Here in Zanzibar, the vendors are much more polite than in Arusha. One guy did try to follow me tonight and I finally told him he’d be arrested if he kept following me to my destination. That stopped him dead in his tracks. I really like Stone Town, it’s a lot like Bologna’s city center, with streets so narrow you can barely fit a Vespa and a pedestrian. I love this place, let me count the ways: Dinner on the beach (sand beneath my feet and everything) while watching the sunset in glorious shades of pink over the Indian Ocean with the Tanzania mainland well beyond the horizon. Sipping clove tea and eating exotic, flavorful food (Arusha cooking is completely devoid of seasonings). Finding out that I can rent a Vespa (and a helmet!) and bop around. I can’t wait! I think they even have some P200E’s. Then, I found a very chic and fabulous store where I could actually use my credit card, and the prices were reasonable. Too bad I have no space in my luggage. Well, ok, so I have enough space for a bias-cut voile djellaba with pink sequins and asymmetrical hem. Perfect for a sexy beach cover-up.
So many adorable kitties running in the streets. One particularly brazen one was posing on the beach, first right next to the water, as if she was defiantly showing how little she feared the water. Some boys ran by and scared her, so she moved further inland. After I finished dinner, I went over and sat with her and pet her. She had the cutest raspy meow, like she’d been smokin’ three packs of cloves a day her whole life. She was very affectionate until she got testy, so I left her, as I don’t have my rabies vaccination. There was a very sad kitten in the middle of a narrow street, totally fearless in a way that made it seem like she was too sick to care. Some shopkeeper tried to sell her to me and I explained to him that in my country cats are free, and besides, this one was a mess. Anyway, it’s nice being surrounded by kitties.
I am seriously contemplating setting up a fair-trade export of some of the products sold in TZ, as I think they would be very popular in the US and really anywhere where there are people who like to buy things that support sustainability. The Maasai make these cool sandals out of old tires, which makes me so happy I could cry. Not only does it employ disadvantaged people, but it saves the planet. People actually BURN tires and other trash here, so the less there is, the better. I want to sell them by the thousands in CA and NY, to start. Also, bottlecaps (no soda cans here, and the bottles are all returned to the plant for re-use) are made into all manner of things, like earrings, and decorative boxes. There was a segment on the news the other night about how someone found a way to melt down the plastic shopping bags that are strewn all over here, and turn them into chic tiles. I also want to open a recycling plant so people can collect recyclable junk and sell it to the plant, like they do in the US. But that’s a project for another time.