Eat Dust Dodoma

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Sunday, August 13, 2006

Now Africa is starting to have a laugh, things are often late, but this is getting ridiculous.

I got to the train station at 7:30am for my 8am train. I obviously never learn. It wasn't there, and in fact didn't arrive till about 10:30 am. Everyone got off the train, and no-one got on, it's often a good idea to just 'do as the locals do'. I got talking to an English guy and we chatted while waiting to board. Then at about midday, someone comes past and tells us to come back tomorrow for 8am. We think it's a joke so wait a while longer, then someone else says the same. We confirm it with a rail worker and that's that, we walk back into town and get a room for the night. And a day to kill in Mwanza!

That's why I love the internet, it's a great time killer. We made the most of the evening though and had a great meal in a semi fancy hotel on the shore of Lake Victoria. Then when we arrived back at the train the next morning it actually left at 8am on the dot. I should think so too!

The journey was brilliant. Tanzania looks very different from Uganda which was really green and lush. Tanzania is far drier and therefore the landscape is much sandier and brown in colour. The locals in my cabin were great as well, they were very keen to teach me some Swahili and talked at length about the great attributes of African women. The trip reminded me a lot of my trip through Russia on the Trans-Mongolian train, it was just a bit shorter.

We stopped at Tabora for about 3 hours while connections with other trains were made and passengers transfered about. It was fairly late by the time we left so I just headed to bed, as did everyone else. This was great until 1am when the ticket inspector came past! He seemed to really enjoy making loads of noise and waking everyone up, I guess it takes a special person to fill that role!

I'd 'expected' to arrive in Dodoma the next morning, how foolish of me. Of course we didn't arrive till 2pm. There were buses waiting at the train station for people to head straight for Dar es Salaam, I decided that I might as well stay one night in Dodoma, plus I felt like I needed a shower.

It's important to know at this point that Dodoma is actually the capital of Tanzania, it really shouldn't be, but it is. And what I didn't know when I arrived was that parliment was in session. This meant that after walking a couple of kilometers in baking heat I found that all the guest houses were full, probably not with MPs but their drivers and other staff. I started to worry at this, since it's not possible to get a bus in the evening in Tanzania I had to find somewhere. Despite the heat I walked to another part of town and eventually found a bed for the night, bliss.

There certainally isn't anything to do in Dodoma, unless you work for the government or have a keen interest in dust that swirls around towns. The evening was a pretty quiet affair. Funnily enough I didn't bump into any other tourists here, I wonder why! It really was just a convienient stop over, and I'm getting out to Dar ASAP.
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