Thursday, September 3, 2009
The Tanzanian Coast
For most people a week on a quiet, palm-shaded, white sand beach sounds like heaven. However, for Jay and I our "vacation" did not turn out to be the relaxed pit-stop we had envisioned. Instead, after two days camping on a beautiful beach in Pangani we were ready to move on. Unfortunately, our goal of reaching Zanzibar turned out to be far too expensive to justify and we turned our eyes South instead of to the islands. Nonetheless, in the most fortunate turn of events since the start of our trip we met the "Roving Bonkers" at our waterside campsite and were treated to far and away the most comfortable leg of our trip.
The Roving Bonkers are Graham and Rosie Everett, an incredible couple from England and Ireland (respectively) who have spent much of the past decade traveling the world (check out their site and their car, www.rovingbonkers.com). They have done much of this traveling in a converted Land Cruiser that was initially designed as a rocket launcher for the British Army. Jay and I were incredibly lucky to be able to hop a ride with the Everett's from Pangani to a great campsite 7 hours further south where we camped on even whiter sands next to even more turquoise waters. It was also great to talk soccer with Graham and amazing to eat some of Rosie's home cooking! We can not thank them enough! Yet, once again, we had a harder time relaxing by the water than being squished in a public bus or hassled on crowded streets.
Thus, we moved on again today, back up north a few miles to Tanzania's largest city (not the capital, that would be Dodoma) Dar es Salaam. Dar has definitely thrown us back into our acquired comfort zone of heat, stench and inconvenience. Just to give you a taste, we inquired with a "travel agent" about a bus ticket to Malawi. He told us $90 each. Feeling that we were being quoted with "muzungu" or white tourist prices we went to a more reputable travel agency. The real price? $25.
Dar appears to be a great city, however, with beautiful colonial architecture "africanized" with vibrant, pastel paints. The streets are calmer than the other large cities we have visited and the taxi drivers far less aggressive. Whether it is the nearby water, or perhaps just the stifling heat, Dar is a nice change of pace from places like Nairobi and Juba.
Tomorrow we will leave by bus (for $25) for Kyela, Tanzania which lies on the northernmost tip of Lake Malawi. From there we will move on to the country of Malawi, a place we are excited to visit as it is known as perhaps the most friendly African country.
More updates from Malawi!