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Africa » Tanzania » East » Dar es Salaam July 1st 2019

"Karibu!", greeted the Emirates flight attendants as we got off the long, but comfortable 18-hour plane ride. The Swahili word, meaning "Welcome", was emblazened on the roof of the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, and it concisely captures the warmth and hospitality we repeatedly came to expect of the Tanzanian people. The sterile airport entrance, coated with Western-style excessive security, begat a disorderly stampede reminiscent of an Indian temple or train station at the visa office. This was the location of the first snafu of the trip - we had been told adamantly by our program directors to ask for an ORDINARY visa, yet the officers insisted we obtain a STUDENT visa, which was $50 less expensive. After ~10 minutes of pleading our case to a guard who spoke little English, another kindly ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » East » Morogoro January 3rd 2019

The coach journey to Morogoro was uneventful and fairly comfortable. We were dropped of at the bus station a few kilometres out of town and soon found a taxi to take us to url=https://www.booking.com/hotel/tz/mama-pierina-restaurant-and-annex.en-gb.html?aid=311984&label=mama-pierina-restaurant-and-annex-EHc6xU543Vm%2AodaAYd%2AKvAS267243797164%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1%3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap1t1%3Aneg%3Afi%3Atikwd-340642062868%3Alp1010225%3Ali%3Adec%3Adm&sid=3e56f1da2f1e9deaf95aad2a6d91d074&ucfs=1&srpvid=c5ea827d3fd50072&srepoch=1548441210&hpos=1&hapos=1&dest_id=-2569841&dest_type=city&sr_order=popularity&from=searchresults;highlight_room=#hotelTmplMama Pierina’swhere we had arranged to stay for a couple of nights. The accommodation is very basic but then the price reflects that, and the climate is so humid that only having cold water in the shower was more of a blessing than a curse. There isn... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » East » Dar es Salaam January 1st 2019

So, Dar Es Salaam is not the capital city of Tanzania? Well, you learn something every day. It sure looks like a capital! It turns out that Dodoma is the actual capital but Dar is where everything happens. We opted for a bit of comfort for our stay in the city. The Tanzanite Executive Suiteswas certainly that. We had a MASSIVE suite complete with its own kitchen - not that we used it other than for washing our clothes and utilising the fridge! It was a very good choice ahead of some of the backpacking hardships we were anticipating in the weeks to come. The hotel is located very close to the city's main mosque. Although the country is not specifically Muslim, this area is. Several other mosques were in close proximity but we were never ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » East » Pangani January 24th 2018

Muheza A heavy storm woke me and 5 minutes later my alarm went. I’d intended to get a bus leaving Dodoma at 6, not fancying going anywhere in this weather I re-set my alarm and when it went again at 6:55 I got my shit together. I was on a boda to the bus stand at 7:40. Asking for Morogoro I was surprised to be shown to a big old ‘Raha Leo’ bus, yesterday I was told only smaller buses plied this route but like yesterday the fare was 12,000Tsh as quoted. At bang on 8am the less than half full bus hit the road as the heavens opened once more. The rain was really bad; 2 hours out of Dodoma along the Morogoro road the tarmac disappeared below the water for 50 metres ... read more
42 clicks to Pangani
The big yellow boozer and over "friendly" waitress, Muheza.
Bus to Pangani

Africa » Tanzania » East » Lushoto December 9th 2017

What this area is really known for is its hiking. There are numerous day trails one can take as well as hikes that last from three to five days through the Usambara mountains. Looking through Jackson's guest book, it was not surprising to see that almost all of his guests were European - the majority German with a smattering of French, Swiss, English and Belgium. We had to go back over a year to find the last visitor from North America. Jackson's map revealed a path that lead from our lodge to the Irente farm, then up to the Viewpoints before looping back to the lodge. He had distances listed but I was skeptical. Remembering our hikes in Asia, I knew caucasians were always told that routes were somewhat shorter than in reality. Attempting to not ... read more
Yogai Viewpoint
Lunch platter at Irente farm
My Dance floor

Africa » Tanzania » East » Dar es Salaam December 2nd 2017

African proverb: To the child, a mother gives her blood, (heart). The father his spirit, (soul). We spent three days in Dar es Salaam and this gave us the opportunity to adapt to the climate, the culture, the time change, and simply to being on the road again. Starting with the time, we left Vancouver early Tuesday morning and arrived in Dar late Wednesday night. Total flight time - 28 hours. Plus, flying east we lost another 11 hours. We slept from midnight Wednesday, right through all of Thursday, staggering up only for our free breakfast in our hotel, the Iris, and to stagger out for dinner. The former included a Spanish omelette, a bowl of fruit, glass of passion fruit juice and some very dark, strong, excellent, African coffee. Dinner we ate at a street ... read more
Our First Dinner in Dar - BBQ
Muslim Holiday Dec 1st
Skyline of Dar

Africa » Tanzania » East » Dar es Salaam November 4th 2017

A lizard runs by with his tail cut off. I wonder whether it hurt. Was it a mean man with a machete, or an attempted bird attack? He scurries under a tropical bush, lush with brightly colored flowers. Perspective. My own tail, often between my legs, but sometimes cut off entirely, is irrelevant when there’s a safe space to which I return. For the last two weeks, I have been stuck in Dar es Salaam at Peace Corps discretion because of the continued security incidences in my village. Even after having two girls occupy my outdoor kitchen area when I’ve been away, thieves managed to break through my bedroom windows. They cut the locks on my valuables case, and somehow scaled the walls to unlock various doors after finding my hidden keys. Solar panels, jewelry, and ... read more
This guy got to know us, we came so much
Our Tanzanian Counterparts in Community Theater
All I wanted for my birthday was to eat unlimited ice cream!

Africa » Tanzania » East » Morogoro October 30th 2017

I wipe sideways down my cheek. Brown. Step by step, I continue my walk, returning from the closest neighboring Peace Corps site, about 4 miles away. Blowing snot into a tissue, I see the contents of my nose. Brown. The road, the fields, the houses, the few plants still barely living: all brown. It hasn’t rained more than a mist since April. Everything is coated in a thick layer of dust. Harsh winds blow the eroding soil into my mouth, my eyes closed tightly, praying the wind will die down so I can finish my walk in relative peace. It’s as if the winds wait until the earth is most vulnerable to unleash their wrath. If tumble weeds existed here, we’d all be buried in them. The rainy season usually comes in November. By October, clouds ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » East June 2nd 2017

Grandparent alert: this post contains some foul, but necessary language. It’s 8:30am. I’ve hiked the mile to the road and back, cleaned the entire house, remade the beds, boiled drinking water, refilled the filter, greeted all the neighbors, checked on the strawberry plants, redistributed the compost, and have begun planning my week. My right eyelid has been twitching for 36 hours; an physical manifestation of the emotion stress my body is learning to manage. My hands are just a little bit shaky (probably too much coffee), and my back and neck are reminding me that water is heavy. In comparison to my neighbors, I’ve done nothing productive. This week, I broke. Not all the way… nah, I’m doin alright. But I wouldn’t be giving you the truth if I didn’t tell you that there are some ... read more
Pre-meltdown, post bedbugs
village wild flowers
what I eat. Plus peanut butter and things you send me!

Africa » Tanzania » East December 2nd 2016

After one very hot, very sweaty bus ride, which took an "African five hours" - meaning nine - and one absolutely terrible-but-can't-stop-watching Bollywood movie, we arrived in Tanga. They say it takes two to Tanga. But in this case it was about ten. We were not even off the bus (we actually still had another stop to go) when a crowd of taxi drivers invaded the bus, hassling us to come with them. They tried to convince us that it was the last stop and there was no other way to get to our hostel. After the bus driver came back from unloading some luggage, he promptly kicked the taxi-drivers off the bus and we continued to the real last stop. There, once again, we were plagued by more taxi drivers. They were worse than the ... read more
Enjoying the three minute ferry ride.
Traditional dhow (fishing boat)




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