Weekend Rewind

Trip Start Jan 14, 2007
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Sunday, February 4, 2007

So I think I may just have a social life in Dar afterall..don't worry I still miss you all but I do not miss the cold weather everyone is telling me about brrrr! So I spent the weekend exploring the many facets of Dar.  Friday night after class, I went for a few drinks with a classmate of mine, Sean and his wife at the Yaht club.  Sean is 45ish, from England and has been living in Kenya for the last 20 years, he moved to Dar about 3 years ago and is a big shot at one of the largest security companies in East Africa. We sat around with all the other expat yacht club members and had some drinks over-looking the bay..so what I thought was going to be civilized night turned into a giant party..we sat there from 6PM - 1AM as our one tabel turned into 5 tables and champagne was popping and the drinks were flowing..I could not stomach all the drinks as the vodka tasted like gasoline so I switched to just maji (Water) and they were all yelling at me (the youngest one in the bunch) saying I was a wimpy American..our dinner was cashew nuts and beef jerky --really healthy! Anyway it was fun and I met a few girls who also are members at my gym and we are meeting for yoga this week!  So I finally got home at 2AM and ate a cheese sandwich and feel into bed..I had to get up early for my "Smell tour of Dar Es Salaam" in the morning.  I was meeting French Paul and our guide outside my apartment building and we were touring the city in a motorized rick shaw thing.  William was our guide and he was just super nice and welcoming, and he is just another example of the good nature of the Tanzanian people I have experienced, TZ's are known for their hospitality and warmth "Karibuni Sana" (All are Welcome) is their famous saying. We started out at the beach where all the local fishermen hang out, then to the fish market which was very much reminded me of the fish market in Seattle or down at South Street Seaport.  At this market there is a big division of labor and resources, such that the men ado all the fishing, the women sit at the auction tables and barter for fish to take back to their neighborhoods to sell, some women bring the fish over to the 'fish fryer guys' who buy the oil from the 'oil guys', and the charcoal from the 'coal guys', then the women bring the finished products back to the beach and sell it back to the fishermen for lunch! I was thinking to myself the whole time that this would never happen in the US..as one big corporation would take over the whole operation and that would be it the small businessman would be crushed. Sorry for that long explaination but I thought it was cool..we also tasted some fun stuff like nuts, fruits and some root veggies.  Off we went ot the St Joeseph's Cathedral for a brief visit and a bit of holy water to help protect me as we go back out to dodge the crazy Dar traffic (more on the traffic later as it deserves its own entry), then to the Karikoo market, very hectic place with everything you could imagine, they love the Mzungus there and show us their appreciation by doubling the prices as we start the bargaining..I bargained for a straw bag and with William's help I got them down to 1500 TSH from 2500..score!  We ended the tour with a nice lunch in the city center..then I headed home for a long overdue swim and a nap.  Sunday was wonderful, my colleague John took me to the beach on the other side of dar..we took a ferry after waiting in line in the car for well over an hour (for a less than 10 min ride across the harbor)..as we wait and the many street vendors and beggars bang on my window I ask John why haven't they built a bridge..he told me that the gov't has promised a bridge since the 60's..and they are still waiting..I say wow you TZ's sure are patient ;-)
We went to a resort beach called Sunrise, beautiful white sands, amazing breeze and another swim in the warm Indian ocean.  John is speechless as he watches me just dive right in and swim all the way out past the breakers...he keeps asking me "are you sure you know how to swim?", I assure him I grew up on an island (LI, not Mahattan ha ha) and my Mom threw me into the Atlantic ocean before I could walk..that also amazed him!  He told me he has never met a TZ woman who could swim like me! After a nice lunch of prawns and wali(rice) we headed home and after another hour of waiting for the ferry, this time I got some ice cream to help me bear the long wait.  Next time we leave the car at home and walk on the ferry and take a taxi or the dallah dallah to the beach.  Oh forgot to mention the herd of cattle that walked by and the camel taking all the children for a ride -- before you get excited I forgot my camera again!
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