There’s nothing better, then disembarking from a plane onto a sunny tarmac. We’ve landed on the island of Zanzibar. It’s a short ride into town but first, customs.

It turns out that we need $50US per person for the entry visas. We’re relaxed. Perhaps too realaxed, because upon searching our bags we discover that we don’t have very much money. Don smiles weakly, and asks if he could perhaps change some money …just on the other side of customs. “quickly’ the men says sternly. Minutes pass and still no Don. “What has befallen your husband?” the man enquires. I don’t know? thirty minutes. All the passangers have left. I’m imaganing the worst. Where the hell are the passports, anyway?

Ah finally, here he comes, the sweat of fear all over him. The bank machine didn’t work. He’s had to change every dollar, euro, yen, swissfranc, and rupee we had to get us into the country. Ok, now we can relax. “Hakuna Matata”-swahili for ‘no worries’

Arab doors to someone’s house
The rooftops of Stone Town.

Zanzibar is everything you might have imagined. It’s exotic, beautiful, intruguing, and swarthy. We’re staying in old Stone Town. It’s no touristy Italy, but the history is everywhere. Zanzibar is a mixture of Arab (Omani), Indian, and African. Most of the population is Muslim, but it’s still a little rough and a bit crazy. I feel like I’ve dropped into a scene from ‘Raiders of the lost Arc’.

Boys playing on the beach in front of the ferryboat that goes to the mainland.

A man sells his fresh seafood.

Gwen sleeps in her princess bed. Our hotel, was once owned by one of the wealthier Arabs in town. http://236hurumzi.com/

The ‘market’ is what I always hope a market should look like, but never does. People bustle about, stands piled high with bananas, fruit and veggies. Bobbing legs of chicken floating in water great us as we enter the chicken area. Chickens squawk in their rattan cages and, out back, a man stands twisting necks. All slightly sickening, but engrossing to watch. At dinner when I asked what Kate thought of the chicken market, she responds, “mmm yummy’ (???)

Slavery is a part of Zanzibar’s history. Perhaps the kids are young, but we take a tour. It’s heartbreaking. We see a tiny cell where over 70 humans were stuffed. Clearly everyone feels sick. But it’s an oportunity to talk about humanity and learning from history.
A sculpture by a Swede who visited Zanzibar. The chains are actual chains used before slavery was abolished in the 1870’s.

Zanzibar smells exotic with the scent of cloves and cardomom wafting through the air. On a spice tour, we see cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla, and cocoa, among other others.
a nutmeg ball and the spice, mace (the red lines).
Gwen and Kate stand under a cocoa bean tree. 50+% of all cocoa comes from Africa.
Ashtons sports some new accessories.

Gwenie and Kate playing on the beach.

Gwen and Vivienne, our henna artist.