Africa Day 2: We have arrived!

Posted in africa 2008, personal, photos, travel at 1:45 am by wingerz


Day 2: 3/16, Dar es Salaam

We arrive early this morning off our second consecutive red-eye. We apply the first of many coats of DEET and sunblock. Abhinav arranges for three vans to take us through Dar es Salaam to the Skipway, a boatyard converted into a touristy area. On the drive over, I am surprised by the number of people on the sidewalks – walking, waiting for buses, riding bikes. The vans and buses are a popular mode of transportation, and they are packed completely full of people. I don’t spot any conspicuous foreigners for almost the entire ride into the city.

Our van driver warns us against holding our bags in our laps for fear of having them yanked away through the windows. This definitely scares me, not sure how likely this actually is. At one large intersection there are amputees begging for money at every island leading into the intersection. At another, a man pulls his pant leg up to reveal a bloodied bandage wrapped around his thigh.

The weather is hot and humid – about 85 deg F when we landed at 730am. I immediately regret not packing another pair of shorts. The sweat has made our griminess from not bathing a bit less noticeable. We see some beautiful views of the water on the way to breakfast. There is lots of vegetation including some beautiful flowers (orange trumpet-shaped blossoms). Breakfast (eggs and toast) is simple but satisfying. We head back to the airport to catch an hour-long flight to Arusha on a small dual-propeller plane, four seats across. They serve mini-sandwiches, hopefully I won’t regret eating them.

The Arusha Airport is tiny. The baggage claim is a luggage cart, hauled over by an airport worker. Mt Meru looms above, its summit obscured by thick clouds. The drive into Arusha takes us through neighborhoods of decrepit buildings – many of them adorned by Tigo logos (Tigo is a popular mobile service provider). Assorted scenes – vegetables for sale laid out on blankets, a guy urinating by the side of the road, lots of people out and about, riding bikes. The downtown area looks like it’s in better shape.

Travel time so far:

5 hours to London
14 hour layover
9 hours to Dar
5 hours layover
1 hour to Arusha

We look forward to a shower, decent meal, and a good night’s rest.

1 Comment »

  1. ~wingerz » Africa Day 16: Going home said,

    November 29, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    […] by aggressive vendors. Driving through Dar yesterday evening seemed a lot less intimidating than on the first morning. The unfamiliarity has faded away, but we still wouldn’t venture out on our own. I will miss […]

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