Day 317: In The City

Wed. 26th June 2013

Colourful marketIt is good to get back to something resembling civilisation starting with yummy fresh pineapple for breakfast. However, this is shortlived as trying to Skype home was toooo frustrating for words. I know this is Africa but we had hoped the Wi-Fi in the hotel would help us catch up with the world but it is sooo painfully slow (and we couldn’t even connect using my phone as we’re still waiting for the SIM to be activated). After a while we just had to give up and get out to see what Dar Es Salaam had to offer.

Let the sightseeing beginThe Lonely Planet guide includes a two hour walk around town taking in some of the sights. As per normal, to fit in with our other plans for today we walk the route backwards! Our first stop, I am sure you will not be surprised to hear was the coffee shop we passed yesterday. Once refreshed, we headed to the Zanzibar ferry port to plan our return here with the boys and Lucy in three weeks time. We were hassled and hustled with touts trying to get us to buy tickets or to show us around town and so we quickly moved on.

Not very reassuring sightWe walk along the road by the ocean to the smaller ferry port where we crossed yesterday. We get a much clearer perspective on how short the crossing was as yesterday we could not see out of the taxi window when we were on the ferry. There is no limit to the number of foot passengers allowed on the ferry and we even saw one ferry return to dock to collect a mass more people. I am glad it was a short crossing as it was so crammed we could not have opened our car doors to get out in a hurry. The rescue boat we spotted today would not be much help in an emergency.

Fishy businessMoving on to the fish market we wandered along the aisles looking at all the different fish including crabs etc. The fishermen were all keen to show their wares to us, the only white people around.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and some were amused to see us happily meandering through the crowd. A few stopped us to ask us where we were from and seemed to want to chat and not sell us anything, a refreshing change. It was quite busy and very colourful with all the ladies in bright outfits. We stopped a while watching the young lads playing football on the beach.

Court of AppealIt was almost lunch time and as there was nowhere obvious for us to stop we decided to head into the Hyatt Regency, also called Kilimanjaro Hotel. I took us on a short cut which went close to the State House and as I was contemplating cutting the corner off via a gravel path a security guard headed our way saying “Go Away, Go Away”, not in a confrontational way but in her best English translation but it sound stronger than it was meant to be.

Randomn five star hotelThe security guards at the entrance to the Hyatt Regency did not stop us even though we were in shorts and t-shirts rather than the suits of the many businessmen staying there. Being white does lead us to be treated differently in Africa, sometimes for the better and sometimes we just stand out as being tourists which we cannot hide or we just get called whiteman. As we sat in the hotel waiting for our lunch we comment yet again that inside a five star hotel you could be anywhere in the world. It was also such a contrast to the city life going on outside its compound.

Multipurpose boatLeft turn to the bar or right to the streets outside? We were enjoying seeing the city of Dar and so we chose to continue walking around town. This is the most strenuous exercise we can think of to get a little more training for Dave’s climb in a couple of weeks – it is now getting close! We headed back past the State House keeping on the other side of the road from Mrs “Go Away” so we do not get told off again.

Sailing Dar styleThe road led past the Ocean Road Hospital, which was built in 1897 and prominent in Malaria Research, and onto great tranquil views of the Ocean. This was such a contrast to the busy streets nearer the centre of town. There was a steady stream of tankers making their way into the Port as well as sailing boats, African style not megabucks style. We headed along the coast road looking for the Gate Posts of Eternity marked on my map but only came across what looked like two abandoned house gate posts.

Askari MonumentIt was soon time to head back down Samora Avenue yet again and to the National Museum but we decided not to go in as time was against us (have we said that before??) and so moved onto sight number one of the Lonely Planet walk, the Askari Monument. This was situated in the middle of a busy roundabout and erected to remember those Native African Troops who died in The Great War 1914 to 1918.

Sightseeing done, we collected our most expensive laundry to date and back to the hotel. We headed to the Sports Bar in the hotel which was still shut even though Happy Hour was advertised as 5pm to 7pm. Never mind we should be repacking anyway as we need to be prepared for flying tomorrow morning and hope we will come in below the 20kg weight limit. We have chosen the earlier flight in the hopes we will have some time to see around Nairobi, an even bigger city than Dar.

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