Yesterday, we flew from the Kilimanjaro airport to ZANZIBAR, the spice island! Just the name Zanzibar conjures up so many romantic connotations, and so far, I'm finding that they're pretty well-founded. This place has the architecture and music of Arabia and clothing and people from Africa, the Middle East, and India. Last night, we walked along the waterfront and saw an Indian music video being filmed, very fresh fish and octopus being sold in a market, a Muslim man praying on the beach at sunset, and traditional dhow sailboats skimming across the water as the red sun illuminated the western sky. I'm not exaggerating - it really is that magical. Of course, it still has dirty streets and run-down buildings like mainland Africa, but there's a sense of charm and history here that masks the ugly and makes it exotic and vibrant. We met up with Victoria and Jenny, two girls from my climb who are staying at the fanciest place in town, and had sundowners and dinner while listening to Middle Eastern music and watching some local people play in the surf. While our hotel wasn't quite as nice, it's still beautiful, and I'm happy to have any sense of luxury after living in a tent for 9 days.
Today, we head for Matemwe and scuba diving on the northeast coast of the island! We'll be back in Stone Town (where we are now) for a few days to wander the streets and go to the Festival of the Dhow Countries, an annual event that celebrates Zanzibar's unique history of trading between Africa, the Middle East, and India by joining together these cultures for a big party of music, art, dance, a film festival, and more!