Dar es Salaam - June 20-21
Jun 21, 2010
|June 20, 2010
Another stupidly early flight today meant another early wake up call. Actually, when I say early flight it was actually at 9.30am which isn’t early at all but by the time you add on the hour it will take us to get to the airport, plus supposedly being there 2 hours before means living the hostel at 6.30am. That’s early enough for both of us! We finished packing up our stuff in the Loft room and had our breakfast. The Loft room has been great and we’ve liked having our own kitchen facilities. I’m trying not to get too used to it though!
We weren’t too trusting of the hostel to have properly arranged our transport so at 6am Elizabeth went downstairs to check on our taxi. Of course, the guy there knew nothing about it and seemed disinterested in trying to find out for us. As we were already packed we headed down to reception earlier than we really needed to just to check up on him. I think Elizabeth said something about him being worthless and maybe he overheard because when we got downstairs there was a taxi waiting and it was cheaper than the one we’d been expecting!
Durban hasn’t been anywhere near as much fun as Cape Town and I can’t think of any reason to come back here. It hasn’t been anywhere near terrible or anything like that but I just feel that the sole reason we were here was the football and that reason probably won’t be in existence in the future! Overall though, SA has been great and the people have been really friendly and really interested in chatting to people of different nationalities and, of course, talking football!
After a short flight to Johannesburg, we had lunch at the airport and waited around for the next flight to Dar es Salaam. At the airport we went through the visa formalities easily enough but having to part with $150 ($50 for me and $100 for Elizabeth) was pretty painful given we were only spending 6 nights here.
We got into a taxi from the airport to our hotel and immediately our driver told us to make sure we had our doors locked. It was around 8pm and was dark and we were heading into the city. I guess this was going to really be one of those places where we would have to be careful. About halfway to our hotel, while stopped at a light, a man tried to open Elizabeth’s door. He literally just walked up, tried the door and walked away. We had both our windows up but our driver had the front ones down but the man didn’t dare try the front doors – just the back one. It was really strange and a bit un-nerving but we sort of saw the funny side, particularly in the relaxed way the man just approached, was rebuffed and so retreated. I wander how many people are not so lucky?
It wasn’t much better at the hotel. The hotel itself was nice enough and the woman at reception was friendly but she warned us not to walk around after dark, to take only taxis that they arrange and that no-one here is our friend and to be suspicious of everyone! It was quite a welcome!
June 21, 2010
We headed out this morning with a couple of things in mind. Firstly, we ventured out to get some food on the way to getting our ferry tickets for tomorrow. On the walk towards a little café we wanted to try, we were approached by a man who just wouldn’t leave us alone. He just kept walking the same direction as us as kept trying to sell us ferry tickets. I knew which ferry we wanted to get and wasn’t interested in what he was trying to sell so I tried to be as polite as possible in trying to get him to go away. Eventually, he left us alone but it was quite an effort to shift him! It turned out the café we were heading towards had shut down, the building it previously occupied now torn down! We headed instead to the ferry terminal and as we got there we were approached by loads of different people trying to get us to go into their shops to buy tickets. All the shops here were selling tickets for the ferries and they were all official so it was just a case of trying to get past the annoyance and finding the one we wanted. Everyone assumed we wanted to go today and kept trying to hurry us onto the next ferry but we just tried to blank everyone out. We found the right place for the ferry we wanted and were led into the manager’s office where he took our details and our money and gave us the tickets.
We continued walking along the water’s edge for a little while before turning in towards the city and towards the National Museum. As we got closer we could see the corrugated iron surrounding the building and started to realise that maybe this wasn’t going to be our day! Of course, the museum was closed. It was the only thing we wanted to do here and it was shut. This was really frustrating as we only had a limited time in Zanzibar too and we would’ve been better having the extra day there rather than the day here, which was now about to be completely wasted.
We found a little café for lunch (an average, over-priced sandwich) and then went back to the hotel where we just lazed around. We used the internet for a bit but that had to be paid for so we weren’t going to use it all afternoon. We watched a couple of the football matches before we had dinner at the restaurant in the hotel. We both had curries and naan breads which were really good but the service was shocking – we waited nearly half an hour at the end for the bill, all the while being eaten alive by mosquitoes when we could’ve been in the sanctuary of our room. With air-con!
We’re heading out of Dar tomorrow and I don’t really have much good to say about it, from what I’ve seen. I guess you can’t really get the feel of a place in just a day but given we were bored for most of that day it doesn’t strike me as a place we’ll rush back to!