Oh Zanzibar. Zanzibar was gorgeous, and luxurious and ridiculous and just, all the things. Over the top, really. It was hot. 32°C+ every day, and ridiculously humid. Zanibar itself was insanely gorgeous. Long pretty beaches, lush forest in the middle of the island. Pretty blue waters. A topical island filled with resorts. We hit up Stonetown right after we flew in. I wish I hadn't. When we landed, everyone who had sunburnt immediately bubbled thanks to the heat - as we sweated the sweat pooled under our sunburn because our skin was all dried up and burnt and unable to let the sweat out. It was disgusting, and uncomfortable. My face was also still burnt and blistering from the climb, and I came down the mountain with a cold that one of the boys was sharing. I can't even describe what it's like to be ill and feel terrible in a place that's so warm and so pretty and then go ahead and try play tourist. I know, call me an idiot but there you go. I wanted to see Stonetown for fear that I'd never get another chance and so I did.
Stonetown - it's old. It was established way back in the late 1800's and was a pretty successful trading post for spicers and slaves. SLAVES. Isn't that insane? The buildings were old, and everything has that delicious texture about a place that's slightly worn down. Cracked plaster and pretty wooden doors. Cobblestones and wires everywhere. Everything had character, and it was delightful to walk through the little streets.
We hit up the Slave Market, to see what it was like. When I think about how many suffered here, it's horrific. The place itself? A little rundown, with pretty flowers and a lawn and a church. Throw in an art gallery that feels a little worn in and it's all very ordinary from the outside. There's a memorial where the auction block used to be - the memorial is sunken but oh, I'm glad it's there. We were taken down to the cells which were fairly horrific. They were vertically half size rooms, but wide, and ridiculously hot. There was no air flow, and three slits in the outer wall to provide light. I cant even imagine what it was like - the amount of people they crammed in their would have meant everyone would be lying or sitting up against each other. There's a path sunken in through the door which we all stood in - apparently that was where people could defecate, because when the tide came in it would fill up the path and wash anything it in away when it went out. It was pretty chilling. They told us that slaves were given no food or water and had to survive in the rooms for three days to prove their 'strength'. A 'strong' slave is worth more, apparently. Which is ridiculous because surely a live slave is worth more than a dead one, and it's fairly easy to see how many died being kept in this horrific cells.
I didn't last long in the cells, I was eager to get up into cooler and fresher air. I shouldn't have worried, really. Because we hit up the spice market next.
Oh the spice market. The spice part was fine, under a cool red tarpoleon. All the spices are in little labelled bags. Lots of people trying to get to you buy things. The Meat Market was worse. It was foul. It smelt horrific. The meat was out, either hanging from hooks, on tables or on tarpoleons on the ground. There was no ice (it's too hot for ice) and no freezers. Nothing to keep the flies off, and oh my days there was CLOUDS of them. The smell had me gaggin, and we moved on pretty quickly after that.
The best bit of Stonetown was sitting on the beach at a bar. Iced cocktail in hand watching the sun go down, and watching all the kids play in the water. They were doing somersaults and all sorts, it was fairly entertaining, and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
I'm not even going to talk about what happened at Africa House, which is where we went for dinner. In short, they couldn't handle a group of 16 and instead of dealing with the problems they had they tried to cover it up. We walked out without paying for anything bar the drinks. It was fairly terrible.
After Stonetown, we didn't leave the resort. It was gorgeous! Over the top luxurious. There was swimming everyday, and hanging out bikinis, and being warm without being too burnt. I had a kitesurfing session (still determined to master it!) and there was beach volleyball (something which I am rubbish at, but improved dramatically the more I played) and a snorkling trip. There was amazing food, with breakfast and dinner being included. Ridiculous lobster (so tasty!) and just generally it was super relaxing. There was much napping and book reading and hanging out. Even more cocktails and tasty things too.
I wasn't ready to leave when it came time to go. I literally took one last swim minutes before I had to be on the bus, and I got on all wet for the long trip back to Moshi. Oh Zanzibar. What a trip!