BootsnAll Travel Network

Dar Es Salaam

Yo, all. I’m writing this the same day, from the same place as the last entry, from Nairobi, but I thought you all could use a break. The cities I’m visiting are largely impenetrable, because of the obvious language barriers – in Dar it’s mostly Swahili, but also Arabic and Hindu. I’m having some feelings that I’m only skimming the surface because I’m moving so fast at this point. And I’m severely limited, being a female on my own – going out after about 6pm is out of the question unless I meet people. Got a single room at a travelers- hotel, only a few cockroaches, but have had difficulty meeting people for the last few days due to no hostels. Nice to have my own room though.

Dar is a pretty multicultural city, but I have errands to do here – Internet, buying a sleeping bag and mat for my safari, changing my plane ticket, stocking up on stuff, etc. The first day was fine. Was awoken at around 5am by the Muslim call to prayer – very cool! It was one of those moments on the trip where it occurred to me just how far away from home I am. Laid in bed worrying about handling myself in the big, bad city for a while. It really is exhausting to be constantly vigilant, but I knew that would happen I suppose. At the beginning of the day, no biggie, by the end, exhausting.

So, left the hotel, and pretty much every man on the street says, “hello sister,” or more commonly here “Jambo,” which is a greeting they give tourists who don’t speak Swahili. The slightest acknowledgement leads to more unasked-for attention. Another common one is “mzungu,” which means “white person.” On Day 2, I wore jeans instead of the a-little-longer-than-knee-length skirt I wore the day before, and got less attention. I’d rather be hot (it was 90 degrees) than harassed.

Day 2: Not a good day. As I said before, I had to pick up a sleeping bag and mat for my safari. I sensibly got a taxi from my hotel to a big store called Shoprite, as the area I would’ve had to walk through was unsafe. Guys trying to sell stuff often walk between the cars, and I noticed one approaching, selling of all things, stickers. Cool! Because I had this great idea to cover my water bottle with the stickers of all the countries I visit and was having difficulty finding them. How convenient. So, I bought a Tanzania one, and the cab driver was like “No, don’t do that,” and then “Put your wallet away!” RIGHT after I bought it, which I promptly did, in my bag at my feet, thank goodness. Because not 30 seconds later, the same (I assume) guy who sold me the sticker ran up behind the car, reached in and grabbed my neck, trying to get the gold St. Christopher necklace given to me by my parents for safe travels. Oh, the irony. I yelled and reached up in time to grab it, but not before he broke the chain and scratched the shit out of my neck. It looks today like I have a huge hickey. The cab driver was like, “Those fucking fellows” over and over, and patted my knee when I started to tear up. He said that’s why he told me not to buy the sticker, cause apparently these dudes just use it as an opportunity to case you. It could have been much worse though – thank goodness my wallet was out of reach. It was my back-up wallet anyway, the one I keep very little money in, just in case of situations like these. Never thought something like that would happen to me though. It sucks because it was a meaningful necklace, but I will be sending it home from Singapore with other things.

That night, I met some people from the hotel, an American guy and German girl to have dinner with, and we ended up having a nice time, and going to a locals/travelers bar around the corner from the hotel, where I added three labels to my ongoing “beers of Africa” collection, so it ended up OK. Left Dar early in the morning for Nairobi, where I now sit writing. Today, I look for a new swimsuit, cause somehow I managed to leave mine in Tofo (MYOB), and meet my safari group, so it will be at least a few weeks before another update. Till then, love to youse all. xxx


-12 responses to “Dar Es Salaam”

  1. kirstin says:

    Well, the safari will be all the sweeter for the difficulty you endured to get to it! I hope you see many more wonderful things.nrnrOh yeah, why didn’t you blog about the mice on sticks?nrxoxo

  2. Barrett says:

    M still like yer blog. Oh, and there’s a new Ryan Adams out tomorrow. Guess what? No songs about Mozambique! You = were right!

  3. KIRSTIN says:

    I have no idea what nrnr means. Apparently it’s some computer’s interpretation of the return key.

  4. Kady says:

    Check here for more culinary suggestions. And a photo of the Malawian mouse treat.

    You’re going to Laos, right? Look for bats on sticks.

    “In Africa, one rarely farts with confidence …” Sam Kiley.

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