Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
I am here in Dar Es Saleem, safe and sound. Yes, the trip was long but at the moment I seem to be on local time. We stayed up until, I guess, midnight and I awoke with the sound of birds. The extraordinary cacophony of sound reminds me so much of my time when living in Honolulu. I am sure some of the same type of birds must live here.
I arrived around 10 pm last night. Walking off the plane into the gateway had the same effect as Hawaii, hot air hitting me – DIVINE. The airport is a simple one, not a great deal of light, but enough to show my Visa and pass on to get my luggage. Amazingly enough there were more than 30 people off my plane who were lining up to get a VISA. Thank heavens I did that paperwork before.
When, I checked in at the beginning of the flight in SF the clerk said: “your luggage is checked through to Dar Es Salaam.” It always seems amazing to me that we (those with technical skills) have worked out such logistics. Yes, I know, it has been this way for some time but I do marvel. Thus I wasn’t surprised when I ambled over to a tiny baggage claim that there sat my suitcase and the one I brought for Rube, Todo’s sister who lives in SF. (Traveling to Tanzania I am allowed two bags at 50 lbs free.) And, as expected the luggage was here. I remember when I did all that travelling for Expo 86 never once did I have a bag missing. Thankfully that karma continues.
Todo, Martin’s mother and Martin met me. There was a mass of people outside immigration/baggage claim. Todo is small in stature but powerful in person. She saw me, through the crowd – called, I saw her – and instantly I watched her weave through this mass like an urchin and voila there she was as I got into the crowd. Tall, handsome Martin appeared seconds later. They are such wonderful people, warm, enthusiastic and so welcoming. I am very happy to reconnect with them.
At the same time my plane arrived Todo’s brother happened to arrive from Arusha – northern part of Tanzania. Pereus works for the Bank of Tanzania (the Federal Reserve would be the name in the US) in Arusha and commutes. His young family, daughter 16, son 12 and wife live in Dar Es Salaam. Starting this week is his annual vacation, perfect timing for Martin’s wedding and the festivitie. Todo and I followed him as I am staying with the brother and family for the first week. Todo says her house is just too chaotic. She is making people’s dresses for the wedding, has her 87 year old mother with her now and Rube.
The airport is a fair distance from where I am staying. Driving has the same system as London. In my parlance, driving on the wrong side of the road. We followed the Pereus’ car giving Todo and me a chance to catch up. Most of the focus being Martin and the upcoming wedding. Rube, the sister, who lives in SF – has been here for a week. She is in the north part of Tanzania at the moment where the family’s tribe is based, visiting relatives and will be back tonight.
Tanzanians love to sit, eat and talk – so late as it was we tied into Plantains which when cooked taste like potatoes. I was hungry and down the food. Pereus, SR. told me he is arranging a very exciting safari for me (and others). We will go to Arusha and visit, from there, the Ngorongoro Crater which friends in SF told me if I do only one tourist visit this is the one. Well, already they have it planned.
Soon it was time to go to bed. Before doing so we installed my mosquito netting, amongst much mirth. It’s white and gives the effect of an old fashioned bedroom with hanging curtain around the bed. All night a fan kept me cool. Yup, it’s hot here and I love it.
More later. The photos attached were taken last night just after I arrived. Unfortunately the one of Todo was not flattering so I deleted it.