Z is for Zanzibar (and also for Thank Z Lord I am finally done with the alphabet!!)
I think that Zanzibar has to to be the more obscure place I've ever visited. I mean, I thought I knew poverty, I thought I knew way-out-there, but for real...this was way-the-frizz-out-there. Not that I didn't like Z'bar, it's just...well, I don't know, it evoked a different feeling than any other place I've been in the world. A little wilder, a little more more intense, a little more gritty. But, god the beauty. The mad beauty.
The whole damn place just felt ancient. And poor beyond belief. But, the nicest smiles you've ever seen and I still think about going to a spice farm on the island and how blown away I was seeing actual spices at their root. All on one huge farm in the jungle. In fact, I still think about loads from Zanzibar.
I still think about the fantastic minty mojito I slung back at Mercury's on the beach after almost having a heat stroke in the dusty hidden alleys of Stonetown.
I still think about meeting this kid who was volunteering in Africa for the Peace Corp and loving life and then, when he heard what I did (worked in film and TV), he thought that was the coolest thing ever (and I thought what he did was the coolest thing ever). The grass is always greener, I guess.
I still think about snorkeling on a tiny, tiny sandbar in the middle of the ocean. And, being surrounded by huge jellyfish and almost losing my shit.
I still think about tasting my first beer in forever---it was a Kilimanjaro and it was so big, and so cold. I drank it with grilled lobster that the boat crew whipped up on the beach.
I still think about my buddy Abdi, a charming young kid who followed me around Stonetown (he showed me all the truly local spots to get amazing food) til we became best of buds (we still keep in touch to this day).
I still think about the amazing slash of stars across the sky every night that I could see from my little patio at my hotel.
I still think of the icy cold rose-water infused washcloth I was handed the second I got off my sweltering little hopper flight from S. Africa.
I still think about sailing on a vessel that was used for slave trade hundreds of years ago...and noticing that the boom and the mast were made of tree branches. Big ass trees.
I guess I still think about Zanzibar all the time. Will I ever return? Dunno. But, these things...these things, they stay with you forever--and you can remember them with great clarity. That is the whole point of travel for me--the more out there, the fonder the memory. The rougher the terrain, the grander the tale.