Stone Town

Stone Town is the main city of Zanzibar. After our diving experience we did a day of sightseeing in Stone Town. It’s a nice city with indian and sultan influences.

There are two concepts they still have to learn in Stone Town:
– maintenance on buildings
– cleaning of buildings

There are a lot of buildings that looked really, really nice….. 50 to 100 years ago. But now most are dirty, need paint and a good wash. And a lot of buildings are just crumbling down. Too bad.

But still, we had a nice time. In the evening you can enjoy great street food. One street is converted into a food market, where you can buy fresh food (mainly day fresh fish), which is baked directly for you. Remember to first haggle about a price… don’t wait until you get your food, you will then probably pay the cook more than he normally earns the entire day…. that’s the Mzungu (tourist) price 😉

One bad thing (as in whole Tanzania, but even more at Zanzibar) are the Papasi (Kiswahili for ticks). Papasi are all the men hanging around that want to sell you something (t-shirts, taxi rides, paintings, sun glasses, island tours, etc). Their sales strategy is coming up to you and keep talking to you either until you buy something or until it is 100% clear to them you won’t buy anything (just telling them is not enough). And because it looks like there are more Papasi then tourists, you are continuously bothered by them when walking through the city.

So if Stone Town wants to improve the ‘tourist experience’ the city should clean up and restore all buildings and get rid of all the Papasi.

Breathing under water

The last part of or vacation we spend on Zanzibar. Armand booked a bungalow at Jambo Brothers in Nungwi. The bungalow is basic, but on the beach, in the sun, beween the palm trees, bars and restaurants (dining on the beach) and next to the diving school East African Diving. This is our location for diving! Later we will visit Stone Town, maybe rent a moped and ‘race’ around the rest of Zanzibar. But first…… diving!

Armand already has his PADI, so can join a diving tour right away. Louis and me will follow the PADI course.

Day 1 – Theory
The first day of the course is theory, theory, theory. We watched videos and read the theory (sitting at the beach in the sun).

Day 2 – First underwater excercises
Before you can really go diving you need some practise (like clearing a mask full with water, retrieving your air supply when you loose it, etc). All wend well and we also got to swim around a bit and see some fish.

Day 3 – First real dive
This morning again some excercises and another swim around and the final exam.

In the afternoon, our first real dive! With a boot and other divers (including Armand) we wend about 20 minutes into the ocean towards a reef. After the other group left we dived in and wend down, about 16 meters. Everything wend smooth and we also did some excercises again. And we swam around. What a wonderfull world! Coral and fish, both in lot’s of different species and colors. I decided that diving is cool!

Day 4 – Swimming with the fish
Today we did two more dives. With the boat about 20 minutes to the first spot…. if Chris (our teacher) would not have forgotten compasses for one of our excercises. So now the trip took 15 minutes longer. The dives were about 40 minutes and 12 to 16 meters deep. All dives are at reefs, so always lot’s of coral. And that’s where you find the fish. The second dive was specially cool because there where lot’s of schools with yellow, blue and silver-ish fish.

In the end we finished the course and we are now certified open water divers! Big chance I will do this some times more in the future.