I wanted to share a sort of photo diary of our trip to Tanzania this winter. (Apologies for the quality of some of these pictures – all were taken from our really old cell phones!)
As soon as we got married last October, Aly and I knew the first trip we needed to take was to go see his family in Africa. So off we went, right after Christmas, to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Here we are at Oyster Bay, a seaside lot where street vendors offered fresh mishkaki (tiny pieces of marinated beef grilled over hot coals), fried plantains, mogo (fried cassava chips) topped with kachumbari (a spin off of Mexican pico de gallo or Indian kachumber but with added cabbage) , and kitale (a hollowed out young coconut filled with mashed potato and topped with shredded coconut and pilli pilli – pickled habanero) – YUM.
I really loved getting to see where Aly’s family came from and what their lives were like, living in Dar nearly 30 years ago. This is the street where Aly’s grandparents lived and worked and where his father grew up.
Our second day there set the tone for the amazing trip. Our cousins and their friends took us boating. We stopped at a sandbank in the middle of the ocean – a sort of mini island that could only be seen at low tide at about 35 feet across, but sunk underwater as soon as high tide hit. Imagine standing on a small piece of sand with crystal clear water as far as the eye can see – everywhere you look. Just you literally standing on water, warm sun and cool breeze at your back, watching your crazy friend swim back from the yacht with a bottle of champagne. Simply blissful. There are no pictures to describe this experience.
Most of our two weeks there were spent hanging out with family, celebrating New Years with them at Akemi, a revolving tower restaurant (like Dallas’s Reunion tower) owned by their good friend Priya, and getting to see where and how they lived and worked.
The last few days we were whisked off to the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar, the home of Freddie Mercury, is the original Spice Island, growing cinnamon, cloves, tea, ginger, and all kinds of curry spices: turmeric, paprika, cardamon, and fenugreek amongst others. We spent a day in the capitol of Stonetown, getting a tour of the narrow streets by a real cool guy named Hadi.
Zanzibar is a sort of melting pot, with cultural influences from all over the world due to the spice and slave trade. Slaves were imported from India and Pakistan. Merchant flocked from east Asia and Persia. Because of this there is a great Indian and Arabian influence on the architecture and food which can be recognized most prominently on the Zanzibari doors. The first is of Indian influence. The second of Arabic.
We even got to see the oldest Jamatkhana (Ismaili Muslim house of prayer) in the world, a real blessing.
Some more views of Stonetown’s streets and slave tour:
Before we went to the bazaar/market, we stopped for some sugarcane juice!
The scent of the bazaar was irresistible with all those spices!
We also checked out the fish market where fisherman bartered what they had caught that morning.
We ended our Zanzibar excursion by having lunch at this gorgeous seafood restaurant in the middle of the ocean called The Rock. Luckily it was low tide then so we could walk up to it, otherwise we’d have had to take a dhow boat!
This trip was just mind-blowing. I loved exploring the beautiful Tanzanian culture that Aly comes from and spending time with my amazing new family. I hope you enjoyed seeing it – I know I can’t wait to go back!
Peace and joy,