Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dar Es Salaam and Beyond

On our first full day in Dar Es Salaam we woke up to the gorgeous view of the bay right outside our windows. We ate a quick but filling breakfast and headed out to explore the city.  The previous night we were able to see some of Dar Es Salaam, but seeing it on a busy Saturday afternoon was completely different.  We stopped for lunch at a food court type place and enjoyed Chinese, Indian and American food.  After lunch Edward took us on a walking tour of the city and we were able to literally come face to face with some local people.  For me, the walking tour was the best part of the trip so far.  I was able to look at each person and see a piece of myself or someone I know from home in many faces.  Instead of seeing Tanzanians as on big group, I started to see individual people.  As we continued the walk, we encountered street vendors, a fish market and we learned that pictures cannot be taken of the President’s house.  We made it back to the restaurant just in time to miss the rain an hour or two of bonding time before we left in cabs.  None of us were ready for those taxis.  Everyone quickly learned that road rules are merely suggestions, and it is always best to buckle up.

After dinner that night, Edward welcomed us again and explained that from this point until the end of the trip we are one.  He told us there is no separation and each action should be made as one.  He also told us we will eat as one, which we did by sampling different dishes on the table. After dinner, many of us stayed up to go to the supermarket and talk about the trip so far.

Breakfast at the Slipway Hotel was great with the fried bread being the crowd favorite.  After eating, we waited for the trucks by playing the newly discovered version of Mancala and perfecting “The Stance.” We left the hotel and moved on to the market. As soon as we stepped off the van we were greeted by shopkeepers trying to sell their goods.  Some things were fairly priced, while others required some firm bartering.  Each shop was filled with sculptures, jewelry and art, but thankfully we only had 30 minutes and we couldn’t spend all of our money.  Some people turned out to be better at bartering than others, but everyone left with at least a new story to tell. After the market, we began the LONG journey to Iringa.  Although the trip was tedious, we came up with creative ways to pass the time.  Along the way, we saw plenty of baboons and some animals in the national park.  A little after nightfall, we reached Iringa and had dinner.  We also got to go to the pub and cheer on the Tanzanian football team.  Tomorrow begins the “real” part of our trip, and I can’t wait to see the place I’ll call home for the next two weeks

- Ashleigh