Monday, July 16, 2007

New favorite African Destination

Zanzibar. Off the coast of Tanzania. On the east coast of Africa. Known as the Spice Islands.

Sorry Fitena, you are not here to defend Mauritius, which has held the title of best African destination for a looooong time. But you are being bumped.

Zanzibar.
When most Americans hear the word Zanzibar, they think Spice Island, that tropical paradise east of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.
Oh they did? I thought they thought of a fictional place made up somewhere...That's what I thought.
As a matter of fact, you can walk down the streets and alleys of Stone Town, a world heritage site, and feel as if you're in an old movie. Zanzibar is an island only 50 miles long
Am I the only person who wants my life to resemble The Year of Living Dangerously? Why these remote beautiful places that no one knows about burn in my heart. And especially now, when my list of things to do include buy a decent stroller or figure out what's for dinner or weed the yard, Zanzibar looks like the place my daydreams are looking for. For awhile anyway...

And, of course, miles and miles of the best beaches in this part of the world. The majority are along the East Coast, where the quaint fishing villages dot the landscape. The big secret hasn't been told to the major resorts. You'll find one or two along this Island paradise.


There are more than 30 beaches in Zanzibar with some of them so isolated, time has literally stood still. Waves lapping these brilliant shores for eons have hewn such an artistic pattern of natural beauty, we're kind of glad they're not that close to civilization.


I am waiting for the part where they tell you that the airfare costs something like 3000 roundtrip. (no wait! New York to Tanzania is only $2141! Wouldn't it be nice if money were no object?)

No big resorts here. No paved roads probably either. Just total escape, to what I consider to be real life. Life reduced to what's to eat, and how will we pass the time. Not forever, mind you, just maybe 3 weeks of the year. To remember that life isn't just a list of things to do.


Yeah, I really enjoyed Hawaii. And Spain is a dream. I never really got to see the beaches of Mexico, and Ecuador I love because of so much more than its beaches. But Zanzibar... well it sounds like another planet I guess.



This isn't the first time I have become obsessed with remote places. In about 2000 I investigated as many atolls and archipelagos that were basically people-less as I could find. The idea of a place with no people. No nothing. I know that after the novelty wore off, I would be ready for a cup of joe, but I was okay just thinking about it.


So but Zanzibar jut has the right amount of everything it seems...I must admit here that as I see this place the laziest, richest and most sultry samba of Celso Fonseca drifts through my mind. It makes me happy to know that these places just exist, even if I can't be there now...

2 comments:

ms. whatsit said...

Well, you've sold me on wanting to go there too. Perhaps when the kids move.

My parents go on long 4-6 week vacations to remote places every year. I wonder if they've ever considered Zanzibar. ('Tis a fun word to say)

Library Lady said...

You have reminded me of one of my favorite stories by storyteller Bill Harley. It's called "Zanzibar" and is all about how he didn't do a report on Zanzibar in 6th grade, faked it and got an A!

I am now somehow hearing Bill singing "Zanzibar, Zanzibar,Zanzibar is very far, you can't get there in a car...".
I even found a clip of Bill singing it at http://www.billharley.com/Product_Level3.asp?ProductID=3