Friday, December 21st, 2012. Zanzibar, Day 3
Zanzibar, Day 3, Day 4, and return to Dar
Today I am taking a spice tour. I wasn’t aware that Zanzibar is a major source of the world’s spices.
A young guide arrived at the hotel to pick me up. Not by car, by foot. To reach the others taking the tour we walked through another section of Stone Town and came upon a very handsome building which I learned is a new hotel in the Arabian style.
I guess Unesco is really keeping tabs on what happens architecturally in Stone Town. As we continued we ran into several other hotels which the guide explained had been private homes until very recently. So, the architectural character of Sone Town is being maintained
We passed this mosque.
As we reached the StoneTown perimeter we teamed up with others going on the Spice Tour. Most of our group are students who have been either studying in Dar or elsewhere in Tanzania or students volunteering in Tanzania. Now their 5 -6 months is over and they are doing last minute sightseeing before taking a flight home for Christmas. 14 of us jumped into a bus packed like sardines and headed off.
Leaving Stone Town we head into the countryside view banana trees, pineapple trees and many more. We turn off, bump our way down a dusty road and eventually come to a spice farm where they have created a show and tell environment, about two acres ncludes many different types of spices, showing how they grow and how they are harvested. Oh, how I wish that there was someone with me to take notes of what was what. I busily took photos. Now, writing this blog I feel somewhat lost without important details. So, I have created a quiz. If any of you reading the blog know the names of those unidentified plants feel free to make a comment or send me an e-mail. I would love to fill in my blanks.
Did you know that vanilla has a very short root system that needs to be very moist. So around each vanilla tree (it’s more a hearty vine) they build what looks like a mulch box to keep the roots moist. We were told that orchids and the vanilla plant are similar, In fact orchids grow very well in Zanzibar. I didn’t see any. But, I am keeping my eye out.
Now the quiz begins. Who can identify the following? I have given each plant a number to make it easier to respond.
After overload of wonderful information we went off to another location – a large covered open space. At one end various spices were being sold. The larger part of this space had a large mat on the ground around which we sat.
We were served an absolutely delicious curry dish on fragment rice. I bought some of the rice mixture to try in San Francisco. Our spice tour was complete.
The bus now took us to another slave holding. The advantage of this cave, damp and dark as it was, was it was cool in temperature. The others we had seen must have been sweat boxes.
Adjacent to the cave was this gorgeous beach and the Indian Ocean.
I didn’t have my bathing suit, but I was wear safari pants which zipped off above the knees. I wadded into the warm, light azure blue Indian ocean. Did you know recently there has been discovered a “new” stone found only in Tanzania aptly named Tanzanite? Rube and I saw some in jewelry stores. Yes it is the same color. Very delicate!
Throughout the day I had fun talking with the students. Most of them had a cause, environmental scientists, or a focus on helping develop craft industries etc. All passionate about what they are doing. On the way back in the bus a man who sat next to me was from Switzerland. Young, probably early 30’s. He works for a Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Novartis, and is on the team that is looking at plants and other natural ways of making non medical drugs. We had a great talk. I told him abou the naturopath, Dr. Neil McKinney in Victoria, BC and the successes he has with natural products curing cancer. From my conversation with this young man I gather that the environment is quite competitive. His nature fits right into that. We will keep in touch.
By 4:30 we were back in Stone Town. I fell into a deep sleep. A wonderful day.