A Travellerspoint blog

Dar es Salaam Again

This time I really see Dar

View Manic Mission Africa on ManicDave's travel map.

14th - 16th December 2006

Thursday 14th
We packed up (a mammoth task involving sweat, dust and exhaustion), paid (the bills were efficiently itemized), and waited for a ride back to Tanga.
Nothing drove by for an hour and the owner’s brother-in-law, a bitter twisted old man, reluctantly loaded us in and drove his Land Rover like Schumacher over the dreadful road. Jenna was terrified, I was shocked, and the tires didn’t make it.
We took the bus to Dar es Salaam, a cheap nasty one, which stopped everywhere on the way. At every stop, food would be handed through the windows and the floor of the bus quickly became a slurry of egg shells, peels, corn cobs and water bottles.
We decided to camp outside the city, instead of staying in suburban Kiriakoo.

Friday 15th
At 05:30 we rushed off into the city to collect Jenna’s airplane ticket from the Swedish Embassy. She had tried unsuccessfully over the last few days to speak to the woman who had the ticket. She was apparently ill, but would be coming back the next day, and the next and the next.
She got the ticket and we set off, relieved, for a French toast breakfast – hmmmmmmmmm.
We stepped into a fridge that had an internet café inside, and I met two American girls who I overheard were trying to get to Cape Town on a budget. 10 minutes later they had trains, accommodation and busses booked, thanks to the immediate knowledge I parted with. In exchange, they gave me the phone number of their friend called Sarah, who lived in Lamu.
We shopped at Shoprite (I was amazed to see mostly South African products at cheaper prices than at home) looking for Maize Meal (Nshima/Ugali/Pap). Jenna wanted to show her family what she’d been living on for the past eight months! To my surprise they were out of stock! So we bought goodies for a picnic in the park.
I found a dodgy hotel for the following evening and purchased my bus ticket onwards to Mombassa in Kenya.
To escape the unbearable scorching heat, we had a picnic in the botanical gardens after which we spent the afternoon inside the local Museum across the road.
I read the history of the MV Liemba, the German 100-year old ship that I will spend three days aboard, sailing down Lake Tanganyika from Burundi through Tanzania and DRC down to Zambia.
The account by a missionary was over 40 years old, but still as valid as the present.
There was a disturbing memorial of the 2001 US Embassy bombing. It consisted of the original shattered armor-proof glass of the Embassy, car and motorbike wrecks, and realistic looking heads jutting out from the ground.
There was also a collection of cars previously used by President Julius Nyerere: a green Morris Minor, black Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and a modern white Mercedes Benz, all with two flag posts on the bonnet, one for Tanzania and the other for a visiting nation.
The marine exhibition was fascinating, with a dugong, coelacanth and most sea creatures displayed suspended in formaldehyde (pretty disgusting).

While waiting for the ferry back to Kigamboni, I visited the fish market. Hygiene was nonexistent and the accompanying rotten smells were giving me uncontrollable heaving. There were some weird sea creatures on offer.

The ferry was quite an experience – the actual journey only lasted 15 minutes, but it took close on an hour to get everything and everyone on and off the boat.

That evening I met more volunteers on holiday, from Botswana and Chad, who worked for the Peace Corps. Also, and unfortunately, there was a bunch of typical Afrikaans Boere, who were horribly pissed. They told me they weren’t drinking Castle Lager any longer and were now on the hard tack, Brandewyn – Met Uys! (Brandy on the rocks).
During the day in Dar, while inside a taxi in traffic, we saw Sadiki from Zanzibar. Jenna tried to hide away, but I was interested to find out what had really happened on Zanzibar with Suleiman. He ran after us and I told him we were staying on Kigamboni Island.
That night he found us, out of a dozen different places we could have been staying at! He was still trying to get laid, begging for cigarettes and hoping to get us to come with him to the other Rastafarians. I had a dip in the sea to cool off, but instead got sticky and irritated trying to dodge the seaweed.
I then felt an excruciatingly painful feeling on my stomach. I wasn’t sure what it was but quickly got out of the water. On the beach I found the culprit, or one of its kind. A jellyfish had stung me several times all over my stomach, and it was stinging like nobody’s business.
Two girls on the beach suggested I urinate on the wound, and declined my request for them to nurse me with their pee. So did Jenna. So I ran to the restaurant and begged for some vinegar, which the girls on the beach then agreed to nurse me with...
Four Austrians had just arrived, fresh off the plane with their shiny new backpacks (I was once again jealous of their tiny packs and more importantly their contents). They were carrying a solar panel charger, with their iPod connected and playing cool tunes through big powerful speakers.
I warned them about the jellyfish, but they either didn’t understand or probably didn’t care.
They didn’t get stung.

Saturday 16th
I took a long run on the beach early the next morning, and had the cutest little puppy follow me home for 2km. I sprinted as fast as my exhausted body could take me, but he still caught up with me. I tried to return him to his owner, who was too busy doing Capoueira to notice his missing puppy, but the dog kept following me back to the campsite. I held onto him and actually considered taking him with me to replace Jenna. The Rastafarian owner ran past with his four other dogs and I had to give up my crazy puppy adoption idea.
I then met with disaster. First I ran to the toilet desperately needing to empty my bowels. There was no toilet paper so I had to do the bucket thing. Lucky I still had diarrhea so it washed off easily. The latch on the door was difficult to open, and in the process, I ripped open my right thumb. So I then went to the office to complain and get some goodies from their first aid kit. While walking out the busy dining area, my kikoi decided to fall to my ankles, typically when my hands were full. I lifted it up as quickly as I could, only to realise it had rolled up and was now only useful as a belt! So everyone was treated to my bright lily-white ass, and the poor old guy in front of me was trying his best not to look at my crotch, which was practically in his face!
There was a huge motorcycle rally being held and registration was taking place. I bumped into a South African living in Dar and he told me all about the race. They (200 plus riders) were given a dozen GPS waypoints and had to go from point to point, without a map, as quickly as humanly possible. It sounded just up my alley, but I was now in the wars and couldn’t possibly do it with the ‘loose stool’ problem.
So we did the 30 minute exhausting pack-up routine, but now I had given away plenty of gear.
I ditched my heavy Land Rover shirt that I was planning on giving away (I now hate them as I spent more time underneath my two 1966 forward controls than in them), my ridiculous torso pillow case cover that weighed 1kg, some more t-shirts and shorts. The cleaner was thrilled, Jenna was impressed and I was happy to be lighter but slightly pissed at losing the useful stuff. I had now realized it would be easier and more practical if I separated my belongings into two pieces. All the stuff that was normally attached to my pack now went in a duffel bag, which I could attach for walking and detach for putting in taxis. It would be way more practical that way. On the way out of the campsite I caused a few outbreaks of laughter when I told the open-jawed onlookers “yes, I know, I AM moving house; leave me alone!”

We got a taxi, ferry and another taxi to get to our dingy hotel, and then walked around inner Dar. We passed through a multi-cultural side of the city that was eye opening. There are three million residents in Dar es Salaam with an eclectic mix of Arabic, Indian, African and Swahili origins.
I was happy that I had returned to the city as it was not as bad as I was initially led to believe.

During our late Saturday ramble about the city, we stumbled across a blind band busking on the side of the road. The locals were fascinated, as were we, and their tip bowl quickly filled with crumpled up bank notes. In the evening we tried to find a Bollywood movie, but it was too far from our hotel. Instead, we settled on a last supper at a local restaurant. After an extensive search for an ‘undiscovered gem’, we settled on Chef’s Pride, which turned out to be a huge mistake. It had become a tourist trap, no doubt as a result of its Lonely Planet listing. The owner, who we called Fester (from the Adams Family) had over the years honed his skills to such an extent he could tell what country a Mzungu was from by hearing a single word, almost as good as I could. Before bed, we gave each other the last of the full body massages, including scalp and filthy feet, and I vowed to replace Jenna with something similar...
Jenna’s record of our itinerary over the past two weeks, in Finnish: Kaikki hyva loppuu aikanaan…
Oon matkaillut kyseisen blogin kirjoittajan kanssa viimeiset 2.
Lusakasta paastiin tuut tuut junalla suht lepposasti Dariin. Nopia briiffaus: aika ahdasta oli toisen luokan hytissa kuuden immeisen kanssa… Kahen ja puolen metrin korkeudessa keikuin punkallani kauhuissani yon lapi… Pusikossa vilhati kiraffii ja asemilla lasten valkoiset hymyt haikasi silmia. En ihan heti kokemusta uusisi; viimesena paivana tunsin olevani marsu liian pienessa hakissa.
Darissa vietettiin yo, ihan tarpeeksi kauan. En oikeen tykanny (voi olla koska liikuttiin illalla vahan kyseenalaisella alueella: Kiriaku. Ei kannata kauheesti pimian jalkeen yksin seikkailla…
Darista keikuttiin lautalla Zanzibariin. Ma rakastuin ensi silmayksella. Taksilla kun satamasta mentiin Stown townin lapi aloin budjetoimaan paljonko rahaa tarttisin jos sinne muuttaisin. Kulttuurien sekamelsa, kaikki on vaan niin tavattoman kaunista. Sokkeloisia katuja varittaa ihmiset, hunnut, hedelmat ja vihannekset, kasityot… Maailman kauneimpien ihmisten koti. Eksyminen siella on kivaa. Kannattaa kokeilla!
Vietettiin loppu aika hurjastellen pitkin saaren hiekkakuoppa teita vuokratulla jeepilla. Mentiin laidasta laitaan ja kulmasta kulmaan. Aika mukavaa oli, ihmiset kultaisia.
Taas keikuttiin lautalla, talla kertaa yon yli Pembaan. Aamulla saavuttiin paratiisiin… saari on kuin unesta. Vuokrattiin punainen moottori pyora, joka sitten vei meidat pohjoiseen, lapi pienien kylien ja iloisten ihmisten (ei me niitten ihmisten lapi kylla oikeesti menty). Pompittiin metsan lapi ja juututtiin mutalammikkoon.
Uitiin koralli riutalle ja katseltiin kaiken varisia ja nakoisia kaloja ja muita olioita.
Aikaa oli liian vahan koska…
…Seuraavana aamuna kelluttiin taas kohti Tangaa, missa ystava jonka tapasin Zambiassa seikkaili. En hanta loytanyt ennen kuin seisoin vihanneksia valkkaamassa torilla ja kuulin kiljahduksen. Han oli ananasta ostamassa. Vei meidat sitten kotiinsa ja me syotiin Davidin herkkuja ja juoruttiin. Ja ei sitten paljoa muuta tehtykkaan , piti palautua vahiten hektisen viikon jalkeen, me vaan oltiin ja nautittiin.
Sielta me pyorittiin Peponiin. Nimensa arvoinen paikka… Telttailtiin, tehtiin helmi ja simpukka koruja, maattiin tahti taivaan alla, poltettiin liikaa tupakka, soitettiiin paljon kitaraa, purjehdettiin hiekka saarelle ja kattelemaan lisaa kaloja, ja tehtiin koti yoksi rannalle; poydasta, hyttysverkosta ja tuolista.
Sitten me tultiin taas tanne Dariin…Tanzania on ollut hyva mulle, ja ihmiset sitakin parempi

Posted by ManicDave 09:16 Archived in Tanzania Tagged backpacking

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