Saturday, July 10, 2010

"you are free"

So we decided to get a ride to Stonetown with the couple that we had gone swimming with the dolphins with since they were also going there for the day. We were staying at Hotel Kiponda, which is right in the heart of Stonetown. Though the main part of the town is so small that everywhere is really in the heart. It was a really neat and ‘old world’ sort of town. Most of the roads through the town are too small to have cars on so its either walking, biking, or scooter as a means of transportation. When we got there we dropped off the couple at Africa House (a tourist attraction there) and we kept going towards our hotel so we could check in. We met a man there that knew our driver and offered to give us a tour of the town. We hadn’t really anticipated doing any tours, mostly because we didn’t want to pay for it, but he said it would be 15,000 for a few hours of a tour which was less than $15 so we thought it was a good deal and we knew pretty much nothing of the history of the town. We were really hungry for lunch though and so we dropped our bags off and our guide, Alli, took us to a local place to eat. I know I have mentioned before how much I enjoy food but I think I had the best meal of my life at this lunch place. They have dishes called biriani and you can get vegetable, chicken, or beef. I just got the vegetables and it was so tasty! I have decided that my absolute favorite food is Indian food. I say that knowing that many other countries also use the same names and they taste pretty much the same but for sake of most people knowing the kind of food I’m talking about I will leave it to Indian. From there we started our tour of the town. Given the name, it is pretty obvious to say that most all the buildings are made out of stone. Also, the town is known for their intricate wood doors on many of the buildings. The square shaped doors are from Arabic influence while the round doors are from Indian influence. We walked around for pretty much the entire day with our guides (we had 2 of them). We went to the spice market (where I bought Ash some spices) and we also saw the meat and fish markets (that were so smelly and gross). We also went to see the old slave market site and the Anglican church that was built right next to it. We wanted to watch the sunset and the best place for that was the bar on the roof of the Africa House so we went up there and had a drink and relaxed and watched took lots of pictures of the sunset. Then we went and ate dinner and walked around for a bit afterwards. We were both so tired from getting up so early for the dolphins that we went to bed shortly after. The following day we got up and ate breakfast on the rooftop of our hotel. Then we went and met our guides for day 2 of our touring. We went to the ferry and bought our tickets to Dar for later that day and then we went off on our tour. We went and saw the House of Wonders, the old fort, Tippu Tip’s house, the Mercury house, and the old British Consulate. Ater all that walking around we stopped for lunch and our guides left us for a few hours when they were going to come back and help us with our bags to the ferry. Rachel and I decided that we would walk around by ourselves and try to find the antique store that we went to the day before. All we had was the street name of where the store was located but no store name or street number. That is completely reminiscent of all places in Stone Town. After MUCH walking in circles we did finally find the place and were able to do some more shopping (not that we needed to). After that we tried to find our way back to the hotel to get our bags and we pretty much got incredibly lost and had to ask someone to tell us the way, except that since there are no streets and there are no turns that make sense we ended up having to get someone to show us the way. It was a fun day nonetheless and if we had more time it would have been nice to just walk around lost for a while. We made it back to the hotel and had our guides help us with our incredibly heavy bags (I think they were probably 50 lbs. each, and we had 2 each. We said our good-byes (this part of the trip was full of nothing but good-byes) and we waited to board the ferry.

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