Venture out into the village set behind the resorts. It's a tiny little village with one small main shop selling bare essentials, but you will see how the local people live. On the occasions we went into the village we were surrounded by children wanting their picture taken, to be picked up or swung around. This can be quite daunting when there 20 of them but they are polite and if you're uncomfortable just say no and walk off.
People are very friendly in Paje and we mat a number of great people, you just need to make the effort to speak to them.
Re-housing Hermit Crabs
As there is little in Paje but a small village and miles of sandy beach to keep ourselves entertained when the tide was out we would take a walk out into the shallows, find some nice shiney shells and present these to the nearest hermit crab whose own shell was a bit weather beaten and green. It's funny to watch them checking out their new home and cleaning it out before making his big move.
Keep your ear to the ground about what is going on in the village. There are often parties going on or football matches with other local villages which you can watch. Make friends with a local on the beach who can keep you updated with the local events so you don't miss out.
The football pitch is at the roundabout in Paje village.
As with most of the East coast of Zanzibar the tide goes out during the day for about a mile. This is when the local activity begins and the stretch of beach becomes alive with fishermen and seaweed harvesters.
Some distance out there are small farms where seaweed is collects around wooden posts stuck in the sea floor, only revealed when the tide goes out. This seaweed has been exported from Zanzibar since the 1940s and accounts for 20% the the islands export earnings.
It's worth walking out there to talk to them, although you best brush up on your Swahili. Generally they don't like to have their photo taken (other than for a small fee) but if you make the effort to talk with them you may be lucky.
Watch the Seaweed being Harvested
Everyday the tide goes out to the horizon. During this period the villagers, mostly women, head out and harvest seaweed that are grown on stakes pushed down into the white coral sand. The put the seaweed in big bags and bring it back when the tide comes in. Then they lay it out to dry. The color of the seaweed changes to a red or purple before it is compeletely dried. It is then exported to Japan.
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