Shadow Shot Sunday: The shadows of slavery

Sunlight masks a sober sculpture

The cruel shadowed history of slavery

Men and women, wrapped in chainsslave sculpture

Trapped in dark cellars

Whipped to test endurance

Silence increasing their priceSlave whipping point

Shipped far away

A legacy of lost heritage

Pain, Courage, EnduranceSlave chambers

This is written and inspired by my friend Kristin and all her fellow African Americans whose ancestors suffered similar fates.

This memorial to the slaves is in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The site of the old whipping point is behind the altar of the Anglican Cathedral, and the former cellars under a nearby building.

This post is my contribution to this week’s Shadow Shot Sunday.

Shadow Shot Sunday

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Christmas food, spices and Zanzibar

It’s that time of year when chefs and cooks around the world turn their minds to the Christmas cooking. Since Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings rely on the delicious spices originally brought back to Europe from Asia and Zanzibar, what better time to share some photos of the spices in their natural habitat in Zanzibar, once known as part of the Spice Islands.

You can compare the images with the spices listed in my Christmas cake recipe from my other blog.360 nutmeg and mace low

348 cardamom low

Cardamom

While holidaying in Zanzibar, and en route to the north-eastern beach at Ras Nungwi, we did a spice tour. It was really fun as well as informative. The guys made it really enjoyable by testing our knowledge of the plants from smell and taste, and along the way made us hats, necklaces, dilly bags, and glasses.

Cloves, not yet ripened.

Cloves, not yet ripened.

Peeling bark from the cinnamon tree.

Peeling bark from the cinnamon tree.

Do you recognise any of these plants, or do you use them in your Christmas cooking? Each and every one is in my Christmas cake recipe but the star is….

Green peppercorns are picked and dried before they ripen.

Green peppercorns are picked and dried before they ripen.

366 spice exchange low_edited-1Now where’s my Cointreau?

Mind you I find it somewhat ironic that all these spices, so integrally associated with Christmas, can be found on the largely Islamic island of Zanzibar.

The travellers in our Spice Farm accessories.

The travellers in our Spice Farm accessories.

Sepia Saturday: The Doorways of Travel

This week’s Sepia Saturday 203 features doorways, especially with people standing in them.

I haven’t trawled my personal/family photos for a suitable one and chose instead to focus on some recent travel photos which “fit the bill”. All were taken in Zanzibar, famous for its amazingly carved doors.

Many Zanzibar doors have small doors built within the larger door.

Many Zanzibar doors have small doors built within the larger door.

And then there's the colonial influence in the attire of this hotel's doorman.

And then there’s the colonial influence in the attire of this hotel’s doorman.

225 Stone Town doorway

I love a semi-closed doorway -always makes me wonder what's behind it.

I love a semi-closed doorway -always makes me wonder what’s behind it.

Do go and check out what the other Sepians have written for Sepia Saturday 203

Shadow Shot Sunday: Shadows of Stone Town

Shadow Shot SundayThe restaurant and bar of our Stone Town hotel was on the roof terrace with a wonderful view over the harbour: just perfect for a pre-dinner drink as the sun set. The building profiled here is the House of Wonders, formerly a sultan’s palace. Along the waterfront, near the Forodhani Gardens, young boys were taking running leaps and diving into the water.203 View from Mashariki edit

207 shadows Stonetown edit
Why not skip over to see what others have posted for Shadow Shot Sunday this week.

In my beautiful balloon

Following on from last week’s post of our balloon flight in Kenya, here were just some of the animals we saw.

Drifting peacefully.

Drifting peacefully. That’s our breakfast being set up under the tree.

No great “Out of Africa” moments with herds of creatures below us, rather a defensive elephant mother, a pair of rhino and a startled young giraffe.

645 elephants balloon flight

The great thing about two balloons being in flight is that you can get one in your photos. The two rhino had gone into defensive mode while the ostrich appeared indifferent.

The great thing about two balloons being in flight is that you can get one in your photos. The two rhino had gone into defensive mode while the ostrich appeared indifferent.

The rhino weren’t a common sighting in the Mara but our guide could identify where they’d been in the photo, and with some assiduous searching we were able to find them the next day. Believe it or not, one of them was only a baby.

WHAT is THAT?!

WHAT is THAT?!

656 giraffe Im out of here

I’m out of here!

And after all that we got an exciting (read bumpy) and hilarious landing and a fabulous breakfast in the bush with eggs ordered as desired from the chef. We had great chats with the other people round the table over breakfast. It was a tough life on safari.

671 breakfast in the bush

676 breakfast to order

Shadow Shot Sunday: Up, up and away

It’s Shadow Shot Sunday so why not pop over and see what others have written and photographed.

Shadow Shot Sunday

While we were in Kenya we woke up one early to do a hot air balloon flight – another first for me. I don’t like heights, or more specifically edges, so I wasn’t sure how I’d go but I loved it!! Of course we were floating so low we could almost have jumped out, except for those voracious and carnivorous critters.

567 balloonist and light

571 Balloon filling low

Blurry trees in the pre-dawn morning light. You can see how low you can go.

Blurry trees in the pre-dawn morning light. You can see how low you can go.

Shadow Shot Sunday: Sunset Giraffes in the Masai Mara

How could I resist adding a giraffe photo or two today? My friends on Facebook are all having a go at a riddle, which if you get wrong, you have to change your FB profile to that of a giraffe to three days. Now I don’t see an issue with that, given giraffes are pretty handsome creatures!

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

So going along with the theme, here is today’s post: not my favourite photo of giraffes on our recent trip, but an appropriate end-of-day photo. These two guys were snapped as the sun set over the hills. They may look like they’re feeling rather amorous but in fact they’d been engaging in a protracted bout of necking. Unlike the 1960s human version, this is actually a way of ascertaining dominance of one male over another. Our guide said these fellows were not very old (teenagers maybe?) and were really practicing rather than taking it seriously.

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

In a serious bout, which this had looked to me, there’s a lot of bashing of necks going on. If the fight was severe enough it would be entirely possible to break the other guy’s neck.

So, an initially serene scene with a hidden tension.

It’s Shadow Shot Sunday so why not pop over and see what others have written and photographed.

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday Samburu and Kudu

Today is once again Shadow Shot Sunday and I thought I’d start the photos from my recent trip to Africa – Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar in Tanzania.Shadow Shot Sunday

We were very fortunate to do a few of safaris while in Kenya, the first in the Masai Mara National Reserve, one to Lake Nakuru where we saw flamingos, and one at Samburu National Park further north. What was great was to be able to see different species of animals, and ones that differed between the parks. The scenery varied quite a lot so we were so pleased to have the time and opportunity to take more than one safari.

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu. © Pauleen Cass 2013

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu -the shadows dapple his striped coat. © Pauleen Cass 2013

We were impressed to note that our pilots on the flight to Oryx airstrip at Samburu National Park were both young Kenyan women. One of our guides, Anthony, was there waiting for us in the ubiquitous open-sided Landcruiser and we set forth on mini-safari en route to Elephant Bedroom Camp.

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree.  © Pauleen Cass 2013

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Anthony was a Samburu man and I think that their multi-generational knowledge brings so much interest to each drive. His keen eyesight soon picked out a few Greater Kudu grazing among the shadows.  Initially we didn’t realise this was such an important sighting as we’d seen a wide variety of antelopes already. However it’s fairly unusual to see a Kudu as they are quite shy and generally stay in more mountainous areas.

They have beautiful markings and the males have quite impressive horns. The multiple twists of his horn suggest that he’s quite old but with his young ladies around he certainly wasn’t solitary as our animal book indicates.

In the midday heat they were enjoying snacking in the shade of the trees – can you blame them?

Breaking from the shadows the male shows  the "war paint" across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Breaking from the shadows the male shows the “war paint” across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Into Africa

11 elephants and plains_edited-1Skywards in September

Australia to Arabia and Zanzibar

Wandering like Joseph

Under African skies[i]

Animals from Antelopes to Zebras

Roam their own vast spaces

As nature intended

And not in a zoo

How can a giraffe

So very tall

Disappear from view

A mother lion and cubs

Ignore the circling safari

A lick, a snarl, a swaggering few

The leopard with in-filled spots

Ignores the enclosing traffic jam

Yet jumps skittishly at a twig

Thousands of Wildebeest

Migrate like ants down the hill

To cross the river en masse

A Samburu in pastels and beads

Shares the knowledge of years

With his curious visitors

Maasai in red, hiss and

Leap before the fire

Bring the watchers to the dance

Narrow Stonetown lanes

Ancients houses, carved wooden doors

Intrigue yet exclude the visitor

New days, new language and experiences

Jambo, Sopa

Asanti sana, Karibu

Lala salama[ii]

These songs of Africa stay with us

Though our passing presence

Goes unnoticed into Africa


[i] Reference to Paul Simon’s Graceland album and the song,

[ii] Jambo (hello in Kiswahili), Sopa (hello in Maa), Asanti sana (thank you very much) always followed by Karibu (you’re welcome). Security guards wish you lala salama (sleep well)…a greeting that can’t be returned, for safety’s sake.