We’re finally in Dar es Salaam and, despite the heat, we’re leaving no street unexplored! The road from Mbeya to Dar is long, and we apparently picked the wrong bus, because it took over fourteen hours to get here (damn, do we really need petrol again, for the third time?). It was kinda unnerving to arrive here late at night, especially since the out-of-town buses stop waaaay outside of the city limits (Ubungo bus terminal). Luckily Dar never sleeps (and I’ve been here a few times before), so we yelled, “Hapana!” (no) to all the taxi drivers, hopped on a dalla dalla (public transport minibus, like Kenya’s matatu), and found our way to a nice mid-range hotel with air conditioning pretty quickly.
Randi and I are back from our East Africa safari but, other than the few pictures we uploaded along the way, we have nothing to show for it! My fancy Nokia camera phone decided to eat all the pictures we took. There are lots of great stories to be told, though, like the day I swapped t-shirts with some dude on the streets of Dar Es Salaam.
It went down like this: Randi and I had decided Dar Es Salaam was way too hot and humid, and we hadn’t had a cup of coffee in a couple of days. We noticed a sign saying “Coffee Lounge” outside a fairly classy building in a nicer part of town (read: probably had air conditioning), so we went inside to investigate. It was there, climbing the stairs, that I saw a dude coming down the stairs with a shirt that said “Niko Juu!!” (slang, literally “I’m up”). He kinda paused when he saw me, and then I told him, “Wee, shirt yako iko poa. Tubadilishane?” (dude, your shirt is cool, let’s trade). To my surprise he took his off immediately and we traded right then and there. So if you see some dude walking around Tanzania with a Ramones shirt it’s probably the same guy. Hopefully he enjoys telling the story as much as I do!
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.