Monday, April 25, 2011

jambiani easter, zanzibar...

there was no sign of easter in zanzibar....or any mention of that hippy revolutionary called jesus, come to think of it. no. i suspect this is what happened to the easter bunny on arriving . . . (we know what happened to jesus).....hence there were no eggs to be found....but we got to lick the empty nutella jar clean instead, with our fingers...before breakfast.

this is generally what happens to most people when you head to the zanzibari coast....it is a soporific sort of place. but i did read 5 books in 4 days. i was meant to re read Julius Caeser, which i love by the by but found too many other ones in the way. the only book i had to stop half way through was John Peel's....i didn't know who he was but came to the personal conclusion that i didn't really like him much so had to stop. the best book by far was The Other Side Of You by Salley Vickers. the little house where we were staying had the best books ever.... shelves crammed full of delicacies...like in a chocolate shop or something.

it's rainy season, not so much here on the hill but definitely in zanzibar. the monsoon squalls came in every two hours or so. it was glorious.

it didn't stop us wallowing about in the silky sea. the zanzibari sea is so warm and soft. you can float about for hours. in the sun. in the rain. who cares. it's bliss.

every lunch time we'd wander up the beach to a little hotel called The Blue Oyster for pizza and the obligatory two glasses of white wine. me. not the kids. you sit up on the blue verandah and sip and take in this view...

watching the sea weed farmers comin' in with the tide and their harvests...


after lunch, we'd stroll home, stopping to chat to the fishermen....boat loads of big fish....
me: wow. where did you catch all these?
fisherman: in the sea.....?

we'd pop into the Star Fish, a little rasta bar, and play an appalling game of pool....i made the triumphant start of completely missing the triangle of balls and sinking the white ball. first hit. the rastas were very kind and didn't laugh or roll their eyes but slept, rather like the easter bunny at the top of this page. we'd spend the rest of the time floating about in the high tide...then around five rubin would stroll up the beach for a game of footie with the team from jambiani.


there were three teams. whenever one team scored, the loser team would sit out and the next team would step in. he was invited to play in a tournament on the friday with his team but we were leaving, much to his chagrin.


after footie he'd sit on the old coral wall amongst the crumbling ruins from a long time ago, chillin'...taking in the world. i would love to have known what he was thinking or talking about....maybe nothing... just friends after a game of footie...

we did some time in stone town, but only after visiting zala park, a snake park where we were taken around by a young fella called ramadan. the snakes are kept in old round coral pits under coconut palms with pretty hibiscus plants in the middle. the first snake he grabbed to show us is called a Vine Snake, highly venomous. after the ethan incident, we all leaped back agog and said "no no no! don't!" he smiled and said "its fine! he only bites if you squeeze him. he has bitten me before. actually twice. but i just cut the fangs out, put some dawa (local medicine) and drank milk and i was fine!" after that, we approached the other pits very cautiously, not quite knowing what to expect....there were three green mambas in one...they are, as we know, one of the most poisonous of snakes, like its counterpart, the black mamba, but not quite as aggressive. ramadan happily told us he was bitten by one of these too....! he said he was a lot sicker with this bite than from the vine snake....he said he vomitted a lot, his legs could no longer work, he walked like an old man, shuffling along. drinking milk didn't help much either. he was soon taken to a clinic in stone town. and he survives to tell the tale.

zanzibar drips with green mambas. we found this one en route, dead on the road. juma was made to screech on brakes so we could all hop out and take a look.. if you look carefully you can see its fangs....the green mamba is a lovely iredescent green, especially against the grey of the tarmac. . . and dead. the other part of its body was sort of writhing on the road, as snakes do....


stone town was as taudry and beautiful as ever in the monsoon rain. and quiet. not as many tourists. although there were a few. there was The Naked Man. so there we were, sipping our sundowners on the corniche, where everyone gathers as the sun sets. young boys playing foot ball on the beach, chipati sellers, the young 'uns diving off the jetty, the ferry being loaded for its trip to the mainland...

and along comes this very strange man. tatoos, a cold hard mad look in his eyes. we imagined he was a mercenary or someone recently out of jail or someone high on heroine and alcohol. he staggers to the front and drops his pants, takes his shirt off and swaggers stark bollock naked into the sea for a swim. the uproar was immense. zanzibar is strictly muslim. our little family fled as he stepped out the sea, shaking the sea off his willy....we're not sure what happened next....!? we strolled through the zanzibari twilight, admiring lattice white verandahs, which made me think of dylan's "up on the white veranda, she wears a neck tie and a panama hat..."

...losing ourselves in the higgeldy piggeldy streets, perusing the sonaras (goldsmiths), singing in the old persian baths (the accoustics in that museum are incredible, angelic soaring sounds)...

eating italian ice creams and waiting patiently for the rain to stop....



we ended up in an indian restaurant, alight with strange bright murals depicting rubinson crusoe island scenes, walls painted in creepers and hibiscus plants with a congolese juju mask in one corner, old treasure chests and indian puppets glinting in dark corners....

so yes, oh bestests, we think we've done the right thing, (and our hearts are bursting with it), by buying that little shamba in jambiani under the coconut palms, just near the old arab tomb ruin, where we will build a little swahili beach house...sweet sweet times ahead i reckon, oh yeah...oh yeah...
sometimes dreams do come true....

toodely toot oh bestests..bisous X.X.X. zanzibari sunkissed, frangipani scented full ones on yer lips. there. x j












13 comments:

Val said...

you are a dream spinner for sure Janelle; so great to hear about your zanzibar trip, and congrats on the property. Send greets to Kim and his Mum :) your neighbours-to-be.

Elizabeth said...

Except the green mamba (!) this looks bliss indeed.
Robert is all set to join you immediately!

Mud in the City said...

You've bought a little piece of paradise?? How exciting! I am definitely coming to visit!

A million miles away, but you have brought it so close. Lovely.

Red Dirt Lattes said...

Wow! My husband and I were just talking about where we'd like to live next in Africa and while I am sure there are no postings on the island, I am going to be begging him to get us as close as he can. I thought Lamu was paradise, but I was wrong. I want to jump inside your amazing photos! Oh, how I want to be on that beach...

Robyn said...

wow-a place of your own in zanzibar. bliss!

Love the photos -the colours of the sky are magical.

Lori ann said...

wow! so awesome, all your photos, amazing. i love the pic of rubin with his football friends, and that ocean/sky, good grief.

do you wear head covers too, you and the wee gabrielle?

congratulations on a dream come true.
xxxx

Barbara said...

Hongera on the shamba! These photos are gorgeous, I loved this whole post.

Amanda said...

that shot of the sea is the most perfect parfait ever concocted.

Amanda said...

damn blogger - wanted to also add if i knew better i'd think you were in new orleans from that latticed balcony.

what a magical place, even with the mambas...

Celeste said...

So dreamy Janelle, you writing is magical. Congrats on purchasing the property, how perfect for you all - a little piece of paradise - enjoy xxx

Mark said...

Soporific: A new word to describe my life's pursuit.
The Other Side Of You: A new book for the journey.
Zanzibar: An absolute destination.

Freddie Mercury - RIP.

M

Reluctant Memsahib said...

beautiful, beautiful sea scapes, lovely image of veiled gaby, not so of decapitated mamba. and a lovely story. how exciting to have secured your own little bit of the island. x

Mamatembo said...

Beautiful pix. I like your blog by the way.