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Destinations, Food, Photography, Zanzibar

Cooking Octopus Curry with A Woman Named Peace

November 10, 2012

Coconut palms, mango trees, citrus fruits, rice and spice and fish. Turmeric, vanilla beans, hot chilies, black pepper, and cinnamon curls…

Zanzibar cuisine.

When we arrived on the island, a spice tour and a cooking lesson were my two highest hopes. Rather than find a touristy cooking lesson in Stone Town, I waited to look for a teacher until we left the city and settled into our spot an hour east, on the beach near the little town of Bwejuu. I’d read about a project in a neighboring village where local women taught cooking lessons as part of a grass-roots community development project, but as it turned out, I didn’t even have to look that far to find exactly what, or rather who, I was hoping for.

Removed by sea and time from the hazy city of Dar es Salaam (a gritty place on mainland Tanzania, ironically bearing the Swahili name Haven of Peace), a woman named Peace sits inside a woven-palm-walled hut on the white sands, selling her wares, saving her earnings, and offering kindness to strangers like me. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Musings, Photography, Zanzibar

Sandy Beaches Sell Postcards and Plane Tickets

November 6, 2012

We haggle over an hour long bus ride, will it be five thousand shillings or three?

We dicker, we hand over crinkled bills, we ride.

On a daladala, normal shifts.

Boxes and bags and bodies cram together in a metal shell unfit for road use by any and all US standards. Smells of sweat and burning oil mingle. Window glass balanced in rubber seals rattles as we ride, framing views of an island changing shape before our eyes.

“Computer training center” one sign says, before we pass another mud brick house with leaky thatch roof.

Bikes and cattle share the pavement. Coconut palms and banana trees lean away from us and toward the afternoon sun.

Between shores, the heart of the island beats.

Generations long since used to alien visitors seeking spice and spice of life watch another load of tourist overtake a load of produce. Dollars and cents.

Crossing from one coast to another, I wonder.

Who pays for paradise?

Whose normal is this, anyway? Continue Reading…

Destinations, Photography, Zanzibar

Arrival in Zanzibar

October 30, 2012

After passing through Tanzanian customs chaos and spending one thought provoking night in Dar es Salaam, we arrived on Zanzibar Island via ferry boat and let Stone Town overwhelm our senses.

Blue oceans and bright saris.

Loud voices calling “Jambo!” and singing “Hakuna Matata” through the streets.

Hot sunshine blazing down.

Spiced coffees, spiced teas, spice tours. (Oh, spice tours. Wait for the next post…)

Flavors and colors and moments on the east coast of Africa… Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, Photography, South Africa, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Stumbling Into Myst

September 23, 2012

So, I have this thing for relating travel destinations to games (board or otherwise).

Remember that computer program Myst? In the 1990s, I sunk ages into solving its digital riddles. Analyzing puzzles, traversing other-worldly landscapes, pulling at threads in a storyline until the mysteries finally unraveled. The game appealed to my inquisitive, persistent mind.

Imagine the fun a few decades later (um, can that be true?!), when Ted and I stumbled into the real-world graphics of Myst 2.0 at the Robberg Peninsula, 8 kilometers to the south of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.

Robberg Peninsula, South Africa

Classic Myst, Circa 1990s

We pulled into Robberg Nature Reserve at 4:30pm.

“Park entry closes at 5pm, visitors must be out by 6pm.”

A race against the clock? Okay, fair warning. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Lebanon, Photography

Wildflowers, Cherries, and a Sunset: Visiting the Qadisha Valley

August 23, 2012

Kahlil Gibran’s Back Yard: the Qadisha Valley, a spot of hidden peace and calming quiet just a few hours north of the horns-honking, sidewalks-crumbling city of Beirut.

The deeply carved landscape runs through the Becharre and Zgharta Districts in northern Lebanon, eventually spilling Qadisha River water into the Mediterranean Sea near the shores of Tripoli. Ted and I spent an afternoon scrambling along high paths and low river-valley trails with our new friend Madeleine then met up with her partner Jimmy to drive to the mountain pass and watch the blazing sun sink into the western haze.

Enjoy the snapshots from the day and a few notes peppered throughout.

Strap on mental  hiking shoes, imagine the sweat beads forming on the back of your neck, taste the hot, thick air, and be sure to watch for wildflowers…

Continue Reading…

Musings, Photography

Capture the Colour

July 15, 2012

One of my favorite preschool memories: snipping pictures from magazines and pasting them up to create my very own book of colors. One of my favorite childhood ditties: “Red and yellow and pink and green…purple and orange and blue…I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too…”

To this day, I get a kick out of ROY G. BIV, and, yes, I color code my iPhone apps.

No surprise that the compulsive, creative artist/organizer in me loved receiving Paul’s nomination to participate in the  Capture the Colo(u)r themed photo contest. Funny, though, sorting through six months of travel memories to find five photos turned quickly into hours of nostalgia spent scrolling through more than a few snapshots from home. Little square mobile pics reminded me of many good memories and great friends, and they looked so cute in a rainbow row…

For contest entries and competition details, please scroll down farther, but for a side-tracked walk down iPhone-memory-lane, indulge me and stay up here just a wee bit longer:

Continue Reading…

Destinations, Featured Partners, Italy, Photography, Walks of Italy

Paying Pisa a Savvy Visit Part I

June 13, 2012

Confession: at times on our independent trip around the world, we are absolutely, unabashedly tourists.

“We’re foodies. We’re fans of great design. I love taking pictures. Ted loves drinking coffee. We play the tourist part, signing up for guided treks, sailing the seas on a cruise ship, and snapping cliched shots at guidebook hotspots…”
Writing Honestly From the Road

When the opportunity to visit Pisa and see the monumental sights presented itself, we penciled out our itinerary excitedly as adventures began falling into place.

Continue Reading…

Destinations, Emilia Romagna Tourism Board, Featured Partners, Italy, Photography

Artful Italy: Discovering Wildt in Forlì

May 6, 2012

Today’s a quiet day of rest in Emilia-Romagna. I’m cozied up in our apartment in Bologna, sifting through photos and stories from northern Italy. It seems around every corner we’ve been greeted by a new surprise, a new enchantment, a new glass of wine or plate of colorful food, a new irresistible piece of beauty. This past week: no exception.

We paid a visit to Forlì, Italy, stopping in at Musei San Domenico, a restored 13th century Dominican convent turned creative arts space. Serendipitously, our visit coincided with a temporary exhibit running January 28 – June 17 featuring the work of Italian sculpture Adolfo Wildt (1868 – 1931). The collection offers a glimpse into a creative man’s inspiration and expression, featuring his own works and those of influential predecessors and contemporaries arcing from classical tradition to romanticism, art nouveau, and modernism. Continue Reading…