Sitting outside our room with the tide swelling up onto the beach 5 metres away. It's late afternoon and the daily exodus of white sailed fishing dhows is heading across the horizon and out for a night's fishing. Our en-suite room with two double beds is $27 a night and probably as cheap and as close to the beach as you can get in Zanzibar. With a breakfast of eggs, fresh fruit, and warm baked bread included it's an absolute bargain in African terms. Stuff is so much more expensive than you'd expect from a continent with so much poverty. We spoilt by our Asian standards. We have now hit a budget wall and drink little more than water and share a lunch. For dinner we have found 2 restaurants that have fresh fish bbq or pizza and fajitas for $4 each. The other places break our budget.
|Possibly the best sunset I've ever seen. First night back on the island and it was never close to as good again.|
Money has influenced our days on the island, we've not really taken advantage of all there is on offer. We talked about the 'Spice Tour' and kayaking in coral coves, but even the diving got axed from 8 dives to only 2. Instead we are making a list of all the things we're going to do when we come back one day. It's also nice to be doing things on our own schedule. On the bus we were constantly up early and off somewhere new. Now it's nice to have no plans. The most excitement we had was watching South Africa vrs Mexico. That and adopting two local beach dogs and taking them for a walk down the coast at low tide. Thought we'd have to carry them back when the tide turned quickly. Thankfully we didn't as one was big and the other dog had ADHD.
On the beach you pass Masai herders. Many are trying to sell you stuff, while others are on holiday or visiting the island for extra school. All of them we have spoken to have come from Arusha where it's a lot colder. In Arusha their rich red robes are made from blankets, in Zanzibar they change to Masai beachwear. This basically consists of the same patterned fabric just made from light cloth.
It's winter here now, and we have rain and storm clouds every day. This doesn't bother us too much, there's enough sun for burning and it's nice and cool in the evening. Also it means the island isn't heaving as it is the rest of the year. It does however mean that the sea isn't quite as flat and blue as it is the rest of the year. We'll have to go back for the ultimate beach pictures.
One really cool thing we got to see when we went down to Stone Town for the night was how local guys entertain themselves in the evening. We were walking down the waterfront when we heard lots of cheering and clapping. There was a group of around 20-30 young lads doing acrobatic jumps of the wall of the waterfront into the water 10 ft below. They took a long run up and then launched themselves over a small wall, in relay or pairs, into the water trying to 'out jump' each other. We found out from the large crowd of locals watching that they do this every time the tide is high enough in the evenings. This display made an otherwise unremarkable trip to Stone Town worthwhile. The long haired bearded rasta wearing a floor length bed-shirt and doing somersaults was worth the visit alone. It's a far more macho way for guys to show off than hanging around on street corners in hoodies looking threatening.