A Different Side of Africa
A short respite from the pedals in an Africa that is vastly different than the one to which we’ve become accustomed over the past few months…
The TAZARA train lurched into the station well after dark. We said some goodbyes to fellow passengers, fended off taxi touts, gathered our bikes from the luggage cart, attached our bags and rode off, headlamps glaring in to the busy streets of Dar Es Salaam.
A new city always looks menacing at night. I try and convince myself to ignore first impressions when they are deformed by shadows, discolored by streetlights and tainted by shadowy figures illuminated by the glow of signs. Walking the city the next morning we stumble upon a few similarities to the remote Africa we had spent the last couple of months exploring. Individuals hawking bunches of bananas on the streets. Colorfully dressed women effortlessly balancing massive loads on their heads as they glide in and out of the crowded streets. Other than that, this was indeed a different world.
Dar Es Salaam is a massive seaside city that churns with people from all over East Africa, those displaced by a bad year of sun singed crops, tribesmen who have fled their war torn homeland, and others following a dream of earning more than their typical dollar a day wage. There is also a large population of native Tanzanians whose ancestors originated in Middle Eastern nations and brought religion and culture that permeated the coastal region. Its people are both extravagantly wealthy and extremely poor; Muslim, Hindu and Christian; pure and corrupt. For a couple of days we were enchanted by the rushed pace and crowded chaotic dance that ebbs and breathes on the streets, but soon we were ready to escape to the green and sandy paradise of Zanzibar.
Here are a few photos from Dar and Zanzibar that needed a place to live.