BootsnAll Travel Network

The Dhala Dhala adventure

Pimponi, where we are currently staying is a small town, not really town per se but a jumble of huts by the sea in Northeast Tanzania. Were staying at a really nice place called Pimponi beach lodge. They are like thatched huts you stay in right on the beach. They have a restaurant which serves great cheap food and everything comes from the local area including the fish and the fruits and vegetables. I had a huge piece of fish last night and it was around 4 bucks. Today we walked about 2 miles down the beach and there was nobody, just an occasional family walking out to there dhows which are little sailing boats they use here for fishing and getting around. A very unique thing about the ocean here is that when the tide goes out, it goes way out about a half a mile. Then when it comes in, it goes over all the hot sand which warms the water up to an increbile 90-95 degrees. That’s not a misprint, the owner of the lodge we stayed at took a thermomter out in the water. And when you go in the water, the first 50 yards is like a jacuzzi. Not exactly what you want though when its 90 degrees out and humid, although Christy seemed to love it.  There are monkeys running around which I just love.  Now that’s all for the “how beautiful Africa is” story.

Now let me try to describe the experience of us getting here to this lovely beach paradise.  We got to Moshi with no problems, the safari company we’re using had a shuttle for us and it brought us straight to Moshi, right to their front door. From Moshi to here we were on our own and had to use  African public transportation. The bus station was just pure chaos, we were the only white people there and it was just packed with people coming and going, people selling food, candy, clothes you name it they were selling it. And they carry everything on top of there head, Women carrying huge stalks of bananas or big bags of grain all on top of there head. So we get on our bus which is like a greyhound bus from 1960 and they just pack it until people are standing in the aisles with no room to spare. When its packed full and there is no chance of fitting anyone else on, they depart and off we go for 7 hours straight, stopping at little villages along the way. Things went fairly smooth until it started to rain and naturally the bus isn’t too water proof so we had to dodge some streams of water flowing in from the outside.

We then get to Tanga where we need to change buses in order to get to our final destination (Pimponi) and once again we just get mauled by people wanting to know if we want a taxi, bus, hotel, bananas. We tell them we need to go to Pimponi and they take us over to a dhala dhala, which is a minivan that that has seen better days. How this vehicle is still running is beyond me.  I go to get in, open the door and its filled with about 12 locals just jammed in there. Well, whats the saying “when in rome” so we pile in, put our backpacks on our laps and off we go…that is as soon as they tie up the door with a rope to keep it closed and from falling off. 

Two minutes into the ride the driver gets into a fender bender. We all sat in the minivan for about 30 minutes as the 2 parties involved screamed at each other. Finally we get going along this dirt road and the drivers door keeps flying open which he has to hold with one hand and drive with the other. Then the sliding door on the side of the van which was held on by rope starts to break away again from the van but luckily they caught it and tied it on better. We continue on, dodging bikes, chickens goats and people. At a stop sign the van putters out and dies. No problem, a passenger jumps out, gives it a push and we’re off again.  Along the way we’re stopping and picking up more people so I think we maxed out at around 15 people in a van built for 7…let me remind you that most of these people haven’t touche a shower in about a week.  Anyway we finally made it.  It was fricken hilarious. Christy and I were just cracking up and all the locals treated it as just another day at the office. Mind you, the people are as nice as can be, one guy had Christys backpack on top of him and he didn’t mind. That is what makes it an incredible journey and not a scary one, the people. Africa, Chaos, comedy and beauty all wrapped up into one pretty picture.

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