Full Moon in Zanzibar

For dinner we found a restaurant with traditional Zanzibari food: curries, masala, stewed vegetables, chapati, goat, chicken, fragrant rice, a type of maize porridge, and plantains. It was dirt cheap. For chicken, a bowl of spinach, rice, a dab of masala, and a Coke, I paid 6000 Tanzanian shillings, or $3.75

Even though we were all full, we headed to Fordani market to check out the street food. The sun was still setting and I could see the legions of flies swarming around the tables with falafel balls and meat and seafood skewers. The octopus skewers looked a little freaky and the falafel balls were like something out of a sci-fi movie. They were huge! We didn’t touch any of the food – I think a lot of us still had food poisoning in the back of our minds after the rat extravaganza in the restaurant in Dar. But I had a glass of fresh sugar cane juice. A man cranked the sugar cane stalks through a little machine that crushed them, allowing the juice to run down into a bowl with a huge chunk of ice. After the stalks were cracked open, the man put sliced limes and pieces of fresh ginger inside before running them through the machine a few more times, making the juice zesty and refreshing. A small glass was 500 shillings, or roughly 30 US cents.
The market was right next to the ocean and the docks. Local boys were clustered around the stone ledge and were taking turns leaping, jumping, and flipping into the water below in their clothes.
As the sun set, we returned to our hostel and got a cab to the full moon party up north. The drive took longer than expected, but it was nice seeing different parts of the island. The party was hosted at Kendwa Rocks, a sprawling resort/hostel.
Kendwa was definitely cool, but the party was not what I expected it to be. I was expecting a rave on the beach, but we showed up before 10 and people were only arriving, ordering food, and drinking. There were dancers performing on the outdoor stage while a bunch of tourists looked on. I had a suspicious feeling that the dance was a faux traditional African dance and  the performances remind me of the uncomfortable voyeuristic tourism I had felt at Baharutshe cultural village in Botswana. However, the performers were definitely talented, although I couldn’t tell how much the kids wanted to performing up on that stage.
We ordered drinks and food and later went for a walk along the beach, which was sectioned off. The performance expanded to include a Michael Jackson impersonator. The party didn’t really get started until about 11:30pm, but we left after midnight because we had a tour for Prison Island scheduled early in the morning. I was glad we had gone to the party, but I had definitely expected something totally different.

 

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