22 May 2010


Zanzibar used to be an independent country, but became a part of Tanzania after a revolution in the 60's. We're staying at a hotel called the Tembo Hotel. It's awesome. You could look it up online, I wish there was a way for me to upload pictures, but I don't have a way to put them on a computer. Hotel's right on the beach, crystal clear water with our balcony overlooking the pool. There are a lot of tourists here, so everything is more expensive, relatively speaking of course. For example, there was this beautiful nativity set that I saw in Arusha and got quoted 50,000 Tanzanian shillings for it. In Zanzibar, the guy told me 170,000 shillings. I can't believe I look so stupid. I rolled my eyes, laughed and walked away. You can't be a sucker in this world.

We went to the food market in Zanzibar on our first day here. It was gross. Meat was hanging from hooks in the ceiling and there was a little room in the back where chickens would go to get their heads cut off. I walked by this one door and saw a cow head, eyes open, just laying on the table. FREAKED ME OUT. I had curry vegetables for lunch that day. I guess its better knowing where your meat comes from, than having cows that see nothing but the inside of a factory their whole lives.

The Sultan of Oman ruled Zanzibar for a while, and his palace is still in the middle of town, along with another large exhibition building called the House of Wonders. These building have the potential to be incredible works of architecture, but there's hardly any money to fix them to mint condition. They can't just call up a company or trust fund to sponsor a renovation, so that was a little disheartening too. I tried to just look past the leaking ceilings and imagine what the palace would have looked like in its glory days.

Freddy Mercury was born in Zanzibar. Yes, THAT Freddy Mercury from Queen. He has a restaurant in town so 5 of us went the other night for dinner. They only played Queen. It was awesome.

We went to a forest on the west side of the island that had red colobus monkeys. They were very cute, and very unafraid of people. The little monkeys wrestled around on the ground while most of the grownups watched in the tree tops. I could have stayed and watched them all day, but no such luck. Later that afternoon we went to the leading NGO for women development in Zanzibar. We met with the Chairwoman of the National Progress for Women. She looked like she was about 40 but was 55. Incredible lady. She talked to us about the problems faced by women in Zanzibar, it was a very interesting lecture. My roommate might even come back next summer and intern with her.

There's an associate dean from UGA visiting and reporting on the Study Abroad program. Pretty sweet deal, he's spending the summer traveling around the world staying in the nicest hotels in the cities. I'd loathe him if he wasn't so nice. Plus, he invited us to his swanky hotel for drinks a few night ago. Did I mention the legal drinking age is 18 here? But few people drink because it's against Islamic law. Jersey Shore was on TV later that night.

Yesterday, we went on a tour through spice farms in the country. I got to see cinnamon, lemongrass, ginger, cloves, vanilla, ylang ylang, saffron, jasmine and a few others growing. It was really neat seeing how it looks before the spices get in the grocery store. Cinnamon, for example, comes from the bark of a tree. Once you dry it, it rolls up into sticks. Cool right?

Went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch yesterday, then watched the 2nd game of the Celtics/Magic series. Never would have guessed I could do that in Africa. Last night at the old fort with dancers. Had a good time.

We just got back about an hour ago from snorkeling off one of the small islands around Zanzibar town. I get overwhelmed in water, as some of you know :/ so snorkeling has never really been my thing. Remember SB 06 Nat? haha But I gave it another shot, with life jacket on, of course, and I got to see some really cool coral in the reefs. Coolest part, I got some pictures underwater. (THANKS FOR THAT BAG, DAD! IT WORKED!) The camera in general is just awesome. I've gotten some of the best pictures but the underwater ones are really nice. We got to the island in this 10 passenger wooden boat with a small motor. Waves were a little intense on the way there but it was fine. A storm started coming in while we were out, so we started heading back to town, but got stuck in this HORRIBLE downpour. For about 15 minutes, we couldn't see any land around us. I was starting to feel very anxious but then we saw another boat, and reached shore soon after. It's still raining, but my computer times up.


  1. Good Morning, Clare,
    I'm so glad Zanzibar is beautiful and exotic. I looked up the hotel's website and it does look very nice. Enjoy the luxury! But please, no nativity set for me.
    We went to Cole's grad party last night, then to Melinda's b'day dinner for Mex. Today, to Leslie Franklin's house for her son and Drew's grad party (joint). Tomorrow, it's East Cobb Park for Holly Brackin's party. Wish you could be here, but I know Zanzibar is funner!
    Perry B.'s story is on the front page of the Marietta paper, big color pic with Mike and Salli. Great story. We will save it for you, and, yes, I will record the
    2 1/2 hour finale of LOST for you.
    Mom will be checking in w/you soon. It is 5AM here and I think I'll catch a few more winks.
    I miss you,too, not just Mom and Nat. Love the blogs. You are so descriptive. Have a safe flight to the Serengeti and the next adventure!
    Love you bunches, Dad
    P.S. I know you are loving Zanzibar, but we love YOU more!

  2. WOW, you are in incredible writer!!!! Just got back from graduation, at Roswell St. shed a tear or 2 about year ago and all that has transpired. Good and BAD. Austin did a great job as well as Timmy JAmal and Evan did the roller coaster at end and it was so cool with both sides of the church rockin!!! Met Lisanne's Dad finally, really nice. Now back to you!!! What an awesome experience in the water, SB 06 was Cancun right? THat rain storm sounded terrifying! ANd a balcony on the beach? As Dad says"DONT GO SHORT". WE are busy planning our rendevous with you. Our plan is to take the train into AMS on Monday afternoon and check in our place, we are looking at several B&Bs on the canals that are so pretty, Ria helped us for about 3 hours yesterday, planning. Ria says there is a luggage checkin in the airport that we can leave your bag for the week. We will get Natalie to pack you some cute fresh stuff, okay? When you land, we will bw there to meet you and will begin the next journey!! I am SOOOO excited. ARe you having to spend your money on food? I thought lots of the meals were included! Speaking of money, how are you holding up? I miss you but am so happy for you. Rob Radler sends his love and says he is loving reading about you. MR. Stillwell send hugs too. More later, off to more parties!!!LOVE AND HUGS MOMMY