To Zanzibar by Motorcar

Probably one of the first times I ever heard about Zanzibar was during Gross Anatomy, my first year of medical school. There is a ton of stuff to memorize, and to help ourselves out we come up with elaborate mneumonics. One was the branches of the facial nerve (I think), remembered by the phrase "To Zanzibar by motorcar!" Now, I can't remember any of the branches, although the first one starts with a T, and then a Z apparently...

All this to say, I was surprised one day to discover that Zanzibar is actually an island off the coast of Tanzania--part of Tanzania, actually--and is only accessible by ferry or air. No car bridges. Huh. Now that we're in Kenya, the exotic locale of Zanzibar is actually quite close, and we spent a relaxing week of vacation there recently (as highlighted in our previous "teaser" blog).
Zanzibar is great because it's got its own history and culture—it was an important trading post for the past 500+ yrs with a lot of Arabic/Middle Eastern influence. We stayed in Stone Town for a few days at the beginning, an area of town that is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its historic old buildings, narrow winding streets, etc. We also went on a spice tour. There are many spices grown on plantations throughout the island, like cinnamon, cloves, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom, etc, in addition to tea and coffee. Got to try coconut water and jackfruit while on the tour.
Breakfast on our hotel's rooftop terrace--you can see the Indian Ocean in the background!
Eric enjoying the coconut

After 2 nights in Stone Town, we traveled to the southeast coast of the island to a small town called Bwejuu with really beautiful beaches. I've never seen such fine, white sand before, and the water was so clear. We stayed for 3 nights at a little family owned “resort” called Robinson's Place, where our room was basically a treehouse. It was really cool! Only 2 walls, and a set of ladder-like stairs to get into our room. We could sit up in bed and look through the treetops directly to the Indian Ocean. Maggie did well, although we had to be really careful when she was walking around, obviously! She liked the sand somewhat, the water not much, and the hammocks and beach chairs a lot. :) There was not much to do except relax, walk along the beach, and eat. It was relaxing and enjoyable...and we also managed to find a geocache while we were there, our first in Africa.
Our room at Robinson's
Not so sure about this water....

Our last night in Zanzibar we drove back to town and enjoyed a boat ride along the coast in a traditional wooden “dhow” boat. Other highlights included fresh and CHEAP seafood—several nights for dinner we walked to the docks and bought freshly grilled skewers of shrimp, tuna, etc for $1-2 each. All in all, a great trip. Stay tuned for week #2 of our vacation, in which we traveled to Burundi...