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And then there is that unusual cruise, which I experienced in the Indian Ocean aboard an African-Arab dhow was. A trip that almost imperceptibly long past time led me from the 20th century into one, to Zanzibar, an island that seemed to me like a tropical tale of Scheherazade.

The air was impregnated in Zanzibar spice scents, and I suffered for days in the sweltering humid heat. Attracted by the smell of sweat, mosquito swarms attacked me incessantly, while it smelled like mold, garbage and urine. I saw veiled women were swathed in pitch-black cloth, and tall men in white robes, wearing colorful embroidered prayer caps on their heads, saw furtive eyes which looked through window with bars, while from the Minaret, the voice of the muezzin called the faithful to prayer.

«With every step, the I in the "stone town of Zanzibar made, I dived deeper into the labyrinthine old city. It went through streets and alleys, light squares and past houses and palaces with thousand Oriel Windows, where we looked at how much time they had gone away. Above all, Sun, wind and rain had causes the destruction of the ornate buildings. Balconies of rotten mangrove wood alternated with deprived intake gates and high walls made of porous coralline limestone. Here, the architectural treasure of a formerly rich city disintegrated.

«I was now in the Indian Ocean on the road for four weeks and was followed by a historic maritime Street, where, the Arabs were once not only spices, gold and silk, but also millions of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa, which is why this route as a "sea of tears"became known. I read about this historical sea route via
away everything that I could get into the hands, before I broke up in the spring of 1997, to Africa. In the port cities of Madagascar, I was looking for for days after a dhow sailed to the traditional trade route of the Arabs to Zanzibar. Only with the greatest persuasion I finally, succeeded to come still transporting spices, tea, dates, mangrove roots or dried fish across the Indian Ocean aboard one of those military glider.

The word dhow is a Swahili word of indeterminate origin and is still as generic term used for those wooden sailing ships that travel the African-Arab waters for more than a thousand years. They may differ in type and size, but all have a characteristic feature: the large trapezoidal sail. On the high seas, in the bright light of the Sun, since time immemorial, the huge sail cloths resemble sparkling Krummschwerter. They are held on the masts of long yards (crossbars), which are composed of several spars (round wood). Moreover, a dhow has a bulbous hull, a short keel and one heck of edgy. The high sloping mast which is inclined towards the pointed bow, must be very stably built to burst when diving into the stormy sea not under the immense pressure of waves. In addition, almost all dhows have a diesel engine.

Early may, after the start of the south west monsoon, I stuck with a nostalgic dhow sailors at sea. From Madagascar to Zanzibar. A distance of approximately 800 nautical miles. My"fare"was converted 500 Deutsche mark.

It was a great feeling when the large dhow left the port of Mahajanga, as the white triangle sail is unfurled and bulging filled. As a large seabird the dhow under the command of Captain Ahmed Salelahs by a foaming waves rug slid away, driven by steady winds. I squatted on the elevated