Spice Tour and Hello Stone Town
The taxi trip to Stone Town was uneventful, though we had the driver couple it with a stop for a spice tour. Like the Maasai village earlier in the trip, the spice farm was definitely geared toward tourists. Nonetheless, our tour was fun and informative. The guide was really nice, and showed us a good sampling of the kinds of plants that grow on the island in larger farms. Particularly standing out was the nutmeg nut, which is in a fruit and has an internal red webbing that looks very alien. The other plant of interest was the cinnamon tree, where it's the bark that had flavour, and it is very delicious when fresh and moist. Roots of the cinnamon tree are used by locals as a substitute for eucalyptus, and it really is very similar. They made us leaf hats and fed us fruits, too.
Stone Town itself is a bit of a mixed bag. It has the potential to be glorious with minimal effort in maintenance to the ancient buildings. The metal-studded doorways, in particular, are really unique and very cool. Unfortunately, most of them are rotting away. It is a curious contrast, since all of the cars are constantly being washed and polished, meanwhile their houses are in complete disarray. Utterly bizarre.
We ate lunch at a very authentic Indian restaurant called the Silk Route. The butter chicken was delicious, and if there was more time, I would definitely be back.
Our stay with the Clove Hotel is cheap but the venue has a kind of charm. A rooftop terrace works very well, along with an honour system bar. It's right in the center of the action, just a block from the coast line.
We went for a walk and ended up in a market where the locals shop. The congestion and smells were a little too much, especially by the meat and fish markets. There is something to be said for the modern supermarket. Maybe it's not for everyone?
We had dinner at a night market. Street meat can be fun; it was nice to try authentic shawarma and locally prepared lobster.