|Meeting the locals on my Spice Tour|
Stone town is a maze of narrow streets weaving in and out of tall buildings built by the Arabs and the Indians many moons ago. The streets have no name and seemingly no direction so if you get lost you would really get lost! The buildings were probably once very grand and beautiful but now they are old and crumbling which I find very appealing. After walking through a bustling market I was shown to the Slave Chambers. Slaves were bought over from Mainland Tanzania and sold in Stone Town, the chambers were appalling, probably the size of a medium bedroom, not high enough to stand up in and would flood twice a day with high tide. There were no toilets and three tiny air slots, in the two rooms were kept up to 75 women and children and 60 men in the second room. They were kept in the chambers for three days with no food or water, waiting for market. On market day they were walked out and tied to the whipping tree- this is exactly what it you would expect from the name. Each person, including the children, were whipped to see how strong they were therefore how much the buyers would pay. The Slave Trade was abolished by Dr Liverstone who built a Church were the market and tree used to be. The church is still there today and inside is a circle on the floor marking where the tree once stood.
|A reminder of the slave trade, the chains are the original ones that were worn|
Our next stop was the Beit El-Ajaib also known as the House of Wonders. On the way we passed the house where Freddie Mercury was born- it was very disappointing, just a normal Stone Town House, I don’t know what I was expecting really. Well the House of Wonders is hilarious- it is so called because it was the tallest house in East Tanzania when it was built, had electricity and a lift- that worked for a mere two weeks! It is now a museum about Tanzanian life and culture; it also has some great views over the rooftops. As we walked to the final destination- to look back over the crystal blue sea towards the mainland we were stopped by a man saying he was the last Sultan of Zanzibar. He invited me to his house which I politely declined; we went to the beauty spot to only be found by him again. After 10 minutes of life stories in broken English he said that he would buy me an ice-cream, however he needed some money! Well at least I can say I have spoken to the last Sultan of Zanzibar who was a slightly mad, charming old man with an addiction to ice cream! It was time to return to the airport, I bought myself an ice cream as he had put the idea in my head. However, when I open it I discovered it had chocolate on the top (remember I’m not eating chocolate) so I had to eat the thing upside down making a complete mess and throw the bottom (or top) half away, the small child sat opposite watched me with great fascination. Rather excitingly on the way back the pilot asked if anyone wanted to sit at the front of the plane with him- I was the only one who volunteered- this may not be true but everyone else was toooooo slow- muhahahaha! It was great seeing all the cockpit bits and looking out the front window during landing. What a perfect day!