Return to Dar

As I’ve mentioned previously, I really dislike the city of Dar es Salaam.  It’s hot, humid, mosquito-infested and crowded.  However, I must say the food in downtown is better than anywhere I’ve been.  The Middle Eastern and Indian influences are obvious.  I feel like I’m back in Cairo again, not only because the food actually has flavor but because I see more Arabs than black people.

This experience of traveling alone in Africa is stretching me in incredible ways.  It’s not without its challenges but I know that it’s ultimately making me grow.  Today I was doing a focus group outside Dar and literally thought I would melt.  I was doing a survey inside this woman’s house in the middle of the day.  The house was humid, dark, and smoky with tons of people inside.  I’m not claustrophobic but I felt like I had to escape and catch some air before I passed out.  Climbing into the air-conditioned car afterwards felt like heaven.  I fell asleep for the entire ride home because it felt so incredibly good.

To escape the heat on Sunday, I went with a couple Tanzanian guys to a waterpark outside the city.  I met these guys a couple of weeks ago when I was watching a football match at a restaurant in town.  They told me we were going to the beach and somehow we ended up at this waterpark.  I didn’t have a bathing suit and neither did they so we just ended up swimming in our boxers. It was a little strange swimming in boxers with women in full hijabs sitting outside the pool.  Dar es Salaam is a fascinating mix of cultures and religions that somehow manage to get along.

Speaking of cultures, yesterday I did a walking dinner tour of downtown Dar.  No tour company offers these, I just decided to walk around and try everything that looked interesting.  I bought bananas, sugarcane, an organge, chicken, naan, chips, salad and a coke.  The price?  Less than 6 US dollars.  I got ridiculously lost and walked forever but the electricity was out so what else was I going to do?  It was super interesting how each street had a different feel.  Some streets had more street vendors, while others were quiet.  One street held at least 4 or 5 Hindu temples with people chanting inside. Mosque street obviously houses a lot of Muslims.  Despite its unwelcoming qualities, Dar es Salaam really is an interesting blend of cultures that makes for an interesting experience.

Tanzanian Water Park

The Mighty Boabab

The Drive from Arusha to Dar

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5 thoughts on “Return to Dar

  1. Dan! Your blogs are amazing! I love reading them.
    You are awesome! I am so glad you are experiencing all of this. So good.
    Learn, grow, and enjoy! 🙂

  2. Sounds like you are getting lots of experiences of a lifetime all crammed into a few months of life and glad you are able to enjoy the ride in spite of the discomfort!

    Luv ya,

    Dad

  3. Have you read “The Little Prince”? Your Boabab tree made me think of it 🙂 You should definitely read it. Actually you should read “Le Petit Prince” instead to work on your French!!! Keep enjoying all that cheap yummy food… I miss buying food on the street so bad 😦

  4. I love the pictures, they really help tell the story. Man, heat does weird things to your experience in a place. But, Dar sounds really interesting. And food that cheap, enjoy it 🙂
    I love reading about your adventures. I’m praying for you!

  5. hey Dan,

    just found the link of your blogs on your facebook. Awesome reading about your adventures! Africa can be a bit uncomfortable at times but it definitely has it charms. Hope you are enjoying it nevertheless. Keep exploring the world! Go Cougs! regards, Matthijs

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