31 – Twenty-four Hours in Dar es Salaam

31 – Twenty-four Hours in Dar es Salaam

We had managed to refrain from vomiting on the ferry back from Zanzibar. Many others had not been so lucky, having to dodge the passengers sprawled across the floor to reach the side of the boat. The ferry’s TV played a safety announcement, calling upon Allah to protect us, followed by a film without sound or subtitles. We turned our attention to trying to spot dolphins. Not surprisingly, they did not show up – I don’t blame them, who would want to swim aside a sick-spewing ferry? Even the fishermen kept their distance.

We found ourselves a taxi driver who would not charge a “Mzungu price” and who knew where to find our hotel (good job he did – because the hotel was not where it claimed to be online!).

Our next missions were: 1 – Find food, 2 – Find a Post Office, 3 – Find a bank that would give us US Dollars (we’ve been collecting them as we go, for visas and for Zimbabwe). We have discovered that having missions when arriving in a new town is a great way of exploring and getting a feel for a place.

The guys paving the hotel’s driveway had been delivered plates of food (like those kids’ plates with different sections, only bigger). We went and found our own kids’ plate, filled with beans, spinach and Ugali. One was enough for the two of us, as is often the case here: the portions were enormous and the ugali very filling! Mission one completed (for only 2000 Tanzanian shillings, i.e. 70 pence).

We walked a lot during our twenty-four hours in Dar es Salaam. You see more when walking, plus, there was no point taking a bus or a taxi; the traffic was practically stationary and the heat unbearable. The ground was sandy; everything was so dusty. You had to watch your step so as not to fall into a gutter or trip over a slab. There was no pavement, they had been zapped up by the market stalls. Above us were umbrellas, tarpaulins and corrugated-iron makeshift rooves. The sellers did what they could to shelter from the sun, whilst perched on crates, stools or buckets. There was just enough space for one person to weave their way through the markets, dodging the fresh fruit and veg laid out on the floor. Every now and again you would have to duck underneath football shirts or climb over plastic basins – it was like an inner-city obstacle course. We were greeted with smiles and cries of “Mzungu, mzungu mzungu!”. We stopped a couple of times for fresh sugar cane juice (pressed before us) and fresh pineapple juice – both were divinely refreshing on such a hot day!

Here are a few photos found online of markets found along Uhuru Street. We walked the whole length of this street so many times that it became familiar to us. We now regret that we did not take any photos that day, though at the time, nothing struck us – the colourful vibrant markets had become our normality.

We accomplished all our missions that day. Arnaud became a millionaire when he withdrew one million Tanzanian Shillings to exchange into US dollars. The lovely Post Office staff stayed open just for us as we wrote, stamped and sent postcards and Christmas cards.

We felt like we had gotten to know Dar es Salaam over the past twenty-four hours. Though Dar es Salaam translates to “Abode of Peace” in Arabic, I would rather have called it “Colourful abode of heat, dust, traffic and bustle”.

3 Replies to “31 – Twenty-four Hours in Dar es Salaam”

  1. Welcome back – we have missed these literary treats and pictorial delights 🙂
    I hope you enjoy reliving and recording your adventures as much as your avid audience relish reading them 🙂 xxxx

  2. Woopee We’re off again; just what we all need. Thankyou Heather and Arnaud, hope you are relishing your recent memories!

  3. Agree with the above fans comments – when we can’t adventure writing and reliving it is like medicine to our souls. Lxx♥️

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