Spice Island

Jambo!  Jambo Bwana!  That’s the song this guy was singing as he danced his way 60 feet up this coconut tree.

“We don’t use monkeys to climb trees, we do it ourselves!


Zanzibar is a tropical island, 6 degrees from the equator, famous for fruit, coconuts (is that a fruit?) and spices.  They call themselves one of the Spice Islands.  Isn’t there a brand of spices called that in the U.S.?  Well, we are here!  Tours are offered of the spice plantations, so we signed up to spend a few hours learning about why our food tastes so much better than food from England.  Although we still ask ourselves, if England had access to all of these islands and spices, why does their food still taste so bad?  It remains a great mystery…

Zanzibar is also is a huge market for raffia.  Down on the ground, the men were getting some handmade neckties.



And hats!



Warrior Mike made face paint out of curry paste:





The rain was threatening but held off during our tour of the spice plantation, where in addition to red and yellow curry, we learned about lemongrass, cloves, ginger, pepper, turmeric, vanilla, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Cinnamon is known as the Queen because the entire tree has market value.  The bark of the cinnamon tree is used for powder, the leaves are dried and rolled to make cinnamon sticks, and the roots are scraped to make menthol.  Seriously, the roots smell just like menthol!  They rub it on the chests of sick people during illness, just like Vicks Vapo Rub.




Mike found evidence of a project run by his new employer.  Years ago they came to wipe malaria off the island, and word is, it worked.  Go USAID!



Here is a jackfruit tree.  “When the fruit comes to beat on your head, then you have Hallelujah!”


Jackfruit is an odd fruit, like a cross between a pineapple and a banana, if you can imagine that.  I didn’t really like the texture, it was kind of fibery and dry, but Mike thought it was pretty good.

This was nutmeg.  A nutmeg?  Anyway, it’s the seed that grows inside a fruit, and is a very pretty color.



At the end of the tour, we had a fruit tasting.  Oranges, grapefruit, plantains, mini bananas, jackfruit, watermelon, pineapple, and of course coconut.  We each had a whole coconut!  Okay, so where’s the rum?