On This Day Last Year...
Zanzibarians are Sunni Muslim and the sounds of the muezzin ring across the island throughout the day (in Arabic). The first mosque in the southern hemisphere was built here.
My solution to the barrage of "guides" was to pick one and stay with him for all my needs. Mohammed and I would sit at Jaws Corner, a little square near my hotel, and talk about politics and drink tea. He had never been to Tanzania, had never held a real job.
Because of the tourist trade, many Zanzibari men speak English in addition to their native language, Swahili, a mix of Arabic and Bantu that also possesses a smattering of German and English words.
While it is hard to lament the lack of architectural preservation in Stone Town when faced with such incredible personal poverty, I found that most of the once glorious buildings are fallen too far beyond in maintenance. Sometimes in other parts of the world I found some shabbiness to be charming; Zanzibar crumbles, rubbish piles, sewage seeps.
After a long bike ride across the island one day, I returned the the Stone Town area to find a quiet beach for a swim. As I walked my bicycle down the beach not far outside of town I had a man with a knive approach me. He put his hand over my hand on the handle bar of the bicycle. I screamed and yelled and made noise and ran as fast as I could. Others came to my rescue as he wandered off into the brush.