Routines. It’s been something that we’ve thought about since we arrived in Zanzibar. Since we’ll be here a while, we might start having a favorite grocery store, and maybe some nights go down to the waterfront and eat street food while watching the sunset. We might develop a nice cheap restaurant/dinner option, and get into a habit of doing that every day. It sounds super fun to get into habits like the locals, and I know from nights before that the sunsets are amazing.
This was our 3rd full day here in Zanzibar. I was getting a hang of the place, and the streets are very much windy and confusing in Stone Town, kind of like in Fes. The people here are very nice, just like in the mainland of Tanzania. The majority of the population is Muslim, because Zanzibar had been a trading port for slaves and spices (spices here are really good) back in the time it was controlled by the sultans of Oman.
Avani and Hugo’s (kids we dug holes with at La Herradura) mom’s friend lives in Zanzibar, and she told us about a beach festival here. Janet read about it and it said there would be dancing, drumming, gymnastics, cooking, food stands, and even goat racing!
The festival took place on the other side of Zanzibar Island (Unguja), at a town called Jambiani. Jambiani was long like a snake, stretching from head to toe (snakes don’t have toes) all along The Indian Ocean. East Zanzibar beaches are supposed to be some of the top 10 in the world! West side Stone Town beaches don’t have sand are probably highly polluted.
We were in no rush as we climbed into the dala dala that would take us all the way to Jambiani and its fantastical beaches. Along the way we talked with an Italian woman named Gilda. Gilda has friends here, and is taking a year off to go live in this part of the world (Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Kenya). We chatted about our trips and let the time just fly by, and before we knew it, Next Stop Jambiani.
By the second I saw the beaches, I was absolutely stunned. Everybody there looked happy. There were a couple of big tents, full of little stands selling things from food to beads to fabric. Here in Jambiani, there is an international school that teaches kids from over 15 countries! That was why there were many kids running around and having fun, laughing and running like it was paradise. I couldn’t wait to join in. I took a step forward…
Next thing I knew I had been dragged off to lunch to eat before we went swimming (I wasn’t hungry). I had to admit, the food was good, and still the best feeling I’ll ever know was still beating triumphantly in my heart. It’s hard to describe. It’s the feeling when I know that something amazing and super fun is going to happen, and I stop wanting it to happen right that second. I suddenly appreciate the fact that I have to sit down and eat lunch before I could go swim in the Indian Ocean.
Finally the moment came. It was so fun. We got snacks, built things in the sand, did pretend excavations, and best of all got to swim in the ocean. It was seriously warm. Like a bath. Salty, warm water was all around me. The sand on the beach was powdery, and it was hard to get off. In the water, it felt like I was walking over matresses of clouds, warm clouds. It was amazing. The whole area was wonderful.
I could look out to the water, and imagine our next 2 destinations across the ocean. India would be a little to our left, and Thailand straight ahead.
As the day progressed, the goat racing began. It wasn’t my favorite because it did not look fun for the goats. They set up this little pen that the goats would race around in. They brought in the goats. The goats had leashes, and when the whistle was blown, the three young adults that were holding the leashes would hit and tug the goats and their leashes, just keeping them on course, and dragging the goats to the end. It wasn’t goats racing. It was people racing the goats. The goats would sometimes turn in a different direction, and the owner would pick up the goats, turn it back on course, and then madly slap its back, urging to just move forward.
Everybody was happy (except maybe the goats). The sun started to lower as the tide receded tremendously. It created an island out to our right, and since even for a really long ways out the depth was pretty much the same, we could walk on the ground out there, and explore all the neat life. We found crabs, hermit crabs, sea urchins, fish, and starfish. It was like our own marine safari, and we were doing it all by ourselves. There were puddles everywhere out there, and there rest of the ground was wet sand. We walked as far as we could, and then had to turn back when the water reached our knees.
I could not believe how much the tide had gone down, and it was still receding as we took our taxi back to Stone Town.
I definitely see how those are some of the best beaches in the world. We might be able to go back, because we have a lot of time to be here!
Below: Beach Pictures
Below: Marine Safari
Below: Goat Racing
Below: Our Good Friend Hermy
Below: Dala Dala