Zanzibar's Stone Town is situated on the West Coast of the island and is the port of arrival for all visitors from the mainland. The name "Stone Town" has a long and complicated history, the details of which escape me at present - though I believe that Lieberman is still chasing after them.Zanzibar Street

Our hotel, the Annex Malindi, is situated in Stone Town. The town is most often cacophonous; street-crossing is a gamble (to work out what is street and what is not is all part of the fun); the buildings are historic, architecturally beautiful and falling apart; electric and laundry cables are strung and hang chaotically between and around the structures and narrow streets; but above all else the town and its people are astoundingly welcoming and friendly. The standard greeting, from kids to street vendors to those relaxing in the heat of the hot & hungry Ramadan sun, to old men and young women, to those who have something to gain by being so over-friendly, and those who don't, is a rhythmic "Jambo!". The greeting is so catchy that we are all popping it automatically by the second or third day; when I arrive in Johannesburg after our trip, I have to consciously hold back my desire to "Jambo!" everyone in sight.

Even though the heat & humidity are almost unbearable during the day, we enjoy many hours taking in the textures and flavours of the city streets, often forgetting about the darting Vespa's that appear suddenly sometimes with a hoot or two'sThe Day WILL come! warning, and often without; attempting to avoid the pretty numerous tourist shops [although Lieberman often falls into the trap] and finding the quirks and quirky people that make the place so interesting and alive. "THE DAY WILL COME" was certainly our most unusual and off-the-wall (ha!) find, and the patterns and colours you see here (above) and in Greg's Green Wall (below right) are part of the enchantment that Zanzibar weaves on unwary visitors.
Greg && Green Bumpy Wall But of course, the greatest creativity is reserved for the beautifully carved Zanzibar doors, some expertly polished and adorning the houses & hotels of the wealthy - many old and worn yet still astonishing at the entrances of the ordinary citizens of the island. Quite a number of the doors have been removed and sold to greedy & unscrupulous foreigners who milk the African proletariat of their heritage and possessions to satisfy their Western Capitalist lust for material objects and colonialism by theft.

Anyway, if you'd like to have a closer look at some of the doors, follow me this way! When you're done, follow me to our Illustrated kiSwahili Crash Course.


© All Text & Images Copyright 1998 Steven Kovensky.
Created by Steven Kovensky.