Jambo, tales from Tanzania

Posted: November 6, 2010 in Africa
Tags: , , ,

We made a not so swift exit from Mozambique, taking a painfully slow chiappas bus from Ilha back to Nampula. We had planned to take a private taxi, already arranged with one of the chaps who worked at our hostel on the island. Unsurprisingly he wasn’t on time and given the unreliable nature of transport, we opted for the safe option and took the first available bus. My bus anger raised its ugly head (4hrs to go 120km) but calm was restored when we checked into the hotel in Nampula and found a super king-size bed awaiting! We rose early the next morning and headed straight to the airport to pick up the flight to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The flight to Dar took less than 2 hours and the scenery was amazing, again. We flew up the Mozambique coast, endless deep blue lagoons and beautiful beaches. We landed ahead of time (incredible for African travel!) and took a taxi to our overnight stopover, Econolodge. What a choice – a sweaty, run down dive run by Indians (lots of Indians in East Africa in a large part due to colonial days) that sat at the crossroads of one of the most hectic parts of downtown Dar. Hustle, bustle and heat.

We had a few hours to kill so decided to go on patrol. We wanted to change the leftover Mozambique money and found a street tout offering a reasonable rate. We had to head back to the hotel to pick up the notes, so got back to the place just before dark.

Now this is where the naivety kicked in and looking back, I can’t believe how stupid I was. The tout (bear in mind this is quite a common thing in border towns and major cities with people on the street doing quick money exchanges) asked for the money and said he’d be back with the Tanzanian notes. He left us with his colleague so I stupidly thought it was kosher. He then reappeared at the corner and his colleague told us to go and get our money. As soon as walked over, the tout ran away and as we turned round, his colleague disappeared down an alley. Mr Naive stood nursing his wounded pride. Luckily we lost less than $30 but I was livid at having been stupid enough to trust someone I didn’t know – at least it has given me a wake up call.

To help me get over the grump, we went to a tasty looking restaurant called Garden City that we had seen on our walk. We ordered our own bodies’ weight in food and then reeled in horror when we tasted how bad it was. To make matters worse, our waiter had an inferiority complex and kept mocking how I pronounced the dish names (all in Swahili) – he even corrected Muneeza on how to say “biriani” which made us laugh. We left without finishing and needless to say, we didn’t tip.

We woke early again on Sunday morning and took a taxi to the bus station to catch the 07.30 Dar Express to Moshi, our base for the Kili trip. The bus was ok with basic air con and the crew were friendly. After 9 painful hours driving at full tilt over speed bumps (Tanzania has more of these than anywhere else we have ever been), we arrived in cloud soaked Moshi. The manager of Akaro Tours, the company we booked our Kili trek with, was waiting and whisked us to Buffalo hotel. Although the hotel had seen better days we crashed after a surprisingly good Indian meal and got some much needed shut-eye before the big day, the start of the climb.

Our next blog goes into more detail about Kili so stay awake!

Take care

love james & muneeza

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