On Friday, Will and I arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania via Uganda Air. In Kampala, people often joke about the inefficiency of the many systems. I have to say that Ugandans do a much better job when it comes to customs. It was a bit scary clearing customs in Dar es Salaam. An officer took our passports, visa money, and put it in a stack with about 10 others. We then waited for our names to be called. It seemed as if everybody was being called but us. After what seemed to be an hour (it was probably closer to 30-45 minutes but because they had taken our passports away, it created angst, at least for me.). Finally, we were released from the holding area, picked up our luggage, and took a taxi to a hotel - the Safari Inn. It cost us $30 for both of us to stay the night, which was a great deal.
After setting down our stuff, we walked to the ferry dock to buy tickets to go to Zanzibar the next day. Then we had a taxi take us to the largest market in Tanzania and then to see the coastline. As we drove to the coast, I noticed that all the ambassadors to different countries live on compounds near the coast. One of these days, I am going to have to get myself an ambassadorship!
On Saturday, we woke up early to take a ferry to Zanzibar. It was a 1 1/2 hour ride. We found beanbags to sit on at the back of the boat. The ride was delightful. pictures cannot capture the beauty of the blue water. The entrance into Zanzibar is dramatic. Unlike Dar es Salaam, the buildings in Stone Town - the island's capitol - are reflective of the original architecture, which is influenced my the many regimes that have had a stake in the countries history - Arab, Indian, and Portuguese. The above picture, not taken by me, should give you an idea. We will upload our own pictures when we arrive in Kampala.
We took a tour of the city on Saturday then ate at a park on the coast, which comes alive with street vendors at night. We ate seafood, and I had a Zanzibar Pizza (a chapatti made into a pie like thing with an omelette inside - sort of like a rolex in Kampala but not) On Sunday, we went on a spice tour. This involved gong to a community that grows all sorts of spices as a way to generate money for the village. It was amazing to hear about how each of the different spices were used for food and then also medicines. We recieved all sorts of clothing made from leaves as well. For instance, they made us sunglasses from Pineapple leaves and a tie from long leaves.
On Sunday night, our tour guide invited us to dine at his mothers home as a way to show us typical Swahili living. His mother made us beans, prawns in coconut sauce, chapatti and a local type of bread. It was delicious. We ate on the floor and without utensils. My whole life I have been told by my grandparents and parents that I eat too much with my hands so I thought that I would be really good at eating without a fork; however, it proved more difficult than I expected.
Yesterday, we checked out of our hotel in Stone Town. We went to the Jozani Forrest and to swim with dolphins - both very exciting and fun. Then, we checked into a hotel in Jambiani, which is on the east coast. The beach is majestic. Today, I am working on writing my service learning curriculum. I cannot think of a better way to do this than sitting outside looking out at the clear blue sea.