Friday, December 18, 2015

Zanzibar, Tanzania, Part 2: Turtles and Stone Town Exploration

Is there such thing as feeding too many animals, too often?? We obviously don't think so.  Zanzibar adventures, commence.

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • Day 3 in paradise began with a leisurely breakfast overlooking the ocean - which always consists of fresh fruit here. And tea. Seriously such a dream. In the early afternoon, I'd wanted to head to this turtle sanctuary I'd heard about down the beach - so J. Rich and I took the long, gorgeous walk from our hotel (in "so hot you're almost melting" weather, on that note).

The beach walk to the turtle conservatory. I look like I'm 10.
  • The turtle sanctuary is small, run by locals, but is the cutest - they exist to help with conservation efforts of turtles - which means they rescue turtles that are caught in fishermen's nets and baby turtles in poorly-place nests, etc. They eventually release them back into the wild.

Favorite part?? You get to feed the turtles handfuls of seaweed!!! 

These turtles are huge and not even close to full-grown yet!  These are green turtles - which can grow to be 5 feet long!

These turtles were very snappy about their seaweed

This is a hawksbill turtle

AND BABY TURTLES. Did you know that 90% of baby turtles don't survive to adulthood in the wild (due to predators, etc.)!?!  So this conservatory keeps them until they get bigger, and they all look like tiny unstable wind-up toys

  • J. Rich and I spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in adorable beach cafes; drinking fresh juices, eating fries, and watching the ocean.

Fishermans' boats

And lying under a palm tree

And then we set up to watch the sunset because they are my fave.

Sunset on Nungwi Beach, which was INSANELY PRETTY.

More dusk. *siiigh*

  • Our last day in Zanzibar, J. Rich and I switched locations from Nungwi (beach paradise) down to the main city of Zan, called Stone Town.  We started with back-to-back tours of a spice farm, and then a city walking tour. 

The spice tour was super interesting - we got to see trees that produced cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, etc. And the guide would point out each plant and then take some and let us see and smell and taste it. Some of the spices come in the MOST INTERESTING form ever. It's crazy to see it at its source, vs. in your grocery store on a spice shelf.  This is our guide with his rainbow umbrella.

Saddest part about spice tour though - torrential rains the entire time. 

Though this kind man pulled down a jackfruit and is carving it up for us!

Jackfruit! You spit out the pit, and the flesh tastes like a combo pineapple/banana flavor with the consistency of a lychee.

Wet wet wet. And you can't see, but they made us all necklaces/bracelets out of plant leaves! Cute.

  • In the afternoon, we took a rain-soaked walking tour of Stone Town. Stone Town was a coastal trading city back in the day - popular for both spice and slave trading. It used to occupied by the British, then the Portuguese, then the people of Oman (Oman..ese?  Omani?).  The sultan of Oman actually moved the presidential palace to Zanzibar back in the day.  Traces of its varied history are still very visible in the city itself today. 

A pretty tree. J. Rich and I look miserable, but we were going for "American Gothic"

    Panoramic view of Stone Town rooftops

    An underground chamber used to hold slaves. Which were basically villagers they stole/imprisoned/coerced/attacked from the African mainland. From Zanzibar, they were sold at the slave market (but kept shackled in these tiny holding pens in the meantime) and usually shipped off to the Middle East.

    A sad memorial of how slaves were sold at auction.

    And here is the beach! Not as pretty as Nungwi, but will take it.

    Charming little back alleys of Stone Town

    I kind of loved the vibe

    Meal of the Day:
    We went to dinner at a restaurant called House of Spices, which was true to its name - there were tiny cabinets of spices all along the wall that helped season the food and drink. Not only did the restaurant have super interesting/tasty food, but there were also spiced teas, spiced ice cream, etc.  YOU KNOW HOW I LOVE A GOOD THEME.  And it was delicious, which doesn't hurt.

    Adorable starter bread platter

    Veggie curry with spiced rice

    Fun Facts of the Day:
    • Green turtles have soft shells so they aren't hunted for their shells as much as other turtles. But still are endangered because people eat them too!
    • There are over 90 mosques in Stone Town.
    • A British missionary was instrumental in helping stop the slave trade in Stone Town - it was officially abolished in 1897. 

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