Stonetown, Zanzibar…

Dhow Leaving Stonetown In The Afternoon

Sitting on the terrace @ The Africa House Hotel and watching the Dhows go in and out… watching the sunset… drinking beers… that’s all well and good for an evening’s relaxation… getting out and exploring Stonetown’s maze of streets is really what it’s all about for me.

Fresh Seafood Waiting To Be Grilled @ Stonetown Night Market

The night market is really fun… there’s about 100 vendors selling a huge variety of grilled/BBQ’d meat on a stick, soup, seafood, Zanzibari crepes and other tasty bits… One thing I’ve learned from the locals… and it makes perfect sense… look for the busiest stall and go there when you want to order some food. There are plenty of stalls with big piles of what looks like good food… but no customers. The guys running the stalls will hail you and try to convince you to buy from them… don’t do it. The local crowd knows who’s best and at those stalls, it’s always packed. You have to fight the crowd & wati your turn, or have a local you are with take you ’round back and help you meet the chef and order that way… That’s how we roll in Stonetown.

Stonetown Night Market

You can see that it’s a totally busy scene… local families, teenagers, kids of all ages, tourists, ex-pats all grabbing their favorite snack, grabbing a seat somewhere in the park to sit, talk and eat. This past weekend was particularly busy as it was The Zanzibar Int’l Film Festival as well… screening films all over Stonetown. The main venue for the festival was the old fortress that you can see in the upper right hand corner of the picture. The headlining musical act for the festival’s closing party was the semi-Hip Hop/Reggae fading star Shaggy. Needless to say… we skipped that. Heh.

Cute Kids @ Stonetown Night Market

There are a lot of really cute kids running around playing, usually with watchful parents or siblings hovering nearby. These two kept coming over giggling… as soon as I pointed the camera at them, they got serious…

Stonetown's Alleys Glow At Night

I love the way the streets and alleys of look… day or night…

Looking Up The Stairway In The Africa House Hotel

The Africa House Hotel’s history is reflected in it’s beautifully restored interior… It just looks amazing… unless/until the power goes off… then it’s hard to see anything. Unfortunately they have no backup generator like the newer hotel across the street…

Toasted Coconut Bread For Breakfast

This was a total joy to have for breakfast each day I was in Stonetown… just toasted coconut bread, a little powdered sugar and butter with a really, really good pot of coffee… Yum!

Sitting On The Stoop After Morning Prayers

After meeting up with Anjam fairly early in the morning we set off to walk around Stonetown and do some shopping… first thing on the agenda was to get Anjam a cup of coffee ’cause he had picked some folks up way north in Nungwi and taken them to the airport before meeting up with us… we stopped in a tiny square where a vendor was selling coffee and pastries and we scored some really strong coffee shorts… as morning prayers had ended, the folks were walking home, or having breakfasts, or in the case of this guy, just watching the world walk by…

It's Busy In The Morning Near The Souk

I had a bunch of errands that I wanted to take care of in Stonetown so we made our way toward the market, and as we got closer, the hustle and bustle picked up… people going to work, shopping, lots of tourists running all over the place, merchants opening up shop, deliveries being made…

The Best Soup Ever...

Remember I said something about getting soup in the night market? Last year when we went to Zanzibar it was the first week of Ramadan and Anjam was fasting during the day. In the evening when he took me to the night market, he brought me to the meat/seafood stand that he recommended and I got a plate of yum… then he went to another stand to get his dinner… that stand made a soup… he let me taste his that night. The soup was essentially a potato based soup with chunks of potato, some veg, lemon juice, chilies, and any meat that you brought to the soup stand from the meat-on-a-stick guys… but the special thing about that soup was the dumplings floating in it… they were felafel. THAT WAS AMAZING. I had never seen falafel used as anything other than what you get in a sandwich or platter with hummus, etc… they were awesome as dumplings, and when I got back to NYC, I asked around at the various restaurants that I would get falafel at… none of them had ever heard of using them in soup… anyway… after our coffee and on our way to the heart of the souk to shop, Anjam took us to a joint that is famous among the locals for making the best of this soup… he ate there as a kid and had lots to say about the “grandmother” who runs the place, makes the felafel herself by grinding the beans, forming them by hand… everything totally homemade… So he got a bowl and I got a bowl and there it is… Her soup is potato based, flavored with turmeric and other spices… there are bits of fried, shaved yucca making up the crunchy bits, the homemade felafel of course, lemon juice and whatnot… let me tell you it was DAMN GOOD. He is going to send me the recipe and it will soon become a staple at home if I can help it…

The Grandma Who Makes The Best Soup Ever...

…after eating the awesome soup, with me ranting about how I want to get the recipe, Anjam brought me inside, past the counter into the back so that I could meet grandmother, the head chef… she was really sweet, thrilled that some tourist was ranting about how awesome her soup was… all smiles… though when I asked, she would not give me… or Anjam her secret recipe… not that I expected her to. We shared a laugh that transcends language and is all about the taste of the awesome homemade good stuff… besides, Anjam is going to email me his actual grandmother’s recipe and we’ll see what we can do at home.

Spices & Incense @ A Herbalist Shop In Stonetown

One of the places that I really wanted to revisit was the Herbalist that Anjam had shared with me last year… he turned me on to some wonderful incense that I have been using and is used around the mideast in homes… essentially oil impregnated wood chips that are burned on charcoal… last time I got some stuff that I really liked… this time we went to a place that was not open that day last year, and was the real spot to be at… I scored an great collection of interesting stuff… and some cooking spices to boot.

Anjam & A Very Serious Customer @ The Herbalist Shop

Here’s Anjam holding the Herbalist’s daughter who was one serious, tough customer to be sure… she took no guff, brooked no dissent.

Narrow Alley That Leads To The Souk In Stonetown

Lots of narrow alleys and passageways throughout Stonetown, and even though you can look at a map of the place, almost none of these connections through/under/around buildings appear anywhere… you just have to know where you’re going, or at least trust that you’ll get there…

Busy Commuter In Stonetown

One of the things that I really like doing is walking around with my camera hanging from my neck and snapping pictures without looking through the viewfinder… I have a clue how wide the lens is zoomed, and where it’s pointing for the most part… I keep my hand guiding the right side of the camera to aim, and my finger on the trigger… I like to take photographs of people in action, and walking around as a foreigner/tourist I figure it’s rude to point my camera at people and take their picture… plus they can get pissed off, or want to get money from you for taking pictures. I figure I shot about 400 pictures the other day walking around. At some point I’ll go through them, edit out the crap ones and put the rest up somewhere, but here’s an example of one of the good ones I got… she’s casually walking towards me, very proper… note the guy in the back who’s getting a haircut.

Shopping For Obscure, Magical Items In Stonetown Antique Shop

The antique/junk stores in Stonetown are just totally out of control… I could have spent all day there poking around the accumulated glorious old stuff… so much… and from everywhere…

One Of Many Antique Sextants

I’ve mentioned that in one room last year I saw piles and piles of sextants… here’s an example of one that was in this store… there were many optical instruments of all types all over the place.

Wow! I Want THAT Thing...

Just look at that awesome thing hanging in the upper right corner of this picture… whatever it is? Actually it weighs about 40lbs and was a bit on the pricy side… but then, looking at this shot… it makes me wish that I had stayed and bargained more… strangely, the folks at this store remembered me from last year… I ended up getting a few great things here… best of all, something that I had thought about last year and punted on… totally lucky that as I was digging around, I found it again… and this time, I got it. As to what the “it” is, well I’ll save that for a later post.

Just Look At All The Stuff...

There’s rooms and rooms and piles and piles of stuff in there… All of it interesting.

This Is The Dude Who Cuts The Deals...

…and then at the end… with a pile of gear you want to buy, after haggling with the clerks working in the various rooms and spaces of the store you end up with this guy… the guy who makes the final deals. Nice enough and ready to smile if you make a good joke… he is one tough negotiator. I figure I got a good deal on the stuff I purchased, and he certainly made me work for it… but that’s what it’s all about in there…

The Kids Are Alright...

And then, after a day of shopping around we go back to ZNZ (Zanzibar Int’l, we board our flight to Dar Es Salaam for a 20 minute flight to the mainland where we switch airplanes and eventually get back to JRO (Kilimanjaro Int’l) by about 7:45pm. I’m back at the hotel by 8:30pm and another great weekend’s adventure in Zanzibar is over… I’ll go back there if I have the chance… Hmmm.

FA Demos Lifejacket Procedure, Precision Air, ATR72, FL432, ZNZ-DAR-JRO 2011-06-26

~ by robotbob on June 27, 2011.

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