Tuesday, December 11th – getting over jet lag and planning tours
My first day in Dar Es Salaam, I spent mostly sleeping. Finally late in afternoon I awoke. I wanted to go exploring but was mindful of the cautions of not walking out by myself. So, Paulyn, a mature and very attractive 16 year old, and her friend, Dorah, another beauty who is studying to be a tour guide and lives in an apartment below, took me for a walk around the neighborhood, called Sinza.
The neighborhood roads are dirt and filled with an uneven surface (humongous dips). A car can drive no faster than five miles. Whereas the main roads are paved but have frequently reversed bumps to stop traffic from going too fast. A very smart move even though it means driving across Dar is a slow undertaking. The traffic is also a part of the slowness. The paved roads are jammed with vehicles of every sort.
Laura, our tour guide, seemed to be having fun guiding us up one dirt road and down another go. Eventually we reached a paved road and the five o’clock chock a block traffic.
In this neighborhood there are families at every economic level. And, all long each street there are tiny stores, some selling ice cream, some selling stationery, outdoor bars, fruit stands, and much more. My hosts live in a gated community. The neighborhood is Sinza. The apartments are very simple, spacious and with limited kitchen facilities. There is no shower with running hot water. But it matters not. It’s so hot outside that the water is room temperature. We use a large measuring type cup to scoop water from large pails and pour the water over our sweaty bodies. Works just fine! Each room has a big fan that runs continuously.
In this household there is a steady stream of visitors dropping by. Each time I come out of my room or back into the apartment someone new has arrived. Pereus has eight sisters, one of which is Todo. You can imagine that with this being wedding week everyone is involved in making it a success. Pereus apartment is grand central (Todo lives in the outskirts of Dar) so there is continual cooking for everyone to eat. Bananas are the base of the cooked food. The dishes are delicious – mixed with rice and spices and meat. Sometimes there are only cooked vegetables – I especially like a green vegetable that is a bit like spinach. No matter what, there is always food and bottled water for those who drop by to eat.
I am being very careful to avoid fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and salad makings. Kind of sad because the variety of fruit is extraordinary! However, I have no interest in attracting Motezuma’s revenge! So, each morning I am taking my grapefruit seed pill along with my malaria pill to keep me in excellent health. Breakfast is a boiled egg, toast and tea. Sounds like a diet doesn’t it! But no, it’s good energy.
At the end of our walk I suddenly had the idea that the young woman, Dorah, who is training to be a tour guide, might enjoy taking on this responsibility for me while I am staying in the apartment. To my delight she said yes. Paulyn is joining us.
After our saunter, tiredness crept into my body. Not before I was able to send e-mails. There is an internet connection system – AirTel – which offers (at a cost) a plug-in for the USB port that provides internet access. Dorah had an extra one. I sent two e-mails off to family and a couple of friends and went to sleep. Clunk.