Zanzibar

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We are pinching ourselves today.  Really?  Are we really here?

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We woke up early this morning to join the ordered chaos of the ferry terminal, where we were quickly surrounded by hopeful porters wanting to carry our suitcases, and a long line of passengers emanating all kinds of sounds a smells.  The shoreline was smothered in fishing boats delivering the day’s early morning catch.  Not like the ferry boats back home in Seattle!

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We were swept aboard with the others, a mix of families, kids, and cool-looking young people wearing Ray Bans and fashionable headscarves.  I think I was the only woman with her legs showing.  Mike, Becca, Erik, and the boys settled into some comfy chairs in the lower air-conditioned cabin, where they were able to nap, eat cashews, and watch a distorted Tom and Jerry cartoon.  I immediately found the roof deck, fresh air being my best friend on what promised to be an adventure in both culture and motion sickness.  No chundering over the side of the boat for me!  At least not if I can help it!  Mike saw a few people losing their cashews over the side on the lower deck, but all the be-robed ladies eating samosas next me on the upper deck kept their samosas for the duration of the journey.  Also, the view was better!

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Two hours and 67 miles of azure blue water later, we reached the island of Zanzibar.  It was hot and loud, and required another 30 minutes of muddling through chaos to disembark and go through immigration, but it was totally worth it!  I love all the humanity clashing together and seeing the randomness that makes our world and our individual parts in it so interesting.

We weren’t expecting Zanzibar to feel so Middle Eastern, even more so than Azerbaijan.  Zanzibar Island is 90% Muslim and the culture was evident everywhere, not just because I was the only woman with her legs showing, but because of the spice trade, the mosques, and the narrow-winding-street style of architecture seen in the capitol city of Stone Town.  It was all blended together, a sort Africa meets India meets the Middle East.

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We actually thought it was so cool that we were moved to buy our first piece of art!

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Becca knew the artist, pictured with us here.  She and Erik each bought a painting too!

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The artist is a Zanzibar native whose art was on display at a restaurant called Six Degrees, where we were had dinner one night.  It’s popular here in Africa to name trendy restaurants after their latitude.  Is that popular in the U.S. too?  We have a Latitude 15 in Lusaka, and a Latitude 13 in Malawi.  It’s nice once in a while to go to a trendy, modern restaurant, where we can sit on a rooftop deck and celebrate art purchases with a round of cold, Moscow Mules.

Who do we think we are, anyway??

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We decided to buy the painting because we loved the colors and the shape of the people and streets, which reminded us of past trips to Morocco, Baku, and now Tanzania.  Not to mention it will also always remind us of our time in Zambia and this great trip with our friends.  We even managed to remember it during 7 plane changes before finally getting back home.  The art made it!  A sign that this trip is off to a pretty good start!

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