On Zanzibar

So I realize I have yet to post anything about Zanzibar, which makes it kind of odd that my blog would be titled I wish I was in Zanzibar because… I haven’t seen Zanzibar since the summer of 1998, where I danced on the white sanded shores of Matamwe Beach and spoke Swahili to the villagers in Kizimkazi Dimbani, or haggled for bargains in the markets of Stonetown. When I was there last, being an American didn’t matter all that much, except for the fact that sometimes people looked to me for a little extra cash. I was there when the embassy in Dar es Salaam was bombed, a short 60 mile distance from Zanzibar, and never once did I feel threatened or uncomfortable in 99% Islamic Zanzibar. Of course my experience was before America decided that we needed to kick the world’s ass. U.S. foreign policy in 1998 was not ideal, we harbored our imperialistic tendencies, and Clinton’s Africa policy left something to be desired (Rwanda! Rwanda! Rwanda!), but we weren’t in this blatant state of us against the world that we are in now. I wonder if things would be different in Zanzibar now, or if it would still be the idyllic paradise that I still envision in my mind.

Mostly I wish I was in Zanzibar because days in the family court leave me feeling so pasty and blah, and when I was in Zanzibar my skin had a healthy glow and I felt very youthful and a part of the world. It is strange that a city like New York can leave me feeling isolated while a small island left me feeling so a part of some larger community. It was easy to be affected by people there.

Tropical Storm Bonnie is spanking the Florida panhandle today as a punishment for their warm reception for President Bush earlier in the week. I don’t think that Mom or Melissa even got the day off from teaching school today, though.

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