J has a smaller portable/travel version with her in LA. And it’s true they play this game fanatically in this area. There was a board inlaid into a table in our hotel room. We had just come from a spice tour where the local craftsman was adept at making purses, hats, and sunglasses.
We even attracted an audience while we played in the airport lounge in Zanzibar. There was plenty of free advice on strategy. It was casual for J and me but, every move we made was breathlessly anticipated by our audience. Now I have to go back and refresh myself on the rules. But the memory of passing the time idly playing the game with my daughter….priceless!
I am not an early morning person. Which is to say, that sunrise photos are few and far between in my portfolio. However, my calculations indicated that we were on a cliff facing east from our accommodation in Zanzibar. It was just step out of bed onto the walk and we were overlooking the ocean. So for several mornings the sunrise would awaken Julia and me. We would run out, shoot the sunrise, and then clamber back for another hour of sleep before breakfast. Yeah that’s about as easy as it gets. Oh, that’s the hotel’s infinity pool in the foreground.
It used to be that after the sun went down, I would hardly take another shot until morning. Tungsten lighting, ASA/ISO speed, and a bunch of other reasons made it near to impossible to adjust. Now that white balance can be adjusted on the fly and IS0 can be made to almost see in the dark, it’s so easy to get night shots. Now the question is to see the image and then capture it. Like everything else sometimes you surprise even yourself.
These are the workboats for this part of the world. But like everything else in a tourist resort, people realize that there is commercial value in giving rides. And there are plenty of tourists to pay to ride. These guys would park on a likely stretch of beach and then beckon to offer a ride. I have looked into the boats and they don’t appear all that seaworthy. We passed on the opportunity.
These are small vessels. They are essentially long narrow wooden canoes with two outriggers and a sail. It is a typical vessel for this area. I saw one on the open ocean between the mainland and Zanzibar many miles from any landfall. Every morning the dhows would ply up and down parallel to the beach. It was a perfect photo op. The only problem is that they were most active at about 5:30AM.
I never did see what it was that these men netted. But they would patiently spread their net and eventually returned with some catch. The tides left many pools. And the shallow waters were warm. I guess not too many large fish were about. But there were enough small ones to make it a worthwhile endeavor to use the net.
This thatched house was part of a resort. There is a bar and a dock well out over the water. The waters are not too deep as the tidal surge is quite large. Many parts of the beach are exposed for hundreds of yards during low tide. The guard was passing the time reading as there were no visitors at this time of day.
Zanzibar, Africa. I won’t begin to tell you what species of birds are in this photo. The word ‘tern’ comes to mind. My daughter and I were walking along the beach as the tide came in behind us. These little guys flew past as I panned and shot. Later we had to backtrack through the high tide and breaking waves. The uneven surface and slippery rocks made it a bit treacherous. I couldn’t swim while holding my camera up and free of the sea. We made it back in time for lunch.
Stone Town, Zanzibar. Julia and I stayed in a small hotel, the Coffee House, near to the central market in Stone Town. It was recommended by the travel agent for its location and as a good example of local culture. The van drove to a crowded square. When the driver couldn’t find a place to park, he turned off the engine in the middle of the square, opened the back hatch, removed our luggage, and beckoned Julia and I to follow. We carried our stuff and followed along a series of narrow winding streets. Julia thought for sure we were being lured to our deaths. I admit I was also a bit nervous. When we came to the hotel, the door was locked and we were permitted entry only after we were screened. The central market is crowded and the vendors sold all manner of goods and produce. It was Ramadan and the crowds were waiting to break their fast. Julia was nervous about me walking around with an expensive camera and ‘tourist’ stamped on my forehead. So, I had to shoot from the hip and get shots with the point and shoot Canon G11. Autofocus, fast f-stop, and no look shooting got me a pile of nice shots. I like the skewed horizons and angles. It gives more edge to the photos. Julia was sure I would be stopped and she was careful not walk near to me. Except for this shot, I think that most of the market crowd ignored us. This was a local market. Though there were some tourist souvenirs, this market was filled with local folks just doing their everyday marketing for meat, fish, produce, furniture, and clothes. Visitors were treated politely but mostly ignored by the shoppers and merchants.
When Julia and I arrived at the Coffee House, a guard opened a peephole and then allowed us entry. After check-in, a slender woman scooped up my heavy bag and marched to the stairs. Julia hefted her heavy backpack. I offered to carry my own bag but the woman waved me off. After three flights, she was bent over hands on knees clearly exhausted by the effort. I think she probably should have left me to carry my own stuff. After we returned from a walk through the market, our room was bathed in this wonderful glow of evening light. We went out later and walked a fair distance to dinner and never felt threatened. I guess being in a strange environment can add to the sense of excitement and danger.