Organs still intact...

Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
Trip End Jun 21, 2010

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Where I stayed
Jumbo Inn

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Friday, April 23, 2010

When I got off the plane in Dar Es Salaam the air was so heavy with moisture. I had to change my breathing style to get enough air.

Arrived at Dar Es Salaam airport without accommodation again. A local tour operator gave me the name of a few hotels and I went with Jumbo Inn. He grabbed me a taxi diver and off I went through the streets of Dar (Locals call it Bongo or DSM for short). Taxi's here only seem to fill up with enough fuel for each job. The traffic is full on, you push in where you can – there are no breaks in the traffic here… Horns are blaring constantly, its about 8pm and the streets are littered with people still, selling things, walking, mingling. I find out from my taxi driver that a good hotel costs 100pn and the best five star 200pn – my hotel was costing 26pn so who knows what im in for…. Travel through the streets to the hotel I cant stop thinking about Luke and his comments about waking up in a bathtub full of ice with my organs ready to be sold…. Nice…. The streets were dingy and packed with people standing around… the hotel looked dodgy J… very old, grills and bars on everything… guard out the front…

Guards were on each floor of the hotel but they just slept. There are guards everywhere here (restaurants, ATMs, beaches). Room was very simple – saw the shower and decided i could live without one for a few days,,,. My taxi driver said the area was very safe for me to walk around even at night. So I braved it (about 9pm) and wandered down the road – in the middle of the road, walking around huge puddles and people sitting everywhere. A few blocks up there were people cooking Indian food and kebabs at a road side fire and stall –smelt nice but I wasn’t game to see if my stomach would cope. I grabbed a drink and sat and people watched for an hour – families were eating there even at ten o’clock when I left.

The next day I headed to the Mwenge Village markets which Id read about on other tourists blogs. Locals sell crafts. The stalls are basically shipping containers and each container fits two stalls. Its very cramped and hot. Everyone calls you to come to their stall and once you are in they follow right behind you telling you what ach item is and say 'what price’ and you either just have to ignore them, tell them you are just looking, whatever works. They will ask for each item and persist until you have had enough and walk out (difficult cos there is no room and they are between you and the entrance).

I had to get some money and one of the stall owners decided he would take me himself (weighed up the risks and let him) so he helped me catch a dla dla (a rusty OLD van jam packed with people- Jump on jump off style) to the only western supermarket I saw in Dar. I got back to the markets safe and sound with my money and when I was finished wandering the same guy insisted that he find a taxi and bargain the price for me. So off we headed again. He took me through these dingy little alley ways to the locals market where they were selling chooks (people carrying live chooks around by the legs), smoked fish (reeked), hair braiders, piles of shoes… it was soo packed with people, loud and fast paced. True to his word, my stall buddy got e a good taxi price (local price $10,000 versus tourist price $20,000) and got back to the hotel safe and sound.

The roads are insane! Cars drive on the wrong side of the road, on the paths – I don’t think there are any rules… and in between cars there are even people sweeping the roads!!!! There is dirt everywhere!

I had dinner with another tourist from India who befriended me and wanted to introduce me to the best Indian dish. Worked for me because it meant I didn’t get harassed walking around as a single white chick – only one in the area, have only seen one other western guy.

Each morning about 5am I woke up to the Muslim prayer calls from the roof tops _ 95% of people here are Muslim. Most people are from Indian, Arabic or African decent. I hung out at the restaurant in the morning, watching people go about life. A young waiter abut 16-18 befriended me and taught me more of the Swahili language, about life in Dars (average person earns between 1,000 and 2,000 shillinga per day ($1-2) and rent for a VERY basic old dingy one room apartment costs between 10,000-30,000 shilling a month. I caught a taxi & ferry to Kipepeo Village which is where I join my tour group. It took us half an hour of sitting in a traffic line to get to the ferry. The ferry took 60 cars and about a thousand people. Everyone waits in almost a caged area on shore until the ferry is ready and then everyone rushes like mad to get on. Phew!

The island had many street side stalls – people everywhere again. We headed 10kms further into the countryside. The hotel Im staying at is beautiful – simple local built huts (cat remember the correct word for tem right now), vine shelters scattering the beach, brilliant blue waters. I spent the arvo swimming – the water (Indian Ocean) was so warm. An Indian family made me part of the family for the arvo so I spent more time learning about life in Dar. They have 8-12 hour power outages at the moment, so they only buy food for a day at a time.

Met my tour group – there are about half a dozen Aussies, 3 Brits, 4 Americans and one lady from Peru. There is a doctor, a lawyer, a physio, a chef, a security guard, retirees – ex school teacher; some newly weds, singles, widow and one couple married 42 years – so a very eclectic mix of people.

We had a welcome dinner together and I snuck off to bed early – my body clock is still out….

All good this end. Hope all is well with everyone at home.

Off to Zanzibar tomorrow.
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