Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dar es Salaam

According to the little web cafe ticker I have eighteen minutes to write and post this blog. The Tazara train from Zambia was lovely and I am now in Tanzania. Dar is a large cosmopolitan city that still feels manageable. The streets are filled with young guys carting around wheelbarrows full of tropical fruit and the call to prayer is blasted every few hours.

We stayed at a horrible little guesthouse called Jambo Inn which was for some reason the top pick in the Lonely Planet. I recently read some expose of guidebook writing and since I'm pressed for time I'll link to it later. I'm pretty sure there's no way the writer even went there.

My Mozambique visa is being processed and we head south in a few days. In the meantime I'm going to try all the amazing variety of street food and hole in the wall Indian restaurants that abound here.

In contrast to Lusaka's collection of suburbs surrounded by townships, Dar is a walkable city with a lot of street life and tall colonial era apartment blocks. The density drastically changes the nature of the place and in general it feels prosporous and safe.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Leaving Lusaka

I'm on the train to Dar. Next update from that side.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Packing up

I've been running around Lusaka trying to get stuff done before leaving on Tuesday. As Louis likes to point out, the Canadian International Development Agency only funds development between July and February leaving the rest of the year to the free market (jokes) and so I go. I'm taking the train east to Dar armed with a tent, a swim suit and Tanzanian multiple entry visa.

The photo is of Soweto market last week. It's one of the biggest markets in Lusaka and only blocks away from the financial buildings on Cairo road. By comparison, the week before in Harare I went to their largest street market in what was apparently a township slum (it looked like a London council estate). Not only were the streets paved but our Zimbabwean friend pointed to a three square meter puddle and gave a soliloquy on just how far our once great country has fallen.

In a different conversation, with a Zimbabwean web developer, I mentioned that it's nice to be in a country (Zimbabwe) where the cops aren't carrying guns and that in Lusaka they all carry AKs with shoelace shoulder straps. "Yeah but that's Africa," he said conflating Zambia, the DRC and Sudan into one homogeneous northern mass." I told him, you realise the entire BBC/CNN watching world thinks your country is in the middle of some Rawandodarfurian death match to which he just looked puzzled.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More hints?

The first and last two photos are courtesy of Mr. Damon van der Linde.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The hundred billion dollar contest: Where am I?

The person who can name the city I'm in based on these photographs gets one hundred billion dollars.