Today we are leaving Nungwi Beach to go to Stone Town. We are really sad and aren’t ready to leave the beach yet!
We started by doing a spice tour which was really cool. Our guide took us around the forest and showed us spices in their natural form: nutmeg, cinnamon (the queen spice), clove (the king spice which is heavily exported), ginger, vanilla, and others.
One of my favorites was cinnamon. They use all parts of the plant which is why it is the queen spice, but it is the bark that they use to make cinnamon sticks. It smelled so good and tasted very sweet. I also liked nutmeg. You open up the fruit which has the nut inside, and the nut is surrounded by this neat red, rubbery vein. According to the guide, nutmeg is an aphrodisiac for women, which is why there are so many kids in the town.
We saw other plants like the cocoa plant to make chocolate, the coffee plant, and the jack fruit tree. The jack fruit is a spicey fruit, but the inside is delicious and tastes like a cross between a banana and a pineapple. They don’t fall down the tree on their own, so you have to climb up the tree to pick them. If not, they will rot.
While we were walking around, there was a young kid on the top of a very tall tree throwing coconuts down. It looked terrifying because the tree was swaying so much.
Our guide then showed us how they climb the trees. They use a small circular “rope” made from a banana plant, twist it into a figure 8, and then put their feet in the holes. The kid who demonstrated it went about halfway up the tree, no problem, just hopping up with his feet on the rope. They let Charlie try it. He did pretty good, although his foot did start bleeding after.
Next, some of the kids made us a woven king’s hat, queen’s hat, necklace, tie, purse, and carrier for our spices.
They also showed us a cool fruit that women used to use for lipstick. You open up the plant, and there are these red/orange bubbles that you can pop and use as lipstick, face paint, or hair dye. They also use it to dye curry powder red.
Lastly, we sat down and tried a bunch of fruits: orange, mango, watermelon, passionfruit, jack fruit, and pineapple. Yum! Then we bought some overpriced spices.
After our spice tour, we went to the Tembo Hotel in Stone Town where we will be staying for the night. Our room is right on the beach and is awesome.
We decided to walk around Stone Town a little bit. It was brutally hot, around 90-95 degrees. Since this is a predominantly Muslim area, we respected the culture by covering our shoulders and wearing a long skirt / long pants. We walked over to a place recommended by our guide book that had good milkshakes. We ordered a brownie with ice cream, mango / ginger smoothie, and banana milkshake. Yum!
We continued to walk around Stone Town. The roads are like a maze here and are pretty much defined by the buildings that surround them. Some of them looked like one way streets, but they somehow fit two cars by when needed. We had to walk single file so we didn’t get hit.
We walked through a fish market which was totally disgusting and filled with flies and other gross stuff. We bought some much cheaper spices at the market.
Next, we got ice cream from an ice cream bicycle which was also delicious. Charlie wanted to look for a monument that said the distances from here to other places around the world. We almost walked right by it, it was so small. Haha. Fail.
Next, we went for a swim in the hotel pool to cool off and then relaxed on the beach which was very nice.
At around 5:30pm, we headed over to a restaurant for dinner. Charlie tried a new beer called Ndovu which means elephant. We were getting ready to order food when the waiter told us they don’t start serving dinner until 7pm, so we could only get pizza right now. We ordered a tropical pizza, and then the waiter told us the chef “does not have the food to make pizza”, so we’d have to wait until 7 for dinner. We promptly left and headed back to the hotel.
I ended up getting a vegetable curry at the hotel while Charlie got a tuna salad. I had a virgin pina colada since they don’t sell alcohol here, and Charlie had some sort of turmeric drink. While eating dinner, we watched a band play music and make a video while some local kids were doing gymnastics on a bouncy tire.
Charlie wanted to get his dinner over by a nearby park where a bunch of vendors set up food stands. There were a lot of different types of kabobs, sugarcane juice (we got to watch them press it), pizzas, etc. As usual, we got heckled by many vendors. Charlie ended up getting a few kabobs (chicken and tuna), chili, and salad. He said the chicken kabobs had bones in them and were not very good. There were lots of feral cats around begging for food. After that, we got a chocolate banana pizza for 2000 shillings (a little over $1), which was not very good.
After that, we went back to the hotel to shower and relax.
Tomorrow we are getting a tour of Stone Town. It should be fun, but I think I might rather be on the beach.