I am riding with Brian in his soccer mum van, and it’s not been twenty minutes since I met him, but I am laughing my ass off. If you were to see us, you would think we have known each other all our lives, or that we are deeply in love, but nothing could be farther from the truth. This guy is hilarious. I for once thought that my Swahili was on point, given that I come from a village that neighbors our Maghufuli brothers, but this guy got me thinking otherwise. I have to keep asking him to decode his Swahili for me to catch the meaning. For instance, he was telling me how honey has one more use than we know. As he was describing it, he put in there that if I want to impress one of the Tanga beauties who are a majority here, I have to learn how to use honey: perfect mtindo wa ndimi, and if that was not enough, I should not hold back knocking on the other door if I have to leave an impression on my suitor. No wonder they call it “bongo”, here your brain has to be engaged to survive.
This weekend, like many others, has fallen victim to my need of having time off. I don’t know what from, but I guess it’s good excuse that brought me to Dar-es-salaam. Dar is a big name and for years, the tales and stories I have heard about this city has only increased my appetite of wanting to come here. I heard Zari bae was in Nairobi and he referred to Nairobi as “Mji”, which means small city, but if he were honest in his sentiment, then I guess Dar-es-salaam would be “kijiji”, a small village compared to Nairobi. But that is a war for another day, as the guy just got the news he will be welcoming his second born with Zari, and hopefully this time there won’t be need to take another trip to South Africa to confirm that the kid is his. The truth is that Dar-es-salaam is a city in which its name is bigger than the city.
I came to Dar by road because I have never had a good chance to travel through Tanzania by road, and I thought this would be a golden opportunity to see what they have to offer. Little did I know that I was shooting myself in the foot, as not only the journey is long and tiresome, but also their Public transport service here is on another level of its own. First, the speed limits are nuts. In most places, the speed limit doesn’t exceed 50Kmh; the bus makes frequent stops because most passengers keep stopping the bus to take a leak. When booking the bus they said they have toilets on board, but after boarding the bus, we found the loo was out of order, as with many things in Africa. But in short, don’t take the road if you can, as there is nothing worth seeing all the way from Namanga to Dar-es-salaam.
I arrived in Dar-es-salaam around 8pm at night, and my first impression was what a dark city this is. I have been to many capital hubs, and if they were to be awarded a trophy on how dark they are, Dar would win it on a clean platter. There is an absolute lack of street lighting, and even the ones that exist either do not work or the lighting is not worth the money. Maybe is just the Maghufuli effect that every single soul in Tanzania is feeling. I guess it’s a good way to make his presence felt, as everybody from the lowest of the society to the upper echelon is feeling the heat. I don’t think it’s a good way to amass power, but that is not my place to decide. Apart from darkness, there are endless ‘foleni”, which means traffic jam due to lack of infrastructure, but they still can’t beat us on this one.
One thing I was really impressed about Dar is its people. The people here are an endangered species, they are nice to a fault and are quick to help a stranger without a second thought. From employees of the hotel to random people that I met, they had this vibe of being genuinely helpful and welcoming. They speak slowly and their tone is always lowered in a way that leaves no room for any suspicion regarding whether their actions and deeds are well intended. They also have a way with how they use words that is so creative and charming; might be the reason we can’t get enough of Alikiba and Diamond when they play with words as they pour their soul out. How g** does that sound? Another thing I was impressed with is how clean their downtown is and the amount of trees on the street. The air is so fresh compared to the choking pollution back home. My brothers from Tanzania are never in a hurry for a damn thing, whether it is service, driving, having a conversation, or doing anything. This can be good in some places and not so great in other places, but I will let you decide.
I will give them an upper 6 when it come to how hot their mamas are, but as Brian said, if you ignore the neck going up we can give them an upper 8 on the account of how well behaved they are. I didn’t get to experience the other things, but Brian promised if I did, the head up won’t matter, as I will give them an upper 10 on account of experience in matters of heart. I was curious as this point and so I asked:
Me: Brian, what is it that will make me give them a 10?
Brian: Have you ever seen a lady walk in the bedroom with warm honey on a saucer?
Me: No, why would she bring honey and a saucer? Is it witchcraft?
Brian: No, you see how you Kenyans are misinformed since all you care for is Money.
Me: But money is good, don’t you think so?
Brian: Yes it’s good, but there are some things money can’t buy.
Me: Like what?
Brian: What a Tanga woman can do with hot honey on a saucer.
Now I was curious to hear what they would do with the honey, but what he told me was so X-rated I can’t put it on this blog. I don’t want to be responsible for someone overdosing on honey or causing the honey price to spike, which won’t be fair for so many of us who use it for noble purposes.
The nightlife in Dar is somewhat conservative, but I guess the oldest trade in the history of the book wins all the time. Even Dar can rid itself of it. It’s evident at every water spot you visit in the city. Dar being on the periphery of the ocean, most joints close to the beach are packed up with both the young and old enjoying an evening out. Most children, ladies, and young boys are swimming at pool, thanks to the warm weather, while the older folks are quenching their thirst at the bar. One other thing, beer is really cheap here. At a local joint, it costs 120 shillings or less, while in high-end places, it is less than 200 shillings. Most of us Kenyans wouldn’t make it out of the drinking den if beer cost this low in our bars.
Overall, my Dar-es-salaam experience was good, since I also had the chance to meet a lot of my high school friends, since one of them was being taken out of the market. I was really impressed that most people I went to school with are doing very good in every field they ventured to, but I guess I am the only one who missed the memo that it was time to get off the market, I am glad I did because I plan to remain in the market for a little longer. As the old adage goes, ‘the beautiful ones are not yet born’, and I will take my chances and wait for them. Anyway, congratulations to my friend who got off the market and I wish you both the best.
I decided to fly back with Precision Air, and as you know it’s a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, so you know the rest of the story. I promised to not waste my time again writing about Kenya Airways and its partners, since I think they have set out to be the most badly managed and run company in the world.
Till next time, be awesome.