3 Days in Dar: Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Few photos of these days remain because I lost my phone on the way back to Vietnam. 

I woke up at 5:50AM with the intention of taking a solo day trip to Zanzibar island. When I got up I also roused Joakim, who seemed to faint from exhaustion. Confused he woke up Jonas and they tired to further stabilize his condition. There wasn’t much I could do to help, so I took an Uber downtown to the ferry port only to be told that I was too late and would have to wait 2.5 hours until the next boat. I didn’t want to wait in that area of town and I was still tired from poor sleep the night before. I went back to Jonas’ house and slept until 11:30 AM. Then I got up and went for a twenty-minute walk to a beachside shopping area – slipway. There I had a coffee and I sat to type out these notes.

These next notes are written in retrospect, I spent four hours at outdoor tables and chairs at sitting a fancy bayside cafe writing out these notes and others. It was interesting to watch the fisherman by the beachside wading through the low tide to reach their submerged traps. I eavesdropped on some elite white French high school girl vocalizing her anxieties about graduation. Slipway may not really be a part of Dar es Salaam, it is its own expat-ecosystem.

The walk home was pleasant-ly with spent with saying “Habari” to everyone in I passed. I was happy to use the little Swahili I learned with whomever I walked past. I learned in India that a kind smile is very disarming. When I got back to the house I was in a bit of a funk and so I took Jonas’ ukelele down to the beach, that is his backyard, and performed for the giant hermit crabs- who crept on the rocks around me as dusk settled over the bay.

That evening Jonas took me out to a small expat bar in Masaki called Slow Leopard. It was full of Mzungu like me sitting on rustic furniture on a large backyard patio. I imagined what life must be like or them, big fish in a small pond. Not too unlike my life and friends in Vietnam. Then Jonas drove me over another bar called George and Dragon. We stayed for just 45 seconds just to see what the place was like. It’s interesting that in Dar es Salaam Jonas and Mikyung drive a small white car.

One unique thing that kept happening was that at each place we parked there were young men offering to guard your car for money. Many of the men were dressed in robes as if they were Masai shepherds who had left the tough circumstances of their pastoral lives for the city.

That night I also came across a Tanzanian online news article that shared a recommendation that all male MPs get circumcised in solidarity with a government campaign to promote circumcision as a means to limit the spread of HIV. The image of Tanzania’s most elite gentlemen getting mass circumcised was chucklesome. The thought loled me to sleep early so I could wake up the next day and make for another attempt to go to Zanzibar.


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