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Pip&Judi’s Travel Diary

Monday, 29 Aug 2005

Location: Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

MapSPICE ISLAND

Another flight this time via a night in Johannesburg at a backpackers hostel right next to the runway of J'burg international airport finally got us to Zanzibar. A destiantion we did not expect to make but are here. First impressions on a grey, wet and humid Sunday were that may be se should not have bothered...... was thiws worth the trip?

It is very rundown, we got ripped off at the airport foreign exchange (or more specifically I was stupid!) and we arrived at a fairly rundown guesthouse in a very rundown Stone Town, having had a couple of nights luxuriating in the Cape, slightly dispondent........

but never mind all that ........we're on an adventure so the fact that we are staying down a very dodgy back alley next to theroughest part of town (the port) and a very pungent fish market is just all part of it. The whole town had no power on Sunday night so we eat at the first real restaurant we could see (it was pitch black). It ended up being a tribute restaurant to Freddy Mercury who was born here in Stone Town. Sadly the food did not match his talent. However we had a few local beers by the exotic names of Tusker, Safari and Kilimanjaro - much more appealing than Carling Black Label really, followed by a 'Shisa' - Judes first attempt at this and thankfully a street lit walk home as the power returned before we ventured into a fairly forboding pot hole filled side street where we are staying.

Monday dawns and a tour of a spice farm starts sunny and blue skied.

It was fascinating to see how they grow - pepper on vines, cardomun in pods on the roots, cinnamon is the bark of a tree and cloves actually have very pretty flowers. Vanilla also grows on a vine that is syupported by trees so it grows taller. We ate a freshly chopped down coconut. The price of cloves exported from Zanzibar is ~£0.75 per kg (it was 3 x that just 2 years ago!)

.....the best part of thye day though was getting an e-mail from Simon and finding out that the 'White Nile' crew are on Zanzibar tonight! - we met them in a bar and had a great re-union eveing after heading in opposite directions just 6 days ago and being 2000 miles apart we are now drinking (heavily again) and catching up on travelellers tails. Gunnedah - you and your hat are an inspiration!