Astrid, my friend from Switzerland, and I left early last Thursday morning on a bus headed for Dar Salaam. Hopefully this will be the longest bus ride of my life and I hope to never exceed 17 hours, ever! But although the trip was long, we made it to Dar eventually (11 pm that night!) and then hopped on the Ferry the next morning, which took us straight to Stone Town, a quaint little town on the west coast of the island. The best way for me to describe Zanzibar is it you married a tropical island with a European town and mixed in a lot of Muslim and Arabic culture. The town intrigues me!
After dropping luggage at the Warere Town Hotel we set out to explore the town. As it started to rain we found a small restaurant with beautiful views of the ocean, where we sat on floor cushions and ate from a low table, while waiting for the rain to subside. We wove through alleyways and cobblestone streets with the indian and arabic style architecture looming over our heads. Many friendly people would greet us, many picturesque moments, many shops selling exotic juice drinks, dates, spices, and naan bread. Children walking home from school; girls wearing the traditional hijab, boys playing ball on the street. Young men ringing their bicycle bells as they wound the narrow street corners, missing you by an inch; old men sitting on the front stoop socializing, others throwing scraps to the many well-loved cats that roamed the streets. These are some of the things I saw the first day but the days to follow gave me chances to see more of the same; to discover more alleyways, make more people, try more foods, and find more adventures.