Dar Es Salaam: Emerging Industrial, Commercial Hub in East Africa

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Dar Es Salaam

From Football Fanatics to Storytellers and SNAKE oil salesmen -traders and traffic jams-herbalists and Rwandan hookers…CHINESE CARPETBAGGERS AND CHAOS- Dar Es Salaam or ” place of peace” is a city emerging into a hub for industrial and commercial activities in East Africa. Dar is Far -out!

My journey from Johannesburg had taken over 7 days overland ( 4 days by train- 3 days by bus)- and it had cost around 350 dollars – including the 50 buck rip off for a visa for Tanzania.( I think I could have done it cheaper by taking a bus from Livingstone with Taqwa Bus lines.)- And as a result my lower back was killing me…

We stay in the Kariakoo distirct of Dar which is where a lot of shoppers go to and meander around the market place where you can buy everything from herbal medicine to handbags made in China. At the house of spices you can pick up a range of Zanzibari spices and Karkidee tea..(hibiscus tea which is especially refreshing for around 1000 TZS. Our taxi from the station costs us around 5000 TZS (which we negotiate down from 15000)- The women are also good negotiators and we get a hotel room at the New Vission ( whoever wrote the sign didn’t know how to spell vision)-

Bargain hunters can get cheap clothes here from ladies knickers at 3000 TZS each to men’s shirts at 17000 TZS – there’s even a blade sharpener powered by bicycle that sharpens your knives, scissors and machetes. The best ATM machine I found – more reliable than Barclays was NBC bank which is located near the covered market that looks like a big concrete saucepan…

The best way to beat the terrible traffic that is ever prevalent in DAR is to use the “ picki- picki”- it’s a motorcycle taxi… the problem is most of them can’t speak much English so it’s hard to communicate… and passengers don’t get a helmet. This means you are at the mercy of the driver…

But its about half the price of a regular taxi and much faster as it weaves in and out of the cars and trucks and goodness knows what else on the road… and traffic in Dar is a total nightmare… there’s no official census on the population but some estimate it at around 5 million souls.

In the herbal market I met a storyteller who shows me his story about the mermaid form zanzibar who loses her ring… breakfast consists of tea or coffee and a donut- fried in a pan…

Our hotel room has a fan and is semi air-conditioned but we are interrupted by painters who paint the room while we are still in it… never mind they say… its quick drying… !

It costs 30000 for a double room – all 4 of us share the same space and the girls…

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