02 December 2016

Dar es Salaam

Last weekend I took the opportunity to go to Tanzania's largest city, Dar es Salaam. It's about a 12-hour bus ride from Arusha, but I'm entirely glad I sat through it.

I had no reason to go to Dar and no business to do there, but my wanderer's heart propelled me to pick a weekend, buy bus tickets, and explore a new place. Many of my friends and coworkers asked why I wanted to go to Dar. They said it was hot, dirty, smelly, and crowded, and they thought I wouldn't like it at all. To some extent, they were right. I sweat through all my clothes, encountered a lot of trash, covered my nostrils on occasion, and weaved through many oncoming pedestrians. Even so, they were wrong in that I loved it.

Dar is pretty cool from my perspective. I like to say it's "shwari kama bahari," a cute rhyme that translates to the non-rhyme "cool like the ocean." Aside from the fact that Dar is really hot, this phrase is especially appropriate since Dar is on the Indian Ocean. The huge yet flat city is basically built on a beach. Instead of dirt on the side of the roads, there's sand. There's an occasional refreshing breeze from off the coast. If you can see the ocean, you'll see at least three giant shipping boats at once. The name is especially refreshing--Dar es Salaam, from Arabic, means "abode of peace."

So what did I do in the Abode of Peace?

I walked around a lot and saw different neighborhoods, shopping centers, and parts of the coast.

I saw the biggest avocados I've ever seen in my life.

I saw the Tanzanian equivalent of the White House.

(You can't take pictures there, else you wish to leave your phone behind.)

I played ultimate, thanks to the invitation from a friend I hosted in Arusha earlier. (Note the sweat, a testament to the heat of Dar and also to my peculiar gene pool.)

Photo courtesy of Mwinyi

I checked out some cliffs.

I went to my friend's fabric fundi and had kitenge clothes made. (Fundi is a word for machinist, expert, technician, repairman, creator... they're in every field.)

Photo courtesy of Mwinyi

I rode a ferry-bridge!

I walked across a real bridge, Daraja la Nyerere.

I had a bunch of adventures I couldn't have anticipated. I'm thankful for the old friends I saw, the new friends I made, and all the experiences that surprised me. I'm also thankful that the people saying I'd hate it were a little off-target in their predictions--that I didn't hate Dar and instead, enjoyed it.

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