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.
I’m home safely from Mombasa (read on). I spent the week wandering around Mtwapa, Nyali, and Mombasa itself while my friend Anique was at work. I’ve been to the coast before but I have never had as much fun as I did this visit! I don’t have any pictures because my camera is dead… pole sana (so sorry)!
- Salsa dancing lessons
- Swimming in the ocean for the first time since April
- Bus home to Nairobi being attacked by people with crude weapons
- Kid on beach bouncing a dead, but fully puffed, puffer fish
- Being in a matatu (public service bus / minivan / taxi thing) which got in two crashes, the second one after the conductor and the door operator were yelling at each other about the first one
- Browsing a spice market and being asked if I wanted to buy something that would let me “touch the sky”
The Bus Attack
The bus attack was pretty hardcore actually. I was on the 10pm Mash Poa bus from Mombasa to Nairobi. Mash is one of the coach carriers in Kenya (think Greyhound). I think it was around 2 am and I was asleep, but I awoke to some commotion and banging sounds around the bus. People around me were wincing and ducking, and the women were yelling “Twende!!” (Swahili for “let’s go!”). At first I thought the bus was broken but then the guy next to me said something like, “Alan, they have crude weapons!” Sure enough the front windshield had two large cracks in it from rocks. It was over as quick as it had started.
I guess what happened is that there was another Mash bus with a flat tire and we had pulled over to see if everything was ok. That’s when the commotion started. There were a bunch of cars and police after about 10 minutes and we all got out. The other bus wasn’t as lucky, several windows were completely shattered and some passengers had been robbed/beaten, including the driver.
Karibu Kenya (welcome to Kenya)!