Mto Kurasini

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    • Day 25

      Dar es Salaam

      January 6, 2023 in Tanzania ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      After my nice "holiday" in Zanzibar it was time to move onto the mainland of Tanzania which is called Tanganyika. As expected the process for boarding the ferry was absolute chaos, and then the process for reclaiming your luggage was even worse, but I eventually made it into Dar es Salaam.

      If I could describe Dar es Salaam in one word it would be noisy! This city is large, loud, busy, hot, humid, and chaotic, and I just loved wandering the streets. There wasn't a whole lot of sightseeing to do so most of my time was spent running errands such as booking bus and train tickets, and buying essentials. Each task was a massive job as I had to tackle the local transport system with no route maps or timetable information available, but I had a lot of fun just winging it by asking around and just getting lost, often with a bus full of people laughing at the "mzungu" on the wrong bus. Luckily there were always a few people kind enough and with enough English to help me out and point me in the right direction.
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    • Day 173

      Dar es Salaam

      March 24 in Tanzania ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

      I took the ferry ⛴️ from Zanzibar a few days ago to get to my last destination in my 6-months long trip: Dar es Salaam (I will abbreviate the city with Dar in the following). Actually, taking the plane ✈️ would have been cheaper but for such a small distance (it’s only a 30 min. flight ) it was simply too much hustle to go to the airport, deal with security control, baggage drop-off, baggage claim, etc.
      I would still have enough of that particular kind of fun when I fly home a few days later 😅 and taking the ferry was a more original experience anyway. After getting off the taxi and fending off some porters who were hell bent on carrying my luggage, I went through the checkin and security control at the port.
      In the waiting hall, I immediately noticed the many destroyed seats💺 Honestly, I haven’t found a single seat that was still intact although the waiting hall was only half full - maybe the unbroken seats were all taken already. 🤔 However, a close by porter seemed to be amused about me making a photo of some seats and jokingly responded “this is Africa!” 😝 On the ferry the seats were very comfy nonetheless. I used the time on the 1,5 hours long ferry ride to continue reading my novel 📖 about the characters experiencing the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s. So, time just flew by and before I knew it I was already in Dar.
      One of my uncles works and lives since 7 years in Dar. So, I planned to meet him during my stay. Thats why I also picked a Hotel 🏨 in the city centre (close to where he lives) instead of the more touristy district “Masaki” in the north. I was surprised how big and modern Dar was - similar to when I first arrived in Nairobi. The otherwise pretty green city is dotted with skyscrapers 🏙️ and houses with glass fronts standing next to wide tarred streets … I was again reminded of my European prejudices about life in Africa. 😕And another thing, I also immediately noticed: it is loud in that city - engine noises, honking cars, never ending announcements through megaphones from the surrounding mosques 🕌 etc. Well, staying in a big metropolis like Dar was quite different to the calm and relaxed atmosphere that I have gotten used to on Zanzibar, I guess. 😅
      My uncle works as a flight mechanic at Precision Air and had been called in for work on his “free” day. So, we could only meet in the evening after he had finished working. He picked me up with his car and we went for dinner 🥘 to Wavuvi Kempu at Coco Beach. The place seemed to be equally popular among the locals and foreigners. The location right at the beach front was as good as the food. For Tanzanian standards it was certainly on the pricier end of the restaurants 🤑 but coming from Zanzibar I didn’t feel much of a difference. The only caveat was that we sat outside and we had to be cautious of the rain. We managed to eat our dinner while the weather was still dry but afterwards we quickly had to leave because of an intense downpour 🌧️ The rain continued basically for the entire next day but I didn’t want to stay in my hotel room for the whole time. So, I booked a Bolt to the Slipway Hotel in the “Masaki” district. Some fellow travelers that I knew from Kenya and that I actually wanted to meet on Zanzibar got robbed in broad daylight 🤯 a few days earlier while getting into a fake taxi. They were forced to take as much money as possible out of the ATM. One of them even ended up in the hospital 🏥 with bruises and black eyes. Thus, I was wary of walking around and getting around in the city. I avoided any boda-bodas, tuk-tuks and random people offering me a ride to wherever I needed to go in favour Bolt 🚙 as one of the more expensive but safer options to use. The shortest connection between the city centre and the Masaki district led via the Tanzanite Bridge 🌁 It is an iconic sight in Dar that has its name from the blue lights it is illuminated with during the night.

      Fun fact: Tanzanite is a gem 💎 unique to Tanzania that looks very similar to Sapphire but is only 1/10 as expensive (on average).

      In the Masaki district, I went to the Lemon Tree Café to have a coffee ☕️ and do some souvenirs shopping afterwards. By pure chance I also passed the „Crafty Bee’s Brewing Company” - a pub with an affiliated brewery. I tried some tasting samples 🍺while I watched the first half of a football match between Norway and the Czech Republic. What else was there to do with a rainy afternoon in Dar anyways? 🤷
      My uncle had to work that day and the next ones as well so that we actually did not manage to meet another time. Unfortunately, workers rights in Tanzania are not that strong. That's why he and his colleagues work 12-hour shifts for 4 days in a row and then have two days off (if they are not called in) 😕
      There is certainly a labour shortage with regard to engineering jobs in Tanzanias aviation industry. During COVID many planes remained on the ground and the need for personnel was obviously marginal. Now capacities are being ramped up again and that leads to too much work for too few people. That’s why my uncle has good chances to extend his working visa in Tanzania until 2027 before he finally will retire. 👍

      On my last day in Dar, I just walked 🚶around in the city centre for a bit as it had finally stopped raining again. Like in Nairobi, it was not allowed to take photos 📸 in many public spaces … for fear of terror attacks, when I understood the broken English of a security guard correctly.
      Towards the evening I only sorted my luggage and packed my bags 🧳 in preparation for the journey back home.
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    • Day 28

      Journey to Mikadi Beach

      December 22, 2019 in Tanzania ⋅ 🌧 30 °C

      I arose after the heat of the night and delighted in a cold shower to cool off. We had a more relaxed breakfast and set off for our next destination, Mikadi Beach, Dar es Salaam, at 9am. We would be on the coast again ahead of our ferry trip to the legendary spice island of Zanzibar. We passed through more lush green countryside on a shorter journey to Dar es Salaam, a major town, shipping port and gateway to Zanzibar. Having stopped in the town for lunch, we arrived at our coastal campsite, Mikadi Beach Camp, which was right next to a lovely beach replete with palm trees and white sands, looking out to small islands and big container ships moored on the horizon. We pitched our tents and I went for a swim in the warm seas and then had a beer in the circular swimming pool. It was nice to have a relaxing afternoon and evening by the beach and was a taster of what was to come on our trip to the stunning white sand beaches of Zanzibar. The stars shone over the night time beach with waves gently lapping gently on the shore. I tried to get to sleep in the stifling heat with African music pumping loudly from an adjacent night club.Read more

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