Trip to Tanzania – HAKUNA MATATA

I recently traveled  to Tanzania, this may seem like an odd destination, but the country certainly does have a lot to offer. I visited the beautiful island of Zanzibar, and thereafter spent a few days in the capital Dar es Salaam, which is a lot like India, but on mute.

I found myself constantly comparing Tanzania to India, as I visited India a few years back in 2012. Here is an extract ( with some comments) from my travel diary :

1) A collapseable bed closed in on me (Delhi)
– yes this actually happened, it snapped shut with me in it and my sisters laughed at me
2) Twisted my knee (Ajmer, goodbye beautiful heels, looking at surgery ASAP)
– I had knee surgery since then… and dislocated the other knee since ..
3) Got bumped by a motorbike (Mumbai, it was bound to happen)
4) Walked into a taxi door (got a huge blue and purple bruise… it’s pretttyyy)
5) Bumped into a stationery tuk tuk (I was avoiding moving traffic)
6) Got run over by a mouse( Mumbai, soooooooo traumatic)
– Of course there was a mouse in the room, It is India after all
7) Oh and had a minor minor surgery nothing to stress about
– I can see clearly now….
The Journey is very spiritual , I think about death everyday usually when I’m crossing the road because I think “this is it ….I’ma die ….”

Well, this time…in Tanzania

1)I fell of a hammock
2)got kissed by a dog,
3)got clawed by the same dog that kissed me the previous day,
4)Had an octopus sit on me
5)had fish nibble at my arms
6)had a starfish crawl up my arm.
7)held an albino sea-urchin

The roads are not as hazardous as in India, although they are just as busy and the markets are overflowing with either seafood or spices.
I also tasted the best chicken tikka ever in Dar es Salaam!
I am quite tired off seafood at the moment, and I don’t think I want to see another octopus again. The market places often displayed dried octopus which we assumed was their version of biltong. I have never been a fan of fish markets but in order to get to the spice market, I was forced to walk through it.

To get to Zanzibar, we took the ferry from Dar es Salaam to Stonetown. It was a lovely ride, however, on the return journey, the choppy ocean had me experience the worst sea sickness ever. This came as a surprise as I am not generally prone to being sea sick. I spent most of the ride back on the balcony section at the back of the ferry
which seemed to be occupied with passengers I suspect may not have purchased tickets…

As lovely as the island is, a simple walk in the village revealed a striking contrast to the luxurious holiday resorts separated by walls and palm trees. People live simply with the bare minimum and appear contented with what they have. Zanzibar has a large Muslim population and it was lovely to see the spirit in which they practiced Islam.

 

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The women were dressed in bright, colourful hijabs, floral skirts and burqas on children of all ages. Often the tourists would also dress modestly, or cover their hair in respect. Although, there are a lot of con-artists and bargaining is essential when shopping, my mum reminded us that the difference in prices is just to feed their families and part of earning a living. Which of course made us feel guilty for  bargaining.

I thought I would share An amusing conversation I had with my mum with regards to my dressing:

Mum: I find your dressing inappropriate! It is a breach of islamic ethics!
Me: *shocked* but its a t-shirt, the neckline is high, it has sleeves, its long, everything is covered.
Mum: those depictions on the t-shirt are terrible!
Me: Oh… right, you don’t like the Nightmare before Christmas…

The highlight of my trip was definitely snorkeling along the reefs, although I would advise you to carry your own snorkeling gear as sharing is not always caring.

 

 

 

I gained most of my knowledge in preparation for Tanzania from two important sources:

1) THE LION KING
2) FINDING NEMO

For instance:
Me: what is “Thank you” in Swahili ?
Ayesha : Asanti
Me: As in .. Asanti sana squash banana ????
Ayesha : yes ! and Rafiki means friend!

Me:
meme

 

 

Ayesha : remember to stay away from the anemones, you know that they sting!
Me: yesss I know!…..wait, how do I know that they sting?
Ayesha: Finding nemo!
My mum knew what she was doing when I was growing up. A time when google was not my primary source of information.
It was also amusing to note how we call every clown fish we see “Nemo”, and every Royal blue Tang fish “Dory” (Yes I googled that).

 

Before returning to Stonetown we made a stop at a spice farm for a tour. I love spices and got to see vanilla, turmeric and cinnamon among other favourites of mine.
The cloves from Zanzibar are said to be the best . I also tasted the best lemongrass tea and the worst ginger tea. I would have loved to bring home a vanilla plant, but airport security is so strict!

One of the main attractions in Stonetown is the Forodhani Gardens which is a food fair that takes place every evening. My parents saw it on the food channel (Reza Mohamed), and so we had to see what the fuss was about. I loved their pizza/pancakes with nutella, coconut and banana,as well as fresh sugar cane juice and amazing pistachio ice cream.
Before purchasing the ice cream the owner had an argument with my sister and after she left he asked: “your sister.. Why she so hungry??” to which I replied:” She isn’t hungry, she just ate.” He looked rather puzzled.
Later, I realised, he meant angry..

Lastly , was our stay in Dar es Salaam, which we used to explore the city and a few more markets.

I got to buy a few more boxes of Kilimanjaro tea and try their chicken “sekela” ( Chicken Tikka).

Overall I had an interesting time and would love to go back and visit a country rich in culture, friendliness, free Wi-fi , hospitality and amazing tea!
I would recommend you all to visit this amazing country, but not during the summer months, as we went in Winter and had warm weather with a fair amount of mosquitos.

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