Almost 50 years of Tanzanian history in one photo

Glimpsed on the street in Stone Town, Zanzibar, on one of my microfinance trips:

The green and yellow sign ("I love Zanzibar, vote yes for me, choose CCM, choose Dr. Shein") is a campaign ad from Tanzania's ruling CCM party (from the Swahili abbreviation for "Revolutionary Party").

Giant signs like these are everywhere. On major roads, you might easily see five or six at once.

Since the dawn of Tanzanian independence, the CCM and its predecessor have run things from day one, even when that necessitated rigged votes and occasional electoral massacres (including one here on Zanzibar as recently as 2001). But that doesn't mean an election isn't a chance to spend some public money to tell the public whose money you're spending about how wise you are with the public's money.

And while there's a major opposition party gradually gaining support among the business class in Arusha and Mwanza, everybody already knew who was gonna win this one, just like always.

Sure enough, President Kikwete of the CCM was re-elected by a 35-point margin.

And so the people below the powerful smiling heads continue their long slow heavy slog uphill.

Zanzibar: The Unanswered Questions re Patty Duke’s Cousin

This is the scene immediately after arrival in Zanzibar, the exotic spice island and historic crossroads of East Africa, as you step off the morning ferry from Dar es Salaam. Could this possibly be any more colorful?

You're practically atop the equator with some of the cleanest air in the world overhead.  On a clear day, your eyes almost vibrate from the intensity, even just walking down a random alley.

Btw, I don't like to admit this, but I wound up humming the 1960's Patty Duke Show theme ("from Zanzibar… to Barclay Square!") for the first few minutes.  Sorry to be such a tourist, but there it is.

Which brings me to a fun fact that wildly improves Patty Duke Show reruns on TV Land:

Barclay Square (which is the lyric, per any source you check) is in Tartu, Estonia

Once you consider what this means for the sitcom's mythology, that's fantastically weird.

What the hell was Patty's mysterious British cousin Cathy Lane doing in Estonia under Soviet rule, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis, right at the height of the Cold War?

Espionage.  Had to be.

This whole innocent sitcom suddenly reeks of intrigue. All the hiding and confusion and pretending to be other people — it's hard not to start imagining that this was the classic development of an intelligence "double."

Y'know who else was in the Soviet Union in 1962 and suddenly came back? Lee Harvey Oswald, that's who.

Plus, Cathy's father was the Chronicle's "foreign correspondent." Probably his CIA or MI5 cover. So he could go overseas and keep an eye on his psycho sniper daughter.

And suddenly the "identical cousin" thing starts making a lot more sense.  Plastic surgery to create a cover?  Probably.

Then again, once the third cousin, Betsy, showed up in the second season, looking like a total clone of the other two… you have to wonder about genetic engineering.

Dear gods, how many other mind-controlled identical cousins were wandering around, awaiting their orders?  What were their masters planning?  And was their evil plot averted when the show was cancelled?  Or did they just go underground…?

But I digress.  Zanzibar.  Really beautiful.  Even if Cathy Lane was once based here to covertly monitor Soviet arms smuggling in East African shipping lanes.