The Daladala and Dancing

Trip Start May 11, 2008
Trip End Jul 01, 2008

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

I had intended to post a couple of days ago, and the entire blog was going to be dedicated to the daladala, my new favorite form of mass transportation, but I have actually been fairly busy and have not had a chance to do that. I think the daladala deserves its own blog still, so I will save that for a that I have free time and nothing else to talk about. However, I will start with my most recent daladala story.
On Tuesday I went to Mwenge to get money out of the ATM machine. This was my first daladala trip alone, and i was a little nervous. I left work around 1230 and hoped to be back by "home" by 6. The ride to Mwenge was fine. There was a very nice man who spoke good english, or at least I think he did but I could not hear him because of the rattling of the daladala and the grinding of the gears. The daladala station is just chaos in Mwenge, it is a major stop where everyone has to get out and change buses, so there are buses, people, taxis just utter chaos. so to find a bus to return home is always confusing. but I heard a guy yelling "bagamoyo, bagaoyo, baga-baga, bagamoyo" so I hopped on that bus. I always ask someone already on the bus to make sure it is going to bagamoyo or wherever I need to go. The ride home was going very smooth. the bus was full, but not packed, and we were not making stops every 10 minutes. About 2/3 of the way home, the daladala just stopped. The driver and the money collector guy jumped out and were speaking quickly in swahili, of course I had no clue what they were saying. Eventually other passangers started to get out. The driver opened up to look at the engine. I was not nervous, probably because I have spent a fair amount of time broken down on the side of the road in strange cities, but I was not really comfortable. By this time people were chattering a lot and getting angry.  About 20 minutes after breaking down two daladalas pulled up, I figured out which was headed to Bagamoyo.  It was of course jam packed already, but that does not matter, we all piled on it anyway. In all honesty I had been warned about the small daladalas but when the bus stop is so chaotic as it is, I was just happy to get on a bus going to Bagamoyo. And obviously I survived. So, that was Tuesday.
Wednesday was very fun! I worked as usual, and in the afternoon my roommate and I took a traditional african dance class. There is a dance and drum shop near our house where they make djembes. we asked them about dance classes. We assumed it would be just us dancing around in the grass next to the dance shop where any passers-by could laugh and where the neighboring bars crowd could make fun of us. But it was a very serious dance class. He took us to the "dance studio" in town, where we met up with the two dance instructors from the art college here. They were also taking the class with us. Two of the drummers from the drum shop came to play the music while we all danced. It was great! As soon as they started drumming all the kids about people around came to watch, so with the professional dancers, all the locals, and the professional drummers all around we were slightly intimidated, but I think we held our own. The crowd that had gathered seemed impressed anyway.  I am very sore this morning, but we planned another lesson for all of us again this afternoon. And I think we will do  it twice a week for the rest of the time here.
I guess that's about all... I am going on a safari starting tomorrow (Friday) morning until Sunday night, so I am not sure if I will have internet access. If not, you can expect a new post Sunday evening.
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