Lost in Stone Town
Many thanks to our tour mate Lucy, who after having read previous reviews of our Intrepid Travel tour, suggested that we skip the one night stay in Dar Es Salem and head straight for Zanzibar. The stay in Tanzania’s capital was only meant to break up one very long travel day, but in reality it didn’t make that much of a difference. It was a unanimous decision among our entire group, wooed by white sand and a relaxing end to our hecktic trip, to rise a little earlier and do it all in one shot. And so we landed in Stone Town with a little extra time to spare.
The locals were celebrating the first day of Ramadan. Curtains were drawn in the restaurants catering to the tourists, being ever so careful not to offend anyone who was sacrificing for the month. A call to prayer echoed down the street from the nearby mosque. Kathy mentioned to me that she got a dirty look from a woman in a shop for the small slit in her ground length skirt. A couple of children curiously wandered up and wondered why I was taking a photograph of their father’s coconuts laid out for sale on the street. I proudly showed them my photo and smiles lit up their faces. In turn they asked us to take a photograph of them to which we gladly obliged.
We came across a woman out for her morning walk with chickens being lead by homemade plastic leashes. I asked if I could capture the moment, but she wanted nothing to do with being in the frame. Instead she offered her fowl up as models. I gladly accepted her offer and caught her snickering in my peripheral view.
It was a couple of hours in which we wandered through the maze of Stone Town, reflecting on the many influences throughout. From the rounded top Indian doors and the traditional rectangular Arabic door frames, to the intricate carvings on the doors signifying either religious or symbolic beliefs. We snuck peeks past the doors as the city began to wake up.
Turns out that the local was right, by the way, and I felt embarrassed for my earlier suspicion. He definitely would have gotten us back to our hotel in less time.
But then I also would have missed this moment.
how to do it
Our trip was courtesy of Intrepid Travel. All opinions, as always, are our own.