We’ve arrived in Dar Es Salaam. Dirty, hairy (my face), and with a little girl on our lap (Randi’s lap). Now that I’ve had a shower, a decent night of sleep, and gotten a shave at the local barber, I guess it wasn’t that bad (and actually, the longest ride goes to the thirty-hour Kenya-Ethiopia trip, and worst was probably the four-hours-on-a-bumpy-ass-dirt-road-stop-in-every-village Malindi–Lamu ride Sara and I took in 2007). Our bus from Moshi — the main backpackers’ town near Mt. Kilimanjaro — to Dar Es Salaam took longer than we expected, and by the time we arrived last night it was late and we were tired, hungry, and dehydrated. We must have been not too-bad off (or just in survival mode) because I still managed to navigate us to the YWCA hostel where Anique and I stayed last year. For future reference, out-of-town buses will drop you off at the bus station. As soon as you get out a million taxi dudes will be harassing you. Tell them this: “Wee, bwana, dalla dallas zipo mingi! Siwezi chukua taxi!” (dude, there are so many dalla dallas. I can’t take a taxi!). Just grab your bags and follow the locals outside the bus station and pay your two or three hundred shillings to get to the city center.
We’ve only been on the road for five days but we’ve been pretty busy. We spent Christmas day on the bus to Arusha and the evening eating delicious barbecued chicken at Khan’s BBQ). We immediately took off for Moshi the next day, just in time for Boxing Day, a day which absolutely nothing happens if you’re a tourist in a foreign city. Luckily there are lots of local people who apparently don’t celebrate it, so we had a nice Indian dinner that night. The next morning we went immediately to Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. It was raining and pretty miserable but the mountain was totally awesome. Lots of dudes were embarking on a several-day hiking expeditions to reach the peak. The National Park gate is just fine for me, thank you very much (and free, minus the bus to Marangu, then a taxi to the gate).
That brings us to Dar, where we are sweating like crazy and have nowhere to wash our clothes. Coastal towns on the Equator are so humid, I don’t know why people love to come to these places. Aren’t there other places which are just as beautiful but less humid? Speaking of beautiful, Zanzibar is. We’re not going there because it seems like a waste of money. It’s quite a lot of money to ride the boat there and back, plus the island is very touristy and that also seems like a waste of money. I think Randi and I will just hang out in Dar Es Salaam for a few days eating chips mayai (fried potatoes and eggs) and shopping for some clothes and souvenirs before heading back to Kenya via Mombasa.
You can try out for survivor now since you’ve had some experience with tired, dirty, sweat and humidity.
I think that bus ride permanently messed up my lower back, but Lamu was definitely one of the better parts of that vacation.