice guy and he seems young, but then he shows me his driving license and he is born in 1977. He tells me there are no jobs, but with an informative tone and not complaining. I tell him I like Swahili and I consider it fun and I show him the words and phrases I had written on a piece of paper. Then he recommends me a Swahili-English dictionary app he uses, although his English is perfect.

We drive past indicators to Mangapwani Beach (Sea Cliff Resort&Spa – a luxurious place with golf course, tennis court, private beach, beach house), then we arrive in Mkokotoni[2] – a fishing village, still on the West of the island, around 20 km South of our destination, Nungwi.

He also tells me that Zanzibar is an archipelago and not only an island and that the main island to which tourists refer to as “Zanzibar” is actually called Unguja (read Ungigia) and that the other important islands are Tumbatu (West of Unguja) and Mnemba (North West,  private island now).


Also he tells me the Chinese are building the roads, the buildings, the infrastructure of Tanzania and he is happy to hear we will fly seven times a week to the island, as this will bring more business to them and their families. He asked me for $35 and I gave him 40$, but the discussion with him, his knowledge of the island where he was raised and born, the way he opened up to tell me more of how the locals think and feel, live and see tourism was priceless. Like the credit card advertisement. He shows me the baobabs – first time to see one. We speak of Swahili language (spoken in Kenya, where I have just returned from two weeks prior and Tanzania) and of Bantu languages (spoken in Nigeria and Congo).

He teaches me “bui-bui” is the abaya of women, the long dress they all wear, but that “bui-bui simba” is a big spider. Of course “simba” is lion, which I knew both from the Nairobi National Park I have visited and from “The Lion King”musical, which I saw on Broadway one week before. I feel everything is falling in place and has continuity. And what attracts me in Africa is its mysticism, the magic in every being, the hidden and witchery that is in the air, the high vibration that went on top of the suffering of the masses.


Then he shows me the road to Kendwa Rocks, where I actually spent a great time that first night at the party which is organized every Saturday night. This is the first time I hear about “pole-pole”, which is the conductor of the pace of people here. Meaning “slowly-slowly”, it’s simply the way people function here and luckily for me, I came to realize very soon that there is no possible way to change that. So, since I was in holiday anyway, I enjoyed the 3-hour lunches, I did not mind the soup coming after one hour and seafood platter after other 2, I sipped heavenly made cocktails with fresh ingredients, I had breakfast for 4 hours and stared for hours at the starry sky at night.

What you want to know about Zanzibar is that dollar is accepted everywhere and the standard exchange rate is 20.000 shillings for $10 dollars. Also, you might want to know that everything is triple the price for you, just because you are “mzungu” (white, in the most politically correct way of saying it) and some say that “propina” (tips) is not required, as the prices are already very high than the normal. However, I left tips everywhere because no matter what they do with the money, they will circulate and at least at the second or third hand if not at first they will buy food for a child.


Thrilled by my room/bungalow on the beach, I watch the sunset in front of my room. This trip is supposed to clear my mind and it did, but then it raised so many essential issues in me, that I’m wondering if I wasn’t more cleared before with all my hectic thoughts?

I’m under the stars, having a Pina Colada while listening to the ocean waves, with my feet in the sand at a table by the water, waiting for my Fish in coconut sauce. This could not get any better.

I lean my head back to look at the stars. The only sound I hear is only the waves and the cook beating my fish/meat/eggs for the sauce and some laughter from a big table next to me. This is it, me, the owner at another table, they and one more table. Everything is so intimate.


When I arrived here I only thought of ‘I Dreamed of Africa’. Such a basic, close to nature, raw place in the best meaning. I go out the door and I see the ocean and the boats, the locals. Right in front of the door I mean. The tablecloth on the table is secured with beautiful shells and my bed if full of Hibiscus red flowers.

Traveling alone is amazing! You find yourself, you make friends, you evolved, you become. I’m happy and fulfilled on one side and empty and alone on the other.


The waiter says she has no fish with coconut the I ask for chicken burger as I miss New York days, then she tries to recommend me fish burger the she tells me best for me would be fish with coconut.

I’m calm, pateient and smiling. Is it the Piña Colada or is this what it means to be relaxed and not frustrated? I feel so good. Ta-na-na-na-na! My fish is here and I eat at the light of the stars and a candle in a glass bowl. Waiting…for the light of the car lights on the dark countryside road.

September 6th 2015

My feet are in the sand in a place called Baraka, with view to the ocean and the canoes prepared for tourists. I sip another Piña Colada and I didn’t even realize a cat sat by the leg of the table.

It’s my first day here and I just can’t wait to come back. Kilimanjaro, swimming with dolphins, with blue turtles, snorkeling, diving, await.

Today I walked by the ocean and I saw the other hotels. I simply love mine. Sea view, basic, local, all you need, clean. The rest, even though more luxurious, does not have an exit directly to the sea.

There are no mosquitoes. Beach boys and fake Masai try to sell you everything or anything. Prices for mzungus are triple, at least. Yet relatively cheap.


I’m sleepy because of not sleeping the night I decided to come to Zanzibar, then sleeping in the plane between a Japanese and a monk looking British. Then the party last night and the rum…

Little lizards are by the eroded rocks next to the beach and in the small holes carved by the sand and wind there are crabs. Locals are exercising on the beach and swimming in the sea. I’m on the terrace of my room, and next to me there are many locals, house boys of the hotel, laughing and listening to music. The room has no windows, only some very small mosquito nets. In front of my room is the reception and the place where everybody gathers to speak. It seems like they are in the room. Electricity fails during the day and GSM signal is low. I don’t wear shoes as from my room I step on the beach directly.

I walked at sunset by the beach again with a towel around me. It’s dark and only some orange lights are spotted far away between the clouds. The waves whistle. I walk where they break, caressing my feet with water. I look at the horizon as far as I can. I am so lucky to have these days in this corner of Heaven, alone with my dreams, my thoughts, my feelings.  Surrounded by friendly locals, the blue/turquoise ocean, connected to the nature. This picture was taken in front of my bungalow on the beach, a very basic, beautiful, raw, unspoiled place in the most Northern point of Zanzibar.

It’s time to switch off the lights, tomorrow is all about forest exploring and bathing with dolphins. A guy called Cool Guy is going to take me. Here the locals have nicknames, like Captain Marco Polo.

My room is adorable, with a Masai woman with naked huge round shaped breasts and a red shawl, a fan with three speeds, two beds with baldaquin, curtains covering the nets which are there instead of windows and a refurbished door which has the handle on the right side and used to have it on the left side. Smart guys, they just turned the door and used it as new. Between the door frame and the door there are spaces Where, if you get close and close one eye, you can see the ocean and the mundane life which happens, right in front of the door.


September 7th 2015

Three locals pick me up from my bungalows. The streets are so dusty and the ocean is two steps away, the car stops in the middle of the street and nobody is bothered. Then we go to pick up the other two, a couple I had spotted yesterday at Baraka. Why? They were the only two Asians and they were sharing a table.  We are on our way with only one of the locals. The police stops us endless times and once we stop for him to buy chapatti for us and once so that he go to “bathroom” in the nature. Chapatti came hot on a newspaper which was soiled because of the oil. We were starving and I enjoyed chewing on it while looking at the view on our way. Today we are going from the very North of the island to the very South. I don’t know why I used to think Zanzibar is a small island. Maybe because it was exotic and far and exotic and far islands are small. Well, Zanzibar is not small.


The plan for today is to drive all the way South to the Kizimkazi Beach and swim with the dolphins, then have lunch there and then to stop on the way back in the Jozani Forest, the only National Park in Zanzibar (Jozani Chwaka).


The two were a couple, he is from Cambodia and teaches regional studies at Leeds University and she is a math teacher in Singapore on a year off to be with him. They are adorable in a way, but too naive for my type. He says Zanzibar needs a leader like Singapore and since it is self-sufficient, it can have a bright future. We talk about the recent 50 year anniversary from Singapore independence from Malaysia, about her upcoming trip to Romania, about rules at my job, about the clauses in Singapore which make them stay for a few years with the job or pay a huge sum. On our way we drive through a street with many mangoes on both sides, and as they are huge, their leaves and branches meet on top of the street, making it look as a green tunnel. He calls it “Mango Boulevard” and says they are now in blossom, making it mango season in 3 to 4 months. She agrees he knows a lot about the plants.

Kizimkazi Beach is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The water is turquoise and the beach looks quite wild although there are many gathered around the tourists. 5 year olds ask for tips and run around with 1 euro coins asking you to change it. What I have noticed is that there are a lot of Italians on the island, both tourists and owning businesses. In fact, even the owner of my bungalow is Italian. All teenager boys running the boats here wear sport T-shirts with football players and teams inscriptions. We get into the boat and start a race after the dolphins, which I enjoyed as a ride with the boats, but felt like we were a bit harassing the dolphins, so I didn’t even jump in the water to “swim with the dolphins”, I just swam by the boat.

A moment in the Zanzibar life I caught was with a woman dressed in yellow and pink, seated with her legs straight in the forward, sorting some plants, breaking others in a mechanical move she seemed to be accustomed with, under a huge tree, with a monkey besides her.


Jozani Chwaka National Park

The park is a jungle actually and is mainly formed of red mahoganies, which are rare. The walk is a pleasure and you get a guide which tells you about all the trees and what they are used for. I saw finger nails sized black frogs that I could barely spot and the Red Colobus monkeys, which live only in Zanzibar, were literally running on the tip of the toes of my shoes.

I saw sugar canes (which I had seen squeezed in the night market in Stone Town one month before), screw pines (which I had seen in Phuket, Thailand, but would just look at them as a wonder and used to call them “palm trees”), palm oil trees (the palm trees with wide leaves spreading around it leaning all the way down to the ground) and their seeds which the monkeys like, the tabebuias (with fruit looking like hanging seeds, which I had seen in Dar es Salaam where a crazy man convinced me it is eatable).

The leader of the monkeys came to where we were and soon, one by one, they all came, totally ignoring us and stepping on our feet. Red Colobus monkeys have only four fingers for each hand and have a weird hair, like a wig.

On the way back the driver bought a lot of bananas for us, which we eat without speaking.


3 PM

The restaurant where I’m having lunch has a spectacular view. Again, misunderstanding with the guide. Did not get the promised lunch. Could not care less. In the end, I would not be here now if I had gotten the promised lunch.

What I learned today? Of the beauty of running after a butterfly in a mangroves forest, of following a little bird by your table with ocean view or spotting the red crabs hidden in the background. That what you carry in the heart and mind is more important than what you carry in your stomach or bag.

I am too lucky. Thank you God, really!

September 8th 2015, Snorkeling – Mnemba Island


This day was simply perfect. At 8 o’clock a guy was waiting for me just to walk me on the beach to the boat. I had woken up to serve the delicious breakfast served on the beach and watch my neighbors bathe in the ocean. The breakfast was composed of fruit – passion fruit, mango, orange, bananas – bought everyday fresh, freshly squeezed juice, chapatti, coffee, tea and the other breakfast regulars (butter, jam etc.) all stored on my table, arranged nicely just for me. I saw a man walking with his backpack and the way I have this humans detector incorporated, I knew we’ll be friends. My guy ran to him trying to say three Spanish word, ok, so he’s Spanish and speaks no English. After I’m done with my food, I go to the boat. My friend is waiting alone on the beach and seems to ignore me. On the boat we are invited to climb the top deck and of course I’m first to go. After me a couple from South America, a lady from the States, my Spanish friend and an American looking Mexican man in his 60s.


Long ago, I read “The Power of Present” a book preaching about concentrating on the present. What I noticed was that I can do this very well on water, or looking at water, which is about the same.

On that boat, something magical happened and the same as in that joke with God telling the women on a sinking boat that he is not going to rescue them because it took a lot of time to get them all together, the same way today, we were all in the same boat.

I cannot say how beautiful the day was, sailing, looking at the water, tanning under the African sun, admiring the shores of Zanzibar, stopping a couple of times to pick up others from other resorts (like Game Fish Lodge – Mkadi Beach or The Fish Tank), seeing part of our lunch with us in the boat – two tuna fish which one of the sailors brought on board by the tail with one hand.


The secret in the book is to free your mind from all thoughts and concentrate exclusively on the present. The truth is that I’ve completely managed to do this only a few times, but the memories are crystal clear as they were yesterday. On water…

The man turned out to be Mexican, so we were all Spanish speakers. God, the coincidences in my life. Long story short, the Spanish guy is in holiday after a month volunteering in Tanzania, the man is in holiday after three months volunteering in Kigali. The man almost scares me when he tells me about an experiment he made with 80 people from around the world living in a new community next to Mexico. I was sure it was something religious and of course I was right and since I had just watched in New York a documentary about Jacksonville, I was skeptical. Slowly, it was obviously we were the same. They were on the same wave with their almost similar projects, and the man and I were vibrating high. Rarely does it happen to meet someone like this – that person you feel you’ve known forever. My soul is old.


By the time we were back, we were friends and had our own group and the Spanish guy had invited me for drinks. Walking back on the sand, I invited the man to join and we all clicked so much that we planned to meet in 40 minutes for dinner together. This was one of the days that rarely happens, that total experience that it’s impossible to forget. Apparently, it was the man’s birthday. We left by midnight, all in different directions. What I liked most was that we did not exchange numbers/emails/shoe size and did not promise to write or ever call. But one thing was certain to me, from the boat. That the man and I will see each other again. Then he told me: “I am sure we will meet again”.

Conversations of the day were intense and interesting – all in Spanish, sometimes just in English between the man and I since, of course, English comes easier to me. This magical meeting deserves a book.

Late at night/very early morning

I’m leaving Zanzibar a little sad. I made friends and met extraordinary people. Now I know why I forgot my pin (when coming from New York, which made me cancel that trip to Maldives, wait three days in Doha and then finally choose Zanzibar). I had to be here.


I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon from this place where having shoes is luxury, babies crawl on the dirt playing with plastic bags, having no toys, no shoes. Even so, I have not seen a dirty person or someone looking as a beggar. So here come the ethical questions. I have a huge fur (well I have many, but one is huge) and how many children would that feed?

September 9th 2015

10 AM

Omar is waiting for me to finish breakfast. I’m leaving Zanzibar on heavy rain. It brings out the beauty and the poverty of the island. I’ve enjoyed everything, but it’s first time I have a little regret to be alone. Well…not completely alone.

Today I left early from Nungwi, taking my suitcase, even though my flight is at 5PM, to go on a spice tour and to see Stone Town by day. By this time I’m seriously sun burnt and I slept like a ghost, barely moving. During the spice tour I realize how ignorant are we, the ones who don’t know where the items we use every day come from. Like pepper, vanilla, cardamom (which I thought is exotic flower when I saw the real plant), cinnamon, bananas, ginger. So, I enjoyed the tour of this guy who said “you will get married”. If he only knew…


Once in Stone Town it was impossible not to remember…By now the doors are not so new to me, but what I loved was the walk Omar gave me through the market, where I would not probably go, especially mzungu and alone. He took me in the fish market, in the main market. I took pictures like a real tourist and these are one of the most valued pictures of stay. Because they show the people, their preoccupations, what they buy and sell, what they eat, how they work, where their sweat goes…


When you come from Africa you realize you don’t need anything to be happy. The man I told you about said there once was a king who was unhappy and he heard there is a happy man in his kingdom. So, he sent his men to bring him the shirt of the happy man to wear it. But one man appeared and said: “I am the happy man…but I don’t have a shirt”.

My tales of Zanzibar will never end…


[1] When a house was built in Zanzibar, the door was traditionally the first part to be erected. The greater the wealth and social position of the owner of the house, the larger and more elaborately carved his front door.

The custom of putting brass knobs on the shutters comes from India, where the knobs were said to prevent elephants from crushing the doors. Since there have never been elephants in Zanzibar, the brass knobs were simply added as a decoration and to show the wealth of the owner.

Zanzibar’s Stone Town was a city divided into ethnic and economic districts; Arab, Asian, European and Shirazi peoples all lived in relatively distinct pockets of Stone Town. Each of these peoples usually specialised in a certain trade, and the different trades were concentrated together into business districts. As you walk around Stone Town, it is easy to notice that similar doors are found together in groups.

Each Zanzibar door acted as a ‘carved business card’ to passers by, conferring status. As people conducted business in their homes rather than offices, door symbols indicated both the trade and personal information of their owners.

In principle, there are two main types of doors found in Stone Town. One type is the Indian or Gujarati doors, with square shutters and made into smaller sections so that the door can fold together. […]

The second type are ‘Arab doors’; these are often found with an inscription in Arabic – most likely a phrase from the Holy Quran – on the top frieze, and richly decorated around the frame. The older doors were all square at top. The semi-circular frames were introduced later, but are still referred to as ‘Arab doors’.

The symbols on Zanzibari doors:

Flowers: A flower represents a family; every flower (1-12) that is found at the top of a door indicates that a distinct family lived inside. […]

Pineapples: Pineapples were a sign of welcome.

Fish scales: […] This motif said that the owner was a fisherman – or traded fish.

Rope: This was commonly seen to symbolise security and also showed that the occupant owned fishing vessels.

Chains: The most ominous symbol found in Zanzibar; the presence of chains on the doors was said to protect the entrance from evil spirits – but more truthfully, it was a clear indication that the owner both possessed and traded slaves.

Vines: The owner dealt in the spice trade. Floral vines were appropriate symbols as pepper, vanilla and other spices often grow this way.

Geometric squares: Geometric designs indicated that the owner was a proficient mathematician and offered his services as an accountant.

Beads: The owner was a jeweller and specialised in precious stones.

Arabic script: The symbolic designs and quotations from the Koran were intended to exert a protective influence.

Waves: Waves of the sea climbing up the doorpost represented the livelihood of the Arab merchant to whom the house belonged.


Frankincense and date palms: These symbolised wealth and plenty.

If you go on a Stone Town tour, make sure your guide shows you a selection of the best Zanzibari doors and shows to you the carvings and their meanings. And get some photographs – many of these doors are a work of art, and making them is a skilled trade passed down from generation to generation even today.” (

[2] In 1984, a major hoard of Chinese coins was discovered on the beach north of the village, indicating that this was once a prosperous trading port between the East, Arabia and Zanzibar, long before the arrival of the Europeans. Colonial rule brought the few grand administration buildings glimpsed along the central avenue of sweet almond trees, but today village life is still centred on simple trade with neighbours.” –


My favorite pictures of the trip.
They were walking slowly looking curiously at my selfie stick. I saw them and made a sign with my hand to call them closer to show them what it is. The girl in pink, when she saw her face in the phone screen, started running, but then the others came (second picture) and stayed there a few moments staring at their image. We exchanged smiles and they left. The face of the little one…priceless



Read about my holiday in Zanzibar here:

Zanzibar, the Island that Changed me Forever


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[1] 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.


May 2nd 2015, Dar el Salam, Tanzania

After more than 6 hours of flight, a beautiful view of Saudi Arabia’s lights from above, I saw what I think it is the most beautiful view of nature I have ever seen: a wonderful landscape of the Mountain of Light or what most people call Kilimanjaro.  I see even now the milky colors of the soft curves of the Kilimanjaro. Entire Google does not have a snapshot as beautiful as what I still see when I close my eyes and think of Tanzania.

KilimanjaroA random Google picture of Kilimanjaro, which does not by far compare to what I saw from right above the mountain, very close and simply amazing (source)

Finally, we reached Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere International Airport (the name of the airport is given by former president of Tazania).

If I love contrasts so much, how can I not love Africa. From the first minute I got off the airplane, voices of African languages were heard everywhere around, one over another is something similar to a incantation or like in an opened market.

The bus was waiting to take us through the street show to the hotel. Narrow streets with provincial look, many motorbikes slaloming through the cars, buses filled with local people, groups of runners with colorful football socks, women with buckets on their heads, walking like they are relaxing, women in colorful clothes, a lot of Coke advertisements, small ambulant shops improvised in the dust, a lot of fresh green. And thin rain.

The configuration of the streets was the following: two lanes for each direction divided by a 2 meter green zone, then at the sides of the road another green lane and then the pedestrian area, then another green area even with trees and climbing plants and then another alley for the cars. Living in Doha for the past 2 and a half months, I had missed the green and the rain.

At the hotel, there is security everywhere, two men check the zone under every car with a special device and opens the back doors.

At the entrance, more security with a belt scan and body scan like the one at the airport. The security officers are very welcoming and look very young and as I was going to find out, here everybody is very warm and welcoming. For a cleaning freak like myself, the hotel is ranking poor at this section.

The hotel has a pleasant style, with an old scent and many natural flowers.

I drink my coffee looking at the hot rain, the palm trees washed by it and the people walking in the street in front of the hotel while I listen to CNN, as always.

The garden if the hotel is luxuriant. The pool is between palm trees and other exotic trees some with deep orange red and pink flowers. There is a bar and reed umbrellas every now and then.

Somewhere to the treadmills facing the pool there is a greenhouse that hosts a local wedding. Tens of amazing, gorgeous ladies of color wrapped in colorful, wide cut dresses go through the catwalk by the pool. I wished I owned each of them. I admire them either from the pool with my rain dropping over me or from my chair sipping my Mojitos.

In the thin rain, that sometimes became a true storm, I swam in the pool for more than 3 hours, clearing my head and arranging my thoughts, admiring the nature shown here at its very best and the local ladies night dresses as they walked to the wedding location.

At night we went to a revolving restaurant in the Golden Jubilee Tower, at 21st floor, with a wonderful view of the Indian Ocean Dar es Salaam shore.

Their website presents it as “Tanzania’s first and only revolving restaurant”. The seafood platter was simply amazing, let me say the best I ever had, tasty and with a 5 star presentation with lobser “moustaches” of 1 meter for each plate, king prawns, calamari, lobster, delicious vegetables and fish.


I personally tried a local white wine from a company called Dodoma and it was a good match for my dish. If you are ever there, don’t miss it!

***About each country I have ever visited I read something about their history, geography, interesting facts. Please discover with me the wonders of the world!

Interesting facts:

Dar in Romanian means “gift”. As a Kenyan colleague told me, since there was a wedding at the hotel, the gift brought to the new couple is called “dari”. Arab colleague said in his language dari means home.

The name of the country comes from Tanganyika and Zanzibar, resulting in Tanzania.

For sure, Tanzania is a country that has a lot to offer and one I want to explore more in depth in the future. Therefore, even though I’ve returned, I think this is just the beginning of my Tanzanian adventure.

Finally, another striking thing for m was Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere International Airport, one that looks like a big shed. As we are walking to the aircraft, I see small rooms, with scratched old paint. Inside one of these rooms there is a old, very scratched table where a man in uniform writes something by had in a notebook. There are no other objects in the room. Next to it, there is another room of same size with bunk beds and the door is made of bars. A man just woke up and is sitting on the bed. The view is pretty amazing and it definitely contrasts the luxury of some remote parts of Dar es Salaam.