A Gator in Dar Es Salaam

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My Life...Since I last wrote on Here

Again, sorry for the delay in posting time, but anyone who knows me knows how important I am and how much I have to do to maintain my high degree of cool. I am going to try and include a picture on here of my roommate Daniel. He is the man, pretty much no way around that.

About 10 days ago, our team of International students took on a team of Tanzanians in soccer. I fully expected the game to be hilarious and a disgrace for us, considering that well over half of our 11 man team has very little footballing skills. However, thanks to superb play from our 3 Ghanaians and are Norwegian striker we ended up winning something like 8-4. I added basically nothing, but reveled in the glory. I also was extremely sore the following morning.

My classes are pretty ridiculous and we refer to our history professor as Bwana Historia, meaning Mr. History, because as far as we can figure out, he teaches virtually all the history classes at UDSM and knows almost nothing about any of them. Its generally fun and horribly sad at the same time. Last Friday, myself and some friends went to Italian food, called Jan's Trattoria(Im not sure Jan's is a typical Italian name, but this is a city home to a clothing shop called Jelly Disabled Fashion, not even sure what that means). It was pretty good food and I was pleased with my Pizza and spaghetti. The next morning, Saturday, I went looking for used clothes and my friend Olaf went looking for soccer cleats. We went to the Bridge, forget what it is called in Swahili, where lots of things can be found. But, unfortunately I didnt find any good clothes. I did see a number of University of Florida related merchandise, which made me laugh.

The election in Tanzania and Zanzibar for President and Parliament was supposed to be held on Sunday. Unfortunately an opposition candidate for Vice President passed away on Thursday so the elections have been postponed until Dec. 18. I actually dont think their was any foul play involved, but I have another 6 weeks of CCM paraphanalia everywhere. The elections were held on the 2 islands of Zanzibar(Unguja and Pemba) where CCM won almost everything. There has been violence there and video of police beating up people was on BBC International. This was kind of expected. Apparently there was some rioting near the Kariakoo Market in Dar es Salaam, so that could be worse right before Christmas. The TV stations are mostly state-controlled as are most of the newspapers so its hard to get full stories on many things.

I got 2 packages from my parents last week, one took a month to get here, no real suprise there. So for the last week Ive been eating the candy my Mom is so famous for and Goldfish, its very nice. Last Saturday I went to watch a football match with my roommate at this place down an alley near the Ubungo Bus Station. Im of course the only white person there, but no problems. Manchester United sufferred its worse loss in something like 4 years, so it was not good, but always fun to watch anything with 200 people on a little 22 inch tv.

I had to my first seminar presentation on Monday evening for History of North Africa. I met with my partner Erasto on Sunday. He is from southern Tanzania near the border with Mozambique. Very nice guy who has taught me some new Swahili phrases. I think our presentation went well, even though Bwana Historia looked like he wanted to die throughout the whole thing.

I did laundry most of yesterday and will do it today as well. I needed to do it about a week ago, but I didnt, mostly because Im lazy. Its actually kind of an enjoyable experience and you can only pull clothes out of the dirty pile for so long before you get completely disgusted with yourself. Last night I ate dinner at the Emirates Building, named after my favorite airline in the whole world, it was good Indian food and you eat on the roof, so its a pretty nice environment. I continue to have a great time, despite the level of my classes. Im going to be going to Arusha tommorow, we have a 4 day weekend for the Muslim holiday of Eid, the end of Ramadan, its about a 9 hour bus ride, and the low temperature there is something like 48 at night, so not sure what Im going to do for clothes. Its about an hour from Mt. Kilimanjaro and the long bus ride is supposed to be pretty beautiful. Im going to try and go see Kilimanjaro so I can sing that song "Africa" by the fine 1980's band Toto. May see some animals and we may also go to the Rwandan War Crimes Tribunal which is held in Arusha, that would be pretty interesting I think, Im going with my friends Rob and Kate from Florida and maybe my friend Kevin from Columbia University in NY. Its supposed to be a great city and very beautiful so I will post Sunday or Monday when I get back.

In the meantime...the BBC Focus on Africa radio show airs 3 hours in Africa and every hour they have a segment called "Why I love Africa" So I decided to write things about why I love Tanzania, and many of these would surely apply to other places on the continent. I will post them regularly for laughs and to give more perspective on my life here, maybe. Have fun, and glad the Gators beat UGA. I watched the game live, no...no I didnt. Maybe below is a picture of me and my roomie Daniel. Nibb High Football Rules.


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