Yesterday night I arrived after an 11 hr flight with stopover in Zanzibar at the new airport in Dar es Salaam at 23:00 hrs. Everything went smooth. I was expecting the chaos of Nigeria but it was not. Maybe because only one plane was arriving this late. I had taken a Covid PCR test in Holland before departure. In Tanzania I should have another test on arrival. People were all lining up. When it was my turn I showed the PCR result from Holland and smiled at the lady behind the Plexiglas wall. She put the stamp on the form and I could walk through. My luggage was already waiting but I did not recognise the black case amongst all the others. A detailed examination showed that it was there. It had lost its colourful belt so I did not straight away recognise it.
The plane was 30 min early so the driver from the guesthouse had not arrived but exactly at the planned landing time he was there. A smooth ride over empty streets brought us to Triniti Guesthouse in the Oysterbay area. The owner, Julieth, whose husband, Piet Verwij I knew from Brunei and Oman was naturally already sleeping. I still got a welcome fruit juice delivered to the room/bungalow. After arranging everything I settled in on the bed underneath the mosquito netting and contacted Jamaliah via whatsapp. The internet here is sometimes OK but you have to find the right router because the signal varies a lot. It was however good enough to see the men’s 1000 m skating in Beijing the next day.
After breakfast I had a long talk with Julieth. Apparently our paths crossed each other more than we know. Not only Brunei but also Oman and Nigeria. Moreover Piet had worked building up our tent camp in Sekenke back in 1977. Unfortunately he no longer stays here long term due to medical issues.
Instead of Uber taxi, they have Bolt here. Works the same except you can book transport with 2, 3 or 4 wheels. I opted for 2. Got a helmet and was hanging on to the drive who weaved in and out of the traffic. Red light are only for cars here. On the way back I had more confidence and held on to the driver with 1 hand!
The first stop was the National Museum. For me the old photo’s of the Kilwa ruins are most interesting since I want to visit them towards the end of this trip. For the rest, the museum has an interesting display of all the Homilies who wander the area some 2 mlj. years ago. In the garden is a very large fig tree under which there are seats. This must be a lecture area. Also there is a shrine commemorating the terrorist bomb explosions synchronous in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on the American embassies in 1998.
Opposite the museum is the botanical garden. A nice walk, however I am not such a walker anymore and certainly not in this heat and humidity. I walked to the coast and followed the coastline over the beach (the road was closed for security reasons but the officer with machinegun said I could follow my way along the beach some 40 m from the road to the fish market. Not much has changed. The fish is still hauled in by small dug out canoes. The catch is divided amongst the participants who then go straight to the market a bit further up and try to sell the catch. It is a large market with many types of fish and lots of eating stalls. I continued along the coast and after a rest in the shade at the ferry point, visited one of the 2 historical churches. The catholic church a bit further up was unfortunately closed till 17:00 hrs. Close to the Askari monument I finally managed to find somebody selling cold Coca-Cola. Heaven sent in this heat.
I spoke to several Tanzanian’s along the way. They are all most respectful. Even the ones who tried to sell you something. You can see by the way they behave that they are a proud people who love their country. The woman I met walk upright and don’t look away when you look at them. They ignored me when I walked through the fish market and took pictures.
China is investing heavily in Tanzania. They even opened the Kirondotal gold mine close to Sekenke (I will check this when there). Most roads are now tarmac thanks to them. The products from Europe are too expensive for the people here. They are happy the Chinese provide them with cheap ones. Especially mobile phones. I wonder if I can make somebody happy with my old iphone 4.
The evening was spent at the guesthouse bar area. Julieth arranged a meal for me so I could concentrate on writing this, maybe, too long blog.