Friday, August 25, 2006

Life on the Beach

This is an updated post, so if you read it once, there's a good chance this is different.

Hi everyone,

Well, this is my last post while I am on my trip. I'll update it with photos later and let you all know when they are posted. For now, here's an update.

I'm on the hot, sunny beach in Kendwa, Zanzibar. I've never taken a beach holiday, and this has all the fixings: turqouise sea, sand in every crevice, tropical drinks, massive amounts of sunblock, and gorgeous weather.

So, here's what's been happening:

Day 12: travel from Arusha to Marangu, near the base of Kilimanjaro
Day 13: cultural tour through Marangu villages and agricultural areas
Day 14: travel from Marangu to Leshoto
Day 15: travel from Leshoto to Dar Es Salaam
Day 16: travel to Stone Town, Zanzibar
Day 17: travel from Stone Town to Kendwa Rocks, taking a Spice Tour on the way
Day 18: beach and first attempt at snorkeling
Day 19: full day snorkel adventure

Well, here I am on Day 19 of my overland trip. The past week has been fantastic. Our group is now down to four people, as Lynda and Rachel went back to the UK. The four of us and our three crew (how backwards is this!) enjoyed a good two days basking in the peak of Kili, when she decided to show her face. I didn't hike to base camp, but I took a cultural tour, which was just as exciting.

The cultural tour gave us a view of Chagga traditional/modern life. Our guide first took us through the forest, where they grow coffee, sweet bananas, plantains, and herbs. We walked through both traditional and modern houses, which were quite small and a bit caustrophobic. They keep their cow inside and locked up so they don't tramp through the coffee trees. I touched the soft skin of the cow's head, and I felt so sad. A vegan moment.

Our cultural tour then went through the market and then down to the waterfall. We took two local taxis, and I was amazed by how many people they cram into one minivan. This is an African thing, as I've seen people crammed in these vans in every country I've visited. That being said, I felt once again underdressed with the women in beautiful patterned dresses and hats.

Zanzibar is treating me well (i.e. no sunburn yet). When I wrote the parenthesis yesterday, I didn't realize the bit of a burn I received yesterday. Oops.

The first day in zanzibar we spent in Stone town. An interesting city full of different influences: Christian, Muslim, Indian. We tried to eat at the Freddy Mercury Restaurant, but they didn't have any food ready (lunch/dinner lull), so we ate at a gorgeous Indian restaurant. Then we watched the sun set from a hotel bar, just as a dhou (local wooden sailboat) passed in front of the sunset. thank you for the postcard, zanzibar!

Wednesday we went on a spice tour, which involved smelling and tasting zanzibar spices. Zanzibar made its name from two things: the slave trade and spices. First, we took a tour of the slave trade places and then up to spice country. we sat in one of the rooms where 75 women and children were kept for three days without food and water. An eerie experience.

then spices: ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, tumeric, lemongrass, vanilla. I'm sure there are others I can't remember.

then the beach: I went snorkeling yesterday, which wasn't so good (seasickand lots of jellysfish-the nonstinging variety), but today I took my seasick pills, and it was fantastic! The fish were bright and plentiful, and once I got the hang of breathing calmly, I was in the ocean for two hours. we saw so many fish, whose names I don't know. I do know we saw clown fish, zebra fish, cucumber fish, and lots of multi-colored ones (Kerry, don't tell Craig about my ignorance!). The coral proved my favorite thing. the colors. wow. I wish I had pictures.

Okay, time's running out. I'll talk to you all soon (scheduled to come home Thursday, the 31st, unless my flight can be changed to give me a few extra days on a stopover).

Lots of love,


No comments: