Upon arrival to Zanzibar, the senses are overwhelmed. It wasn’t just the everyday hustle and bustle that seemed more like chaos and commotion at first, but also the sights, sounds, smells, and of course tastes. I found that the largest difference was between Canadian and Tanzanian lifestyles. Zanzibari lifestyle seemed very busy at first, especially due to spending a lot of time in Darajani market during the first week. People always seemed to be going to and from work, transporting goods, shopping at the market, going to dukas, etc. People, vehicles, and even carts continuously weaved back and forth for the majority of the day. The hectic environment was just the first thing that I noticed upon arriving in Zanzibar. The following is a list of all of the things that I found unforgettable or just historically interesting:
Sights: crowds at Darajani market, Stone Town, Forodhani, House of Wonders, beaches, doing a spice tour, seeing the red colobus monkeys in Jozani forest, seeing the underwater life, dhow on the ocean, Hamamni Persian baths, former slave market
Sounds: calls to prayer, people shouting on the street, long greetings, short goodbyes, solicitors on the street, air raid siren at sunset
Smells: durian (smells like rotting fruit) and fish/other seafood at Darajani Market, smoke from burning refuse, clove trees, and of course the many other spices that Zanzibar is famous for
Tastes: spiced chai (a staple), spiced coffee (very earthy, with cardamom and cumin), local coffee at Jaws Corner, strongly flavoured Tanzanian dark honey, fresh fruit, fresh juice, great seafood, palau, and all of the spices used in cooking
Touch: making the way through the crowd at Forodhani market, being squished on the dala dalas (especially when I once took the last one at night), the sheer intensity of the sun, extreme heat during the first week in Zanzibar, itching from insect bites
So, there’s a lot to see, do, and experience in Zanzibar. Even though things may be overwhelming at first, before long it’s easy to get used to everything. What at first seemed chaotic to me became ordered by the second week. However, at this time my schedule became busy, which was made worse by getting a minor illness. Still, all the seemingly negative experiences didn’t impact my enjoyment of Zanzibar at all, but instead made life in Zanzibar more unique. Even though life was definitely more demanding than in Canada and doing laundry by hand was challenging, there was still time to take things slow. That said, my time in Zanzibar has flown by in a blur. Zanzibar is a very special place; I know I’ll miss the people, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. I know that I’ll return in the future for a visit!
-Erik Jackson, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2012
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