August 14, 2004

Sugar and Spice

We left lovely Bwejuu behind (kicking and screaming) and headed back to Stone Town one last time before leaving Zanzibar. Before hitting town we detoured to a spice plantation to see for ourselves why they call Z the Spice Island.

The tour was surprisingly good -- in part due to its hands on (and nose/mouth on of course!) nature. We saw/smelled and often tasted stuff I thought only came in those little spice bottles like vanilla (which must be pollinated by hand), cinnamon (did you know it's made from dried bark?), sweet lime (amazingly so), cloves (used by Zanzibarians for everything from toothpaste to tummy tonic), star fruit, aloe vera (a Malaria cure), sap from the iodine tree (we didn't taste this one but felt its sticky consistency , which is a natural blood coagulant), robber fruit (it's so sour it hurts your cheeks) and experienced the Queen of all Spices, Nutmeg (used by the ladies to put "fire in their loins" according to our guide):

Unfortunately the nutmeg did not induce the aforementiond fire in my female companions

We also got to experience beauty products au-natural, washing our hands with soap berries (which lather when crushed and rubbed together), while the ladies perfumed themselves with some flower I can't recall (of course) and rouged themselves with seeds a fruit with a hairy peel:

The Spice Girls

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