A Gator in Dar Es Salaam

"Ex Africa semper aliquid novi - Out of Africa always something new" -Pliny the Elder

Monday, September 26, 2005

Weekend Recap

I enjoyed Ethiopian food on Thursday night. Not sure where you can get it in the US, but any big city should have a few restaurants, it was very spicy, but very good. Friday we had an orientation for international students with lunch included. Food was supposed to be served at noon, but by 12:55 I was eating a delicious meal of rice, fries, meat, beans, and water (Wali, Chipsi, Nyama, Maharage, and Maji). Friday evening I was going to leave for the beach to spend the night on the beach and get up early Saturday for a long day at the beach. But I decided to stick around for my Norwegian friends birthday. We hung out on the roof of our building starting around 8, with most of the international students, some Tanzanians, and even 2 Kenyans. The international students studying here this semester are from Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, US, Lebanon, Ghana, Canada, and maybe one or two others. All in all a pretty diverse crowd.

We decided to go to a bar frequented by ex-pats in Dar. We ended up leaving the campus at around 12:15. Somehow we chartered a dalladalla and crammed 20 wazungu aboard. The trip should have taken around 20 minutes but ended up taking close to an hour, because the driver got lost, not a major problem though. We arrived at Q-Bar just after 1 and quickly it was obvious that it was a bar frequented by local prostitutes and middle aged American and European men, so that was a new experience. Good looking hookers no doubt, but almost certainly HIV positive. The band was great, played lots of American songs with an African flavor to them, didnt finish until after 3. We left around 4 and their were plenty of taxis around so we bartered with a few until the price became acceptable, around $4.50 to take us back to Chuo Kikuu (University). So Friday night was a great time and my first experience out at a Tanzanian bar/club.

Saturday we left campus around 9 and headed for Kipapayo Beach, just south of Dar es Salaam. This a frequent tourist attraction and despite being located right on the beach, a double room can be had for $20 a night. We took a dalla dalla from Campus to Ubungo, from Ubungo to Posta, Posta to Kivukoni, took a ferry from Kivukoni to Kipapayo and then another dalladalla on to the beach where are friends had stayed the night before. It is a beautiful beach, white sand, green water and hardly anyone on it. After a few minutes some local men herded their cattle along the water line, moving them to a better pasture I presume, definitely the first time I have seen cattle being herded down a white sandy beach. The beach was also a lot of fun, lots of sun and then I decided to go back that night to sleep in my own bed, rather than potentially on the floor.

Got back to campus around 7 and was very eager to wash off in a refreshingly cool shower. Got in the shower, hung my towel over the rack, turned on the faucet and...nothing happened. Haha, the water was out from Saturday until mid-day Monday, so Im still preparing for my shower, got plenty of Indian Ocean Beach sand in my bed though. Sunday was the first day since I have been in Tanzania that I have had absolutely nothing to do, so I took advantage of that and did absolutely nothing, sleeping past 9 for the first time.

All is well here, someone from my Florida group got malaria on Friday, so that was exciting, just saw her and she is doing fine, kind of just a bad fever, although I dont believe you can ever give blood again. So my bout with malaria may be just around the corner, it seems the drugs the give you to protect against malaria are not really effective and most likely a scam by drug companies(shocking I know). So hopefully I will stay malaria free, although I wouldnt bet on it, as the longer you are in East Africa, the chances get better and better. Haha. Some friend from Brown and Columbia University just returned from Kampala, Uganda and Kigali Rwanda. They loved Kampala and said Rwanda was very sobering, but something that everyone should experience, so I doubt I will get a chance on this trip but hopefully sometime will make it there. Also met some students from the University of Nairobi in Kenya who invited me and a Norwegian friend to come visit anytime, just about a 13 hour bus ride, so very doable for a weekend trip. Glad to see the Jags won. I will be watching European soccer on Tuesday and Wednesday night with many Tanzanians and really looking forward to it.

Kwa herini,


  • At 9/28/2005 3:59 PM, Blogger Brenda said…

    Matt, you are so adventurous! Stay safe and healthy. Bill and I are so happy to hear your news. Obviously, you made a wise decision in pursuing this African dream. Interesting what you said about the drug companies. I recently saw "The Constant Gardener", which is all about the deceptions of drug companies in Africa. If you'd like, I'll send you the book.


Post a Comment

<< Home