The Things Money Can’t Buy

On our programme today: nothing! We’re going to walk barefoot along the beach, take deep breaths and soak up the scenery. Soon a local accosts us. “Jambo,” he says, using the Swahili greeting. “Why are you walking so fast?” His name is Steve. “You’re in Zanzibar now where people take it easy, you know?” Suddenly we realize that what we thought was a stroll is in fact still a fast-paced, goal-oriented European walk. “We have time, so we do the ‘Zanzi walk’,” Steve says. “Look, like this!”

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He demonstrates the Zanzi walk, a slow ambling pace that is quite different from our Euro walk. We slow down into Zanzi mode and soon realise that our pace was also influencing the speed of our thoughts. We settle into slow mode and our minds clear – it’s almost like meditating.

Back at the Zamani Beach Club it is time for a cool drink. One of the waiters comes up to us and introduces himself as Makame. We ask whether he has coconut juice, also known as tuwi here in Zanzibar. “Of course we do,” he says. He looks up in the air as if he expects a coconut juice to come flying into the beach club. But hold on: these are coconut trees!

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Makame disappears for a few minutes only to return with a rope. “Now I have to find the right tree,” he says as he wanders around the beach looking up. “This is the one!” he says after a while and walks up to a 15-metre-tall tree. We’re still not sure whether he’s joking or not. I run back to my deck-chair to get my camera and when I come back Makame has put the rope around his feet and starts climbing. He reaches the top within 30 seconds and starts hacking off several coconuts, which drop into the sand below. He puts his knife away and stays up in the tree for a few minutes, staring out over the beach and the sea. When he climbs back down he cuts a hole in the coconut, places a straw in it and hands it over. “Karibu and enjoy your tuwi!”

The Things Money Can't Buy

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