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Middle Eastern de ja vu

Rachel - Dar es Salaam

We arrived in the cavernous station in Dar es Salaam, which was carpeted with people and their belongings in some eerie half-light, regrouped and headed to the hostel. Only it turned out to be a bit like the christmas story because in Dar the hotels dont like to let you in after it's "late" so we had to try several before someone would take us in and in the end Dave had to sleep on the floor in our triple room. Odd. But perhaps because it's a big city and has a big city's reputation that it's unwise to be out after dark.

The next day we wondered around goggle eyed though the proper streets and crowded lanes of multi-story shops. Because of its trade with the east, Dar has a strong indian/arabic influences in its architecture, inhabitants and atmosphere. It was especially interesting for us because it felt more like we were in the Middle East again rather than Africa. So much so that we headed out for a lebanese breakfast. Oh hummus, feta and salad, how I have missed you!

We'd planned to catch the more northerly branch of the train back west in some days time but we found out at the station that it was full so we split up so Dave could upload some photos for you greedy lot, and I headed to the out-of-town bus station to find out about buses to Uganda. Not very interesting I suppose in terms of photogenic sights or stories but the bustle of the traffic and shops and stations was a treat for me. Navigating the minibuses and their different way of working, running the gauntlet of bus station touts while zipping between bus office to bus office with a cheery brandishment of my notebook and pen was actually quite enjoyable.

We met for a debrief and wind-down beer on the top of a fancy hotel which looked over the harbour and was quite beautiful. Had our first taste of Swahili cuisine in the form of a tasty rich fish curry. If this is what Swahili flavour is like then we couldnt wait to get on the ferry to Zanzibar.

We liked Dar es Salaam. I wonder if I would have liked it if we hadn't been able to compare it to the Middle East and if we hadn't been sheltered from bustle for so long but nevertheless, I find myself rather fond of it.

Posted by rachndave 06:10 Archived in Tanzania Tagged food

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