Tanzanian capital

Trip Start Nov 19, 2002
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Trip End Dec 13, 2002


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Flag of Tanzania  , Dar es Salaam,
Sunday, December 8, 2002

Hello finally,

I'm enjoying this trip immensely, mostly because I'm going to four places and getting a variety of experiences.  I have to admit, it's taken quite an adjustment to live in the 3rd world.  Shift, shift and shift some more.  Last night I had an hour long email ready to send when the computer crashed.  A half hour later it happened again!!!  I was fuming....  Our whole quadrant of Dar had a blackout.  Apparently this is 3rd world charm.  I'm still assimilating.  It's very strange to say the least.  When I left the internet cafe, though, there was a quiet man sitting on the sidewalk outside...with no feet.

You get up in the morning, you're sweating.  You shower, you're still sweating.  You put on deodorant, sunscreen, bug spray, you're a sweaty mess.  You dress and sweat more.  You go outside sweat, sweat, sweat.  I'd have a better chance of stopping Michael Jordan in his prime.  Why even shower?  The temperatures by the coast are about 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) with 100% humidity.

To avoid malaria, I take medicine, put on bug spray and wear long clothes.  Every day I still get a few more mosquito bites.  Despite every precaution I can't stop it.  The best I can do is hope I don't contract anything.  Sarah's teacher friends say she's the best repellent because the mosquitoes all go after her.

Many of the 'Water Closets' here are merely a hole in the floor.  British humor I think - you BYO water.  And soap and paper.  On safari, I quickly learned to pocket my table napkins.

The main reason Sarah and I are in Dar is for her Peace Corps conferences.  So, for a few days so I went about town by myself.  A little bit unnerving when you consider I have no language and there's maybe 2% whites here.  But Dar has been good for this little bird to get kicked out of the nest.

On my trip home, I change planes at Nairobi airport.  That requires a visa.  So I walked three blocks to the Kenyan embassy.  It moved seven kilometers away outside town.  So I took a taxi there.  They say my passport will be ready the next day.  I leave and my taxi's gone.  So I take the "dala-dala" (bus) back.  Somehow I get on the right bus and make it back close to our hostel.  15 people on the on a minivan in very humid weather but it's do-able.  The next day I pick up my passport - now I'm ready to switch planes.  It takes an incredible amount of effort to make things work here.

Another day, I went to the National Museum where they house fossils and footprints from the Oldupai Gorge.  I actually saw the site earlier on safari.  It was interesting to read the evolution theories when you have all the artifacts lined up in front of you.  One exhibit showed how a zebra skull evolved in size from smaller than that of a cat.

I feel very fortunate to get this experience!  But it can be very frustrating at times.  Especially for a first-born, achievement-oriented single guy from the states.  Things just go a lot slower here.  Sometimes I'm grumpy and feel like complaining - but to whom?  The 95% here who would love to be in my sister's situation?  You can look at all the pictures you want, they just don't tell the story.

As harsh as the conditions may be, the people are just as wonderful. I'll tell you about that next.

Eric
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