Saturday, November 15, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Leslie brought a Red Ribbon purple yam and coconut cake. I was delighted to find out that they have a location in Tempe!
I spent the next day with my friends Christine and Mark. We originally planned to go to the California Academy of Sciences, but since it was newly opened, the line was crazy. We didn't want to see the exhibits 5 people deep, so ditched those plans and headed to ArtSpan. Some of the art was interesting, some disturbing, and some .... well.... I just didn't "get it". All of it was out of my budget.
Friday, September 05, 2008
fresh fruits and vegetables,
meats, and fish. Lots of fish!
Zanzibar is predominantly muslim and most of the women covered their heads, usually with brightly colored scarves. Some of them wore full burkas, including the face mask (ninja).
The Angelican Cathedral is built on top of Zanzibar's former slave market.
As a remembrance of the slave trade, the courtyard of the church contains a memorial sculpture.It contains five figures of various ages, sizes, and ethnicities chained together in a pit.
St. Joseph's Catholic Cathedral
We had fun wandering around the streets of Zanzibar and buying reasonably priced souvenirs. However, there were quite a few men who were rather pesty and difficult to shake. They followed us around, and then demanded money for "helping" us. Several people said hello to me and then demanded a tip for saying hi. It was very draining to think somebody was being friendly only to find out that they were just trying to scam you for money.
On the last night in Stonetown, we headed to the evening food market for dinner (Forodhani Gardens is under renovations, so the market was held behind the House of Wonders). The food was very tasty but Crystal got pick pocketed. From the way she carried on, I think that might have been the highlight of her trip! I've never seen somebody so deliriously happy to be robbed before (she was delighted that they found her "decoy" stash, rather than her real stash).
The next morning, we were off to the beach for the rest of the trip.
At Kitete's restaurant you can relax in a cool breeze and avoid being harassed by the beach boys.
Many of the hotels hired Maasai men to chase away the beach boys. Some of them were just as annoying, constantly trying to sell things or hanging out and talking with the beach boys. I think the one at our hotel had limited knowledge of English. His conversations with me consisted of greetings and counting to 10 in Kiswahili and his tribal language.
There were also lots of local woman who hung around the hotels trying to sell massages and paint henna on your skin. If you weren't interested in buying something, they weren't interested in talking to you.
Heading home at the end of the day
Early in the morning, the women went out to farm seaweed, and the children collected clams on the beach.
Here are two posing for pictures, before they started begging for pens and sweets.
A local woman is tending to her seaweed farm.
Here is a seaweed farm during low tide.
At the end of the day, it was common to see women carrying the collected seaweed.During low tide, the water would go out about a half kilometer. This widened the beach during this time so you could walk around these rocky outcroppings to the sections of the beach further south. During high tide, you would be tossed against these rocks by the waves. It was nice to take a morning walk to the areas south of the rocky outcroppings. Here I am taking a break from the sun (and the beach boys) at Hakuna Majiwe Lodge. This looked like a nice place to stay, but it was pretty isolated during high tide, and had expensive cokes!
A beautiful starfish left behind by the tide
along with a neat looking shell.
During low tide, these boats just sit on the sand. As soon as the tide comes in, local boys and men all run to them and head out to fish.
Paje Beach had some beautiful spots that should have been a nice place to relax or read a book.
Instead of having a nice relaxing end to my vacation, I left very stressed and crabby. The persistent nature of the beach boys and the general attitude of locals that I experienced (you are white...therefore you are rich...therefore you need to give me anything I want) left a really bad impression of Zanzibar. Too bad. It was such a beautiful looking island and has so much potential, but it isn't someplace that I would ever return to again, nor would I recommend it to anyone.
Friday, August 29, 2008
We stopped at a gas station to fill the tank at Isiolo, the last town on the main road before hitting the gravel road and driving north to Samburu. I got out of the van to stretch while Crystal ran off to find ice cream bars. A man started talking to me about Barack Obama: what a great leader he was; how Kenya was proud of him; what did the US citizens think of him; and if I was planning to vote for him. At first I thought he was just a friendly guy. Then his friend joined him, claiming he was from Obama's home town and was collecting money to support Obama. Then the original guy tried to sell (for $100 USD!!!) a crinkled old newspaper clipping of Obama that he had in his pocket. Crystal returned - without ice cream, but had a coke and popcorn - and suddenly the van was surrounded by people trying to sell us stuff - rusty looking bracelets, knives, newspaper clippings, etc. We were practically slamming doors and windows as people were reaching in the van all around us, shoving their wares at us. It was NOT FUN!!!!
We were also met by elephants grazing right off the side of the road.
It was an exciting feeling being so close to a wild elephant.
After a short drive to observe some of the wildlife, we arrived at Samburu Lodge for lunch and to check in. Throughout our lunch, a Samburu warrior in costume kept "informing" us that the cultural show was about to start. We were hungry, tired from driving, and just wanted to have a relaxing lunch. The last thing we wanted to do was to rush off to a show. We wanted to see it even less when he kept harassing us about it. Several times we had to ask him to let us eat in peace and that we would go to the show if we wanted once we finished lunch.
So the Samburu warrior threw stones at the monkeys close to the lodge and pulled out his slingshot to hit the monkeys closer to the river. Needless to say, we were very upset by this behavior. We could understand keeping the monkeys out of the restaurant and the lobby of the lodge, but not hitting them when they were playing happily in the trees. We were at the point where you couldn't pay us to see the Samburu cultural show if this warrior represented their culture! We skipped the cultural show and went to our room to relax before the afternoon game drive.