CauliQueen of Cape Town

3-05pm

For those of you following a Banting lifestyle, it just got a whole lot easier eating some of the ‘missed’ things in life, like pizzas and wraps. Say hello to Cape Town’s Cauliqueen. Her name is Bronwyn and she has the potential to be the “Ina Paarman” of Banting products. She has started small…first in her kitchen, now in her fully kitted out garage. You order through the blog www.cauliqueen.co.za! I popped in today to take a peak….80kg of cauliflower is processed a day…

CauliflowerIt gets steamed….Cauliflower being steamedAnd then put through a food process…and other ingredients are added…

MashedThe finished product is packaged and labelled…IngredientsIt makes life so much easier. Here are their contact details and what they make…

Cauliqueen productsAnd here is the Cauliqueen herself with her husband…

Bronwyn the Cauliqueen and her husband StevenExcellent!

What a find.

Talking of which, another great Cape Town find is Common Ground Coffee Shop in Rondebosch. Riana and I stopped by on our way to her radiation visit. The view is nothing less than spectacular….

Table MountainBlessed!

Romans 8:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Wow! A dozen words that can make a lifetime of difference. Understand this for a moment:-

You don’t need to go through life burdened down with a load of guilt and shame.

We all have baggage…things we did wrong, either intentionally or unintentionally. Some of those things haunt us. The devil loves to use them against us – he wants us to believe the sins of our past are forever! But they’re not! When you come to Christ, He takes your sin away and throws it as far as the east is from the west. He forgives you. You are now free! No more guilt. No more shame. Jesus has taken it all away. So, today, as you consider your life – consider it in the light of how Jesus sees you. He sees you forgiven. He sees you loved. He sees you beautiful. He sees the finished product and He loves it! He sees you wrapped in His arms. He wants you to feel His warmth today. He’s got you.

You are in His Grip.

God bless you and keep the smile going!

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic….Amazing coffee at Common Ground

Coffee

 

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Zanzibar – Today We Leave – About Costs, Tipping, Tours

6-37am

This is my last blog from Zanzibar! God willing, all going well, next blog will be from my home in Cape Town. I thought I’d give you a bit of an idea of what to expect when you come to Zanzibar and particularly if you decide to choose Ngalawa Beach Village.

We stayed at Ngalawa Beach Village, not Ngalawa Lodge. There is a difference. Ngalawa Beach Village is on Chwaka Bay on the East Coast of Zanzibar. Ngalawa Lodge is, I think,  somewhere north of Stone Town so when I speak of Ngalawa, it is the Beach Village to which I refer. I’m abbreviating it to NBV.

It’s seldom that I stay at a place that makes me feel I want to go to Trip Advisor before we leave and put up a review. But NBV has so impressed me that that’s what I feel like doing. Of course, there are some issues that are inconvenient, like the sporadic internet and tap water is not drinkable, but they are superseded by the God-created beauty of the place and really great management. No wonder it has done so well on Trip Advisor. The value is amazing. The place is incredible peaceful and relaxing. Even the cat thinks so…

CatApart from the majestic surroundings, I think the thing that attracts me the most to NBV is the fact that it is so well run. You feel safe here. You don’t need to tip the staff – you can leave a tip at the end and it will be shared among all. The one night at dinner there was a power outage. There was no murmur among the staff. they just continued what they were doing. There was no panic. About three minutes passed and then the generator kicked in and everything carried on as if nothing had happened. It was very impressive. Everyone has a job and everyone does it. The security guards are known as ‘watchmen’ and have their own unique outfit, reminding us of Maasai warriors!

WatchmanThey are posted at the entrances to the village. If they are not sure who you are, they ask what room you are in before letting you in.

Costs

Basic package:

It’s a fabulous deal including: the flight direct from Johannesburg is on Mango Air. Arrive in Zanzibar, transfer (included) to NBV, 7 nights accommodation, all three meals, plus high tea, all soft drinks and bottled water, tea and coffee included. Cost? Less than R10 000 pps through Mango travel (Google it!) Just as a side note: I have not been paid to say these things. We have paid for our trip. It has just impressed me and I want everyone else to benefit.The owners of this place don’t even know that I’m writing about it!

Tours:

One thing you need to know if you choose NBV is that this resort is about 40 minutes drive from Stone Town and from most other major tourist sites. As a result it is quite expensive to get about the island. I think if you are young and brave, you can jump straight in and try and get into using a dala-dala – the local taxi system, which will be far cheaper than getting a driver and vehicle to transport you to the tours. We used the tour operator: Zanzibar Different – and paid $US120 for two trips into town for 5 of us. Let me tell you, THAT was a good deal! (About $US6 per way). The resort charges $US17-50 per person per way, so if you do use their tours, which I’m told are excellent, just remember that the fares to get to the tours are very high! You are saving a lot on accommodation and food, so you have extra cash to spend on sight-seeing.

You can shop around for tours. We paid n the end R1300 per person for a full day and half of touring, including the cost of getting to and from the resort.  On the second last day of our visit,  my brother, his daughter and her boyfriend, hired a tour guide who approached them when on the beach outside our resort. His name was Miragi and he charged a LOT less ($US35 pp) for the (at least 1 hour) trip to Mnemba and included the boat ride out to where you can snorkel. They were away 5 and a half hours and  no food was included.  The cost was about a third of what you would pay the formal sector, but that would have been the whole day and included all refreshments and a slap-up lunch. This is the budget option! The tour went well and they had a lovely time. If you come to this resort, you can email Miragi in advance : miraji.bape@yahoo.com. That’s the informal sector. I was very concerned about them using Miragi. I got his phone number before they left – I photographed the car they used, including the number plate. At about the time they should be returning, I phoned to make sure they were safe. They were! But do be careful! Not everyone is honest. Don’t pay a deposit to informal ‘tour operators’ who work from ‘tree number 3!’

There was no safety equipment on either of the boat trips our family did, both with Zanzibar Different and with Mirage. Just be aware of that – no life jackets!

Tipping:

Tipping in Zanzibar is a right nuisance! The moment you take one step out of the airport, you are descended upon by baggage grabbing locals. They don’t ask. They just grab your suitcase out of your hands and start marching with it. If you don’t actively grab it back, you are going to have to tip. You cannot take local currency (Tanzanian shillings) into Zanzibar so you have give them what you’ve got…hoping you have a $US1 bill because that’s the smallest they will accept. These people are desperate. Be on your guard. Tipping can get very expensive. We spent hundreds of rands on tipping this week. When you use a tour operator…you are expected to tip. You tip the tour guide, you tip the driver, you tip the assistant at the Spice Tour, you tip the guy that shows you how to climb a coconut tree and you tip the guy that makes a few mementos which you have little choice in taking. It’s their way of making an income. For the tourists, it’s an irritation. For the locals, it’s a livelihood. They depend on it. It’s the difference between going hungry and food on their table. You are helping them, so just do it! We tipped according to time spent with us. If the person spent a lot of time we tipped $US5. If they spent a little, we tipped $US1.

SIM Cards and Internet Access

On arrival, at the airport foreign exchange desk, I bought a $US5 sim card. I never got internet access on it, but I was able to make contact with the tour operators when I needed to. I also had wi-fi through it at the resort. As I’ve mentioned, wi-fi at NBV was sporadic. This comes with being in East Africa but we also noticed that when less people were at the resort, the wi-fi was much faster. The thing is that at NBV, it is FREE! This is a big bonus. We were in room 3 and when the wi-fi was working well, I could sit on my bed and surf the net, do the blog & send whatsapp messages from my cell phone. That made a difference. Not all resorts are free, so if you choose another, find out what you are in for.

Weather

You need to do some homework regarding the best time to visit Zanzibar. We came the end of July, after the rainy season and in the so called “winter”, when the average temperature was about 25C and at night it went down to 22C. With this being winter, you can imagine what summer is like. If you are in the northern hemisphere wanting a break from your winter, bear in mind the Zanzibar summer is going to include temperatures into the 30s. This resort is well equipped with air conditioners and fans. We used the fans mainly in the day and had the air con on low overnight. Whenever you come, bring sunblock with a very high UV factor. Ours was factor 50 and we came with 450mls. Hats are a must. Ladies, bring a wrap. I used mine regularly throughout the day. Whenever I went outside, I had the wrap over my shoulders and arms and sometimes over my head. You blend perfectly into the Muslim culture and it protects you from the sun.

The winter is not the rainy season in Zanzibar. Google the rainy season to find out just how much rain falls. It’s a lot! Yet, even in the ‘dry’ season, we had a few short showers, that were very pleasant….

RainHealth

When you come, bring with you some basic first aid supplies. I made use of betadine and a basic dressing with tape and a bandage. Cuts on rocks when barefoot on the beach is a common occurrence. I would also suggest bringing an antihistamine cream/tablets  in case you get bitten by a bug. Bring anti-nausea pills. You eat a lot and it’s strange and different to our Western food. Skip a few meals to give your gastric system a break!

Malaria tablets are a must. NBV goes to some length to prevent guests being bitten. While you are at dinner, the staff put the mosquito netting up over your bed and spray the room with insect repellent. You sleep like a baby in this exotic Arabian tent…

Mosquito net over bedNBV supplies bottled water and lots of it for drinking. The tap water is a bit salty. Not for drinking, but it did a great job on my skin – I can imagine it’s mineral rich – my skin has seldom been so soft and smooth!

An added expense prior to your trip is to get a Yellow Fever vaccination. You need it to re-enter South Africa. It is valid for 10 years.

The Beach at NBV

People have also complained about the beach at this particular resort. I got a couple of quotes. Another resort actually wrote to me and said that this beach was not nice. But their resort charged $US10 per 24 hours of internet + cost about R3000 more per person for the week.  Now THAT’S not nice! You have to decide what you want! When the tide is out, you can’t swim. For us it’s not a big deal, but for others it may be. The plus side about being here is that at other beaches in Zanzibar, there are a lot more people on the beach trying to sell you stuff. Trust me, you only need to go to Stone Town for 5 minutes before you get irritated by those scenarios. It’s a bit of a pain saying ‘no thank-you’ 10 times to the same person! Quiet beach, no sellers.

Low tide is very low. Due to the nature of the beach and the locals who dig for crabs, it’s not a flat surface over which you can walk. Mike hopped out as far as he could to see how difficult it was. He said, you could walk over puddles in a stepping stone kind of fashion. He took a photo of the resort from the low tide beach…

Low tide

When the tide is high, swimming is a joy. The water is warm (28C!!)  and calm. :-)

Swimming in the seaThis holiday has been a great rest. It has not been a hair-brained, rushing around adventure. We return to Cape Town rested, refreshed and raring to go!

Here’s  the picture Mike took of me doing my blog on the beach the other day when the Ngalawa internet was slow and I checked in with the neighbour’s access. It took sitting on their beach to do it…

Doing my blog on the beachOooh, my rear was numb by the time I had finished!

Being an extensive blog, for anyone wanting to use it as a travel blog, I have full copyright for both the script and the photographs. Please contact me at helgasdailyblog@gmail.com. Thank you!

In ending, I’ve seen these flowers both at the resort and in the town. They grow prolifically and give off a generous fragrance, particularly in the early evening….

FlowersMatthew 6:28-29

“See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

God’s creation sure is beautiful. We are all unique with a beauty individual to each one of us. Appreciate it in yourself. Look for it in others.

Keep the smile going!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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Zanzibar – Day Seven – Last Lazy Day

6-52am

Tomorrow we leave, so today, we must make the most of doing nothing! We did very little yesterday as well. In the morning, I did the blog, but didn’t manage to get it up before the internet ground to a halt. We read and chatted. After lunch, Julian and I took off for a walk to a nearby village. I went in search of a local basket. On our way, we passed a very intimidating bull…

BullFortunately, he was attached to ropes, so although he looked as if he was about to charge, we knew (and he knew) that he wouldn’t get far. I took the picture and quickly walked away!

We also passed a small baobab tree…a lovely memory of my youth. Seeing them at sea level is unexpected. I guess they like the heat…

BaobabThere are many small village schools. The one on the road to the village is probably the best we’ve seen. Painted in bright colours with different objects and their English names impressed us. I got a little closer to take a photo, only to find that not all the spelling was out of our English dictionaries…

School tomattoThis was the other side of the school, where a fork is a folk and a bowl, a bawl. I don’t know if it was the organiser’s fault or the painter’s fault, but they made a good attempt. And, they can use it as a test for the children to be able to tell which ones are wrong! (They don’t have spell check as I do…and even then I make mistakes!)

School Fork folk and bowl bawl

One of the funniest English mistakes came on the resort menu, when we read of an upcoming “Aborigine” dish – we waited with great interest to see what would arrive. It was difficult not to laugh when an aubergine arrived. We ate Aborigine!

So we got to the village, but never found a basket, so, in the heat of the day, we returned, glad of the exercise but glad to be back. I swam, then lazed in the boma,  reading. It was after tea time, that I determined to try and find out what was happening with the internet. I still hadn’t got the blog posted and evening was rapidly approaching.

I ended up going to the reception which is at the top of the resort and asking if there was a problem. While there, I took a few photos….this hangs on the wall….

Trip AdvisorWe have experienced why. It’s very easy to give Ngalawa Beach Village 5 stars on Trip Advisor.

From the reception, a long flight of stairs takes you to the main part of the village….

View from the receptionOne of the manager’s gave me the neighbouring resort’s password and so I snuck down to the beach and sat on the bottom of a palm tree and got it posted. Although the beach is a wonderful place to write, it’s not ideal for computers and mine got a bit sandy! The view though was quite spectacular…

Chwaka bay resort beachAfter dinner last night, one of my greatest memories was made. It’s almost new moon and the sky is at its darkest. We walked down the beach away from the lights of the resort and in pitch dark we looked up at the canopy of stars above. Never before, have I seen so much of the Milky Way. We are 6 degrees south of the equator and the weather was warm and balmy. I kept saying “I’ve never seen these stars before!” The Bible verses that resonated through my mind came from Psalm 8:3-4

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which  You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?”

We witnessed the majesty of God’s creation – just a fraction of only one galaxy. There’s much more to it and many more besides. I am like a tiny grain of sand, yet what is important to me is important to God. And that goes for you too!

What a night. Tonight, we will do it again!

Keep the smile going…

God bless you loads.

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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Zanzibar – Day Six – Sunday in Zanzibar

8-19am

(I started this blog at 8-19am, but only got access to the internet at 4-40pm!)

Sunday in Zanzibar is sort of like every other day. This is a long weekend for Tanzania as it is the time of the fast, which ends tomorrow, so they made Monday and Tuesday a holiday.

Nothing changes at the resort though. The days just blend together. Yesterday, there were two things of significance. Firstly, I skipped lunch. I felt I had entirely over-eaten no small amount of carbs, so I fasted through lunch and after a bit of fruit late afternoon, ate dinner at 8pm. By then I was hungry!

The second thing is that we got in a bit of exercise. We walked about 8.75km. I put my Map My Fitness App on and after about 7 minutes, it found us, so we’d walked about ¾ of a kilometre more than it recorded…

8km walkOne of the significant features of Zanzibar is the structure of many of the rooves of the houses, specially around the resorts….they have very high pitches, made with poles from local trees. The framework is a network of rectangles on the outside and ship-like masts on the inside….

Roof inside finishedOn our walk we passed a number of buildings in progress…

Roof under constructionThe finished product is amazingly cool inside and with the steep pitch allows for easy run off of the rain. They are thatched, not with the long thatch grass that we are familiar with in South Africa, but rather short pallets premade out of the plentiful supply of coconut palm leaves. The result is quite spectacular…

Finished roofOur walk also took us past many teak trees. Lavishly big leaves, red flowers and abundant throughout the island, apart from wonderful shade, they ensure a plentiful supply of solid wood for the years ahead. Apparently, they need 20 years to mature before being useful as building timber…

Teak treeWe passed some men sitting on the side of the road weaving stripped coconut leaves. Something that caught my eye on our way back was their entertainment…on the opposite side of the road, secured to a tree was a TV…

Tree TVHey, when you’re a soccer fan, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!

This is ‘winter’ in Zanzibar….the island’s coolest month. This morning, we had a taste of how hot it may get. The sky was cloudless and the heat of the sun, was fierce, yet it was only 8am. I felt myself burning. But now, a few hours later, clouds have gathered and a gentle breeze is blowing, making a huge difference. This is the view of our room (top right) from the far side of the swimming pool…

PoolsideThe Boma (the owners call it the Pontilla) remains a favourite spot for us to hang out…here is the view at high tide….

Tide inQuite a little piece of peaceful paradise.

We leave here on Tuesday and I have already just about written the blog for early that morning (if the internet connection obliges). The blog summarises the pros, which are many, and the cons, which are unavoidable, of where we are staying. It also gives the price, so if anyone is thinking of coming, they know roughly what they are in for. I’ll put that up early on Tuesday. We leave Ngalawa Beach Village at 10am, to arrive at Zanzibar airport about 11am for a gruelling 2 hour wait for our flight back to Joburg at 1pm! We return to Cape Town Tuesday night. Right now, I’m writing these words, but simultaneously, I’m putting them all at the back of my mind, choosing, instead to lap up the present and enjoy an amazing part of the world, to which I may never return.

I feel blessed. In fact, I feel like an ‘object of mercy’. I read that in yesterday’s Bible reading. Paul writes in Romans 9:23

What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory.”

That’s me. Jesus has made the riches of His glory known to me, whom He prepared in advance for glory. This verse is laden with undercurrents of God’s love and compassion towards us. Paul’s question, ‘what if….” is a veiled way of saying, “In actual fact, He did.” I am an object of God’s mercy and so are you!

Not only that – it wasn’t a sudden last minute thing – God planned it all along. He has prepared me in advance for glory. This life – I am only passing through – the real deal comes when I breathe my last breath.

In the meantime, I look at His creation – the beauty He has made for us to enjoy here on earth, and I praise Him. I glorify Him. I acknowledge Him. I appreciate Him.

Yes!

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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Zanzibar – Day Five – Chilling at Ngalawa Beach Village

11-22am

Today we are staying put at the resort…in fact, we’ll probably be doing this for the remainder of our time here. We only have about $US50 left, due to us buying a little teak table to take back. With very few credit card facilities here and me not wanting to put my bank card in a Zanzibarian ATM, we’ll relax and enjoy some rest.

Last night, the resort put on a band & we all went down to have a little look. Mike has got music flowing through his veins, so he was the first to get up and get his moves on! My moves are more worship oriented. I loved every moment of dancing in the sand on the island of Zanzibar at 11pm on a warm ‘winter’s’ night…

Dancing - worshipping under African skiesThis was the band…

The bandThey had loads of rhythm. We stayed for about an hour and then left the youngsters to enjoy the rest of the night. We went back to our room and drifted off to sleep with the sounds of ‘doof doof’ floating through our heads! They put on some good island music “mun!”

This morning we did not need to rush. After breakfast we headed down to the boma. On my way, I took a turn in the hammock…

On the hammock

Aaaah, so relaxing!

The boma is a massive deck right above the beach. With the tide out, this is the view from the boma…

View from the boma - low tideWhen the tide is in, the water laps under the boma. It’s a wonderful place to read, rest or chat with others. There are games such as scrabble & chess to play. It’s very quiet and relaxing. After a while there, I came back to our room to start doing this blog. The internet had been off for a while and it came back on, so I took advantage of the opportunity to put some stuff together…like pictures of what I see from where I am sitting. Inside the room, from my bed, where I type, this is my view….

View from my bed inside our roomThe door on the left is the door to outside. The door on the right goes into the bathroom. The doors are both solid teak. You can see Mike’s golf clubs in the corner. He has since taken them and is on the beach chipping! It’s one big bunker practice!  Looking to my left, I look out the balcony door…

View through the balcony doorOn the bed are my three things to do…cross-stitch…I’m very close to finishing. I’ve got my Bible and a book to read. Of course, my netbook is on my lap and my cell phone next to it. I seldom do my blog without something to drink as I go…so my (now empty) tea cup is next to my bed. That’s the setting!

I’ve often wondered about this blog. It’s a record of my life and I have to admit, that while I appreciate others reading it, at the end of the day, I figure the discipline of it, is more for me. There are seldom days that I think ‘I wish I didn’t have the blog to do.’ The thought is more, ‘ Hmmm, what can I do for my blog today?’ The days drift by…days are slow…years are fast. Suddenly, a decade is over and you look back and wonder where it went. I have a bit of a visual log of the last 4 years of my life. My little netbook that has documented these years in daily doses, is coming to the end of it’s life. They don’t make them like this any more. In November, it turns 5. It’s time for some new technology, but I don’t think I’m going to find anything quite so robust and convenient as this…

NetbookThe passing of time is well documented in the Bible. The only psalm written by Moses, and spoken on by Andy Stanley in his “Time” series, is Psalm 90. Moses, who spent 80 years of his life in the desert – then he came out of 40 yeras in the desert to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt….only to spend another 40 years in the desert. It must have been 40 long years…40 slow years…on each occasion – where the days were long but the years fast….for he says, (verse 10) “The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, but they quickly pass and we pass away.”

And he prays, (verse 12)

 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Numbering our days. Make each day a good one. Live in the present. Breath in the moments. God’s mercies are new every morning. You have Him to depend on.

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

 

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Zanzibar – Day Four – Stone Town – Busy, Dusty, Dirty, Smelly

1-30pm

After a good night’s rest, we got up about 7-30am and went down to the boma to read. There was very little traffic on the beach… maybe this was rush hour….

Rush hour trafficAfter breakfast, we gathered at the reception area and a few minutes after 9am, our taxi arrived to take us to Stone Town for a 2 hour tour. Back on the road again, I was amazed at the sight of three on a scooter….this is common practice, with the husband in the middle, a son in front and a wife behind. But what’s shocking is that there is only one helmet and the husband has it!…

Family on a scooterWe soon arrived in Stone Town…

Arriving in Stone TownOur first walk was through the sea front area which included a picturesque garden….

Picturesque garden…where cats doze out oblivious to those passing by…

Sleeping cats

Out at sea, to our amusement was a boat with a significant name…unexpected in these parts….

Facebook boat

Ha!

Hundreds of years ago, canons defended the land….

CanonsThis is the area where the famous world’s shortest war took place. In 1896,  British forces  bombed several buildings. The cause was the rise to power of a Sultan who Britain did not want.  Within 45 minutes, the war was over. The offending Sultan managed to escape to Seychelles. That was the end of that. One building that survived the onslaught was built for one of the Sultan’s sons. It’s called House of Wonder – a massive building, pretty derelict, but also supposed to be undergoing renovation….

House of wonderClose by to the House of Wonder is a fought, built by Portuguese in 1672…it’s the oldest building in Zanzibar….

Built by Portuguese in 1672Our tour took us into the centre of Stone Town, where the stone buildings gave it its name…

Stone walls give it its nameThe streets are narrow….

Walking through Stone TownAnd some very busy, bustling with shopkeepers, carts, bicycles and scooters…

Narrow streetsOthers are damp and quiet…

Damp quiet alleyThere is some creative wiring…the tour guide said, (in his words) “we have to defend each other in helping with electricity!” Well, okay, then, as long as no one gets electrocuted…

Creative wiringThe doors are significant. Doors with great big sharp thorns jabbing out of them were only for royal families…this is an Arab one…

Doors with spikes meant Royalty lived there

There were also Hindu doors with Arabic script….

Hindu door

There are only three doors with this design in all of Zanzibar…

Only three doors like thisAnother famous door is this one…

Freddy M house

This was the birth place of Freddy Mercury. Born here on 5th September 1946…

Freddy Mercury

95%of Zanzibar is Muslim. In Stone Town, the cross and the crescent stand along side each other….

Crescent and the Cross

The Zanzibarians have a sense of humour. Some amusing person has put this sign up, with a telephone beneath it…

Sense of humourOf course the telephone doesn’t work!

Plenty of opportunity for souvenirs…

SouvinersAnd this is for Pearl…

Pearl of Zanzibar

So that’s Stone Town done and dusted! No need to return! The locals market was really busy, with a bit of an overpowering smell of fish. I didn’t take photos – not wanting to take my cell phone out with that many people around. It does seem quite safe though….no warning of pick-pockets, although I think you do need to be careful.

Returning to the blissful peace and quietness of our resort was a treat. This is why we are here! …

PeaceAnd yet even here, we can worry. I keep getting a message on my cell phone that my SD card is damaged. I have more than 300 notes written on my Bible readings….and when I couldn’t access them, I thought that was that… I would lose them all. Turns out, they are also in another application on my phone, so they are safe.

John 14:27 ~ words of Jesus…

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Tonight, there is a beach bash, so we may wander down and find out what that’s all about! Then we have Saturday, Sunday & Monday of hanging out at the resort and maybe doing some walking. We leave Tuesday morning. Home late Tuesday night.  Internet is sporadic, but I’m managing to get it up! Yay!

Keep the smile going!

God bless you loads!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

 

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Zanzibar Day Three – Princess Salme and Spice Tour – A bit of a bumpy start

7-45pm

The internet has been very slow, but everyone is now at dinner, so it’s sped up!

Today we planned a full day out. We had booked an excursion that would take us on an historic tour, follwed by lunch at one of Zanzibar’s famous Spice Plantations. The due departure time was 9am. When 9am arrived, our driver had not! Ooops! After waiting a few minutes, a call came through from the tour guide company, saying they had sent the driver to the wrong hotel and he would be with us in an hour….oh and by the way, we’ve charged you too little and so you have to pay R400 more! I was so not impressed and came close to cancelling the whole thing (we have another tour with them tomorrow). Anyway, after a little chat (everything is negotiable) and an hour’s wait, we were soon on our way….hurtling through the Zanzibar countryside. There was much to be seen and to take in… this cute little girl on the road…

Little girl

A donkey cart….

Donkey cartAnd closer to town, more sophisticated buildings and women…

Muslim womenEventually, we arrived at our first stop…

Mtoni Palace RuinsThis historic site was the home of famous Princess Salme, a daughter of the second Sultan of Zanzibar. Born to a Russian mother, she lived a life of luxury in the Mtoni Palace, which once looked like this…

BeforeBut it was ruined in the 1964 revolution and now looks like this…

NowBut it is slowly being restored…

RestorationIt was a fascinating peek into life hundreds of years ago…this is a coffee pot…

Coffee pot

After that, we were taken down to the beach, took our shoes off and waded through shallow water to get into a small boat with an outdoor motor…

On the speedboat

That in turn took us to an authentic Zanzibarian dhow…

Authentic dhow

It too had an outboard motor, but once we’d picked up some speed, the sail was hoisted…

Putting the sail up…and we enjoyed the peace of sailing through tropical waters..

Tropical waterWe each were given coconuts and had a long refreshing drink….

Drinking coconut milkThe boatman skillfully cut the flesh out the middle and we ate it…

High fatThat was memorable. What was also memorable was arriving at the other side. It wasn’t a plush marina – quite the opposite. We came ashore at what can only really be described as a beach squatter camp!

Fishing childrenWe were taken to a tap where we could wash our feet…

Washing feetThis is REAL Zanzibarian life….

Village lifeRound the corner to be met by another means of transport…

Poor cowA few steps away, we entered through a door in the wall and found ourselves in Princess Salme’s Garden. After some conflict in her family, she stayed at a home on the beach and had an exotic garden with flamingos and other beautiful birds and animals. Nowdays, the building is used at a school and the garden is not too much to look at..

Princess Salmes gardenTo one side, though, a table had been laid and we sat down for some authentic Zanzibar coffee, but first, hands were washed…

Washing handsCoffee time….the coffee is not strong and quite spicy…it reminds me of Chai Tea, only it’s coffee!

CoffeeOur next stop, on this very full day, was to the Spice Farms. This was an eye opener. God has made all things good and we saw and experienced a variety of the common fruits, spices and medicines we use. Gerrie tried chilli!….It was HOT…

Gerrie eating chilliThese are what coffee beans look like…

Coffee beansOnce of the most amazing trees we saw is the one that bleeds…

Tree that bleedsIt’s an iodine tree…next time you use betadine or any iodine products, remember, the tree bleeds!

We ended the tour with a typical Zanzibar meal. Then laden with fruit & spices, we were taken back to the hotel. It stirred emotions. Many people trying to eek out a living. Tourism is the biggest money generator, followed by cloves. It’s not an easy existence.  It’s very difficult to get your head around any form of prosperous future for them.

Back at the hotel, I chatted with Pearl….here’s our photo from this morning…

Pearl

Isaiah 24:15
In eastern lands, give glory to the LORD. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
God bless you!
In His Grip,
Helga xx :-)
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Zanzibar – Day Two – Beach Walk

3-09pm (ZTime)

We had such a good night sleep last night. Mozzies abound, but as we ate dinner, elaborate mosquito nets that hang behind our bed were put in place. We snuggled safely in our tropical indoor tent bed, safe from the buzzing drone of the island’s insects. This morning dawned, still and beautiful….

DawnWe sat down for breakfast at 8am….

BreakfastAnd right after that went for a long beach walk…on a lovely overcast day…temperature about 25C

Bit of rain coming

There are a few things you notice immediately….the tide is out…and so there is an enormous amount of beach…parts are hard sand and easy to walk on. Other bits are a bit soggy, but you can hope over the puddles…

Mike and GerrieThen there is the muddy stuff, that makes it an exercise to get through, especially if you are wearing slip slops, which we were. You tend to get ‘sucked in’. Gerrie had tackies on, so he climbed over the coral….

Gerrie scrambling across coral ledgesJulian got a bit stuck in the mud!….squelch…I did too, but ha ha, I have the camera!….

Julian stuck in the mudWe had fun though…hello from Zanzibar!….

Hello from Zanzibar

We walked far along the beach, passing local women who were just hanging out….

Local women just hanging outFishing is the local industry and there were hundreds of fishermen at work….

FishingWe also passed a fishing village, which looked pretty idyllic from a distance…

Coastal village

But when you got a bit closer, it wasn’t so great…

Beach goatAlong this stretch of beach there are several large, abandoned derelict houses…

Derelict house 1One wonders about their history. Fishing boats are just left on the beach, waiting for the tide to come in….

Fish boat waiting for the tide

Boats are not the only form of transport…

Boat and bike

You don’t hear traffic noise here. The main sound is the buzz of insects, the early morning tweet of the birds, the wind rustling through the palm trees,  and the laughter of people enjoying the pool. The tinkle of crockery being laid for meals reminds me that it’s almost time to eat!

Our room is spacious….

Bedroom from the balcony door

And the balcony, which is where I’m typing this blog is cool and comfortable. The furniture is solid, locally built and typically Tanzanian….

Our balcony

No chipboard here.

Last night, as soon as darkness fell, an entire population of lizards appeared. One stopped long enough for me to snap him….

Lizard

While, on the beach, you are kept company by a multitude of sand crabs. They shoot out of holes and race across the sand…..I didn’t think I’d ever get a photo of one, but today, I did…

Sand crabThe internet this morning was painfully slow. Mike seemed to think it was not the resort connection, but rather what happens between the resort and the outside world. Talking of which, we have no idea of what’s happening in the news. No TVs here. It just makes life so perfectly slow and relaxed. This is an absolute holiday. Three hours from Joburg. Who knew!? After lunch, I tried post the blog again and eventually gave up to the point of thinking I may not even get one up today! I had a snooze instead. When I woke up a short while ago, voila, internet had come right! Yay!

Tomorrow, we are going out for the day. I’ll do my best to get up a blog, but if I am successful, it won’t be before tomorrow night. TIEA (This is East Africa!)

One last fun thing that happened was meeting Pearl. Last night, at dinner, a lady came across and asked if I was Helga! Yay! Pearl from Port Elizabeth was reading my blog and saw I was coming to Zanzibar. She wondered which resort I would be visiting. There are hundreds of resorts on this island, so imagine her surprise when she discovered we would both be at the same one. I must get a photo of us together.

:-)

Isaiah 42:10

Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you loads!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

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Zanzibar – First Day – First Impressions

 

9-12am

It seems very strange that the time as I start today’s blog is only 9-12am, yet at our destination, which is about an hour and a half away, it is already 10-12am. We will arrive in Zanzibar around noon, 11am Cape Town time. I’m writing this on the plane, having downloaded some photos from my phone. So far the flight has been very smooth with only about 5 or 10 minutes of minor tuburlence.

My alarm went off at 4am this morning. It had been a restless night. This is one flight we have to be on. Miss today’s flight and the next one is only on Saturday! I really didn’t want to oversleep. As it turned out, I woke up a few minutes before my alarm, woke the family and by 4-20am, we were ready to roll on out. 5 of us with all our luggage crammed into a van and 25 minutes later we had arrived at a surprisingly busy O.R. Tambo airport.

We checked in and got our boarding passes….

Zanzibar here we come

….and then headed for a coffee shop for a, by now, desperately needed cup of coffee. We hung out there until it was time to board. The sun was just rising…

Airport sunrise

The plane was ready….

Boarding

So were the pilots….

Pilot

Shortly after take-off, when the announcement was made that we could turn our cell phones back on, Mike connected with the overhead satellites and discovered how high and fast we were going….

Just after take off

We soon settled down, travelling at 839km/hour at 11 255m….fast and high….

Over Mozambique

Just over an hour later, we were in sight of our island destination…with Stone Town featuring as the main centre…

Almost there

Our approach took us over the sea…it was nothing less than absolutely spectacular…

Approaching Zanzibar

We soon landed and taxied down the runway towards the terminal building. Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, a poor third world country. Don’t expect plush air conditioning, with duty free shops and extensive lounges. A series of busses was on hand to take us from the plane – a warm, humid 27C reminded us: this is the tropics….no air conditioning in these vehicles, but we didn’t mind…

Busses

Off the bus and welcome to Zanzibar…

Zanzibar airport

Next stop was customs which was quick and painless. Then we went to get our luggage! Ha! Conveyor belts of our modern airports? Completely overrated! No, instead fight to get to the front of three windows (holes in the wall) where luggage is piled up ready for eager hands to claim their own….

No conveyor belts

Mike carted 3 golf clubs and a putter all the way here…and in due course, they appeared….

Golf clubs

With all our luggage finally in hand, we exited the building and found an eager driver with our name on his paper. He bundled us all into his (air-conditioned :D ) taxi and we set off for the other side of the island. We passed a vast array of unusual Zanzibarians – many hurtling helmetlessly along on scooters, the colourful headscarves of lady passengers blowing behind them. Cyclists, taxis, goats, cows, builders, children, shopkeepers all to be seen crowding the roads, going about their regular Tuesday business. It was not entirely unfamiliar to typical South African  township life. After about 30 minutes, the roads quietened and the landscape changed to become more rural. The road flanked by forests and plantations. Unexpectedly, a petrol station came into view. We turned right and then right again, this time onto a narrow dirt road. We sensed our destination was around the corner. It was. Driving through very un-ostentatious gates, we drew up to a plain looking building. This was Ngalwala Beach Village! Apprehensively, we went inside to be met by the owners. After registration, our suitcases were taken to our rooms. As we left the reception building, we went down a long flight of stairs, being cheerfully greeted by workers as we went. The resort unfolded before us and it was GOOD! Whew! Our room is the top corner one…

Our room is top right

The view from our balcony is fantastic…

View from our room

The beach is just below, warm inviting water…

Hammock deck and sea

We’ve had lunch and now we’re off for a walk. More tomorrow!

Psalm 97:1

The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad.

Keep the smile going!

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic: Last night, I saw my sister for the first time in about 6 years…it was great to catch up…

Anne and I

 

 

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Next Blog From Zanzibar!

4-08pm

My next blog, God willing, will be from Zanzibar! We’re all packed and ready to go. There are some essentials…of course, passports, but also malaria tablets and Yellow Fever vaccination cards…

Malaria tabs passports yellow fever vaccine cardsI’ve got sunblock, stuff to keep the mozzies away and sunglasses….

Sunblock etcApparently in Zanzibar, there’s lots of tipping to be done and they don’t want SA rands, so I’ve got small US currency which is what they use…

Small currencyI have no idea of what to expect. Right now, I am in Jo’burg and sitting at blog-reader Michal’s house quickly finishing off the blog. We caught flight from Cape Town this morning…

Mango flight one….and zipped along at 11000 metres above the earth at more than 900km/hour…

Zipping along at 900km an hourMike’s amazing cell phone Open Source Maps (OSM). If you have android, load it up! It’s fantastic!

Whatever is going on in your life, remember these words:

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls– Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

The best is yet to come.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you!

In His Grip,

Helga xx :-)

Gratitude Pic….the blessing of being able to travel…

Boarding

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