Thursday, 20 June 2013

Zanzibar Part3 - When I was in paradise!

Τζαμπιάνι, Ανατολική Ακτή, τόπος βγαλμένος από καρτ-ποστάλ!
(roll down to read this post in english)
Jambiani's coast at low tide.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Zanzibar (Part 2) - The Former Slave Market

(κατέβα στο τέλος του αγγλικού κειμένου, για να το διαβάσεις στα ελληνικά)

A depressing monument and a thoughtful tour.

One of the next days, during one of my timeless wanderings through the narrow alleys of Stone Town (Zanzibar Town’ s old city), I came in front of a colonial style building, with a big sign in front of it…

Besides the main entrance was an office, where I bought a ticket which included a guided tour through the “slaves’ chambers”…
My guide, Mohamed, gave me a complete story of what was going on, in his –and the neighboring- countries, over the last five centuries.
Here is a short resume, enriched with some additional info which came out of a quick research on the net:
The Portuguese first explored the west coast of Africa trading largely in gold. They began the transatlantic slave trade when they exported 235 Africans from present day Senegal in 1444. The British joined in the trade in African people some years after (with John Hawkins’ expeditions from 1564). The Spanish were the first Europeans to use enslaved Africans in the New World on islands such as Cuba and Hispaniola. The first enslaved Africans arrived in Hispaniola in 1501.
Sculpture dedicated to the memory of the Slave Trade
At the East Coast, slaves were from the earliest times one of the many 'commodities' exported from Africa to Arabia, Persia, India and beyond. In the 18th century the demand increased considerably and Arab trading caravans penetrated mainland Africa in search of suitable slaves who would be sold in the infamous market of Zanzibar Town. The one I was presently visiting.

In the interior, the Arab traders would often take advantage of local rivalries and encourage powerful African tribes to capture their enemies and sell them into slavery. In this way, men, women and children were exchanged for beads, corn or lengths of cloth. When the Arab traders had gathered enough slaves, sometimes up to a thousand, they returned to the coast. Although the Koran forbade cruelty to slaves, this was frequently ignored on the long journey to Zanzibar:

Monday, 3 June 2013

ZANZIBAR (Part 1)

(Για να διαβάσεις αυτό το άρθρο στα ελληνικά, πήγαινε στο τέλος...) 

Hello everybody! This is me, still alive, still in one piece, calling from Tanzania, East Africa. I am doing well, and trying to get adjusted to this different world and conceive its basic data. Actually, this is not entirely new to me, as this is my second time in this part of the continent. But the first one was a long time ago, back to ‘99. It was a 3-week journey through Kenya (starting from Mombasa) and going through Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya again. That experience is what brings me back here again. I have always been remembering of it as an amazing dream. I still remember myself being fascinated. I remember saying that in Africa I saw a “different” sky, I smelled (yet) unknown smellings. I remember saying that it felt like stepping on human kind’ s birthplace. That journey created a unique impression to me, I always felt the place calling me back, until now I was not ready to follow (alone) the call, but now I felt ready!

Landed in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on Wednesday, 22 of May. After two air flights of a total eight-hour duration and a six-hour transit stay in Cairo – thankfully, Christos, my buddy who resides the city, came along with a big bottle of fresh banana & strawberry juice and a big portion of cochary, and stayed with me for most of the time. I landed in Dar at 06.00am, got a taxi to the port and some local money from an ATM to pay for it. The ride took more than an one hour and a half for less than 15 Km. The first huge load of African images. Everyone going to work, on foot, by car, taxi, or bicycle. Many different types of bicycles. Some of them made to be used by the many handicaps. Long lines of huge trees were running both sides of the main road, all the way. Those trees that I have only seen in Africa; 6 or 7 or even more times bigger, in every dimension, than those my eyes are familiar with.
Made it to the port, got a ferry ticket, waited for almost an hour, got in the ferry, and after a while…fell asleep on a chair, exhausted.

Close to the port of Dar

Sailing to Zanzi

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