azam ice cream i am disappoint, classic mzungu, Daryl Dixon, encrusted in cashews means delicious, endless cups of tea, fresh to death, Gold Crest cafe is my jam, growing my nails, Igombe, imposter syndrome, Judas, Lady Gaga, lazing in the car, lemongrabs, luggage strategies, Mwanza, NIMR, Norman Reedus, pikipiki level: expert, probiotic delivery, samosa addiction, silly dress up, tea, TTC bus, TTC crash, walking in the dark, yellow hair
This morning I woke up naturally, which is the best. Then I lay in my little mosquito-net cave reading Sjón’s The Whispering Muse (Excerpt). And then Isaac and Caren run to ask me about the luggage policy for Precision. Which is kind of ridiculous. Their excess weight fee is quite low (I was told 5000tsh/$3.20 for about 7 kg over). But if you want to take another bag, it’s $200(US). I understand their planes are small (they advertise that they have 767s, but the route to Mwanza is in a smaller plane), but it’s pretty insane. I thought that like me, Caren had two bags, but she has three, since she paid for another (my parents told me that she paid for another, but I thought they meant she had two). Luckily Isaac is not taking any luggage, but there’s one bag left over.
Carry on will work, but they do weigh it, and the limit is 10kg, though they have lee-way of about 2-3kg. I can’t remember if I wrote this story, but I was overweight with my main bag (32.5kg, but they let it slide for free, aww yiis)… then I was overweight with my carry-on (17kg…) so I started to remove all of my electronics and was resigned to paying $200US. However, all the staff were debating about what to charge me, and so they didn’t see me take everything out and shove it in my purse, I suppose. They decided to reweigh my carry-on and apparently all my electronic stuff weighed about 6-7kg. So they let it fly and when I got to the departures lounge, I repacked everything.
I set up my final kitchen interviews this week, and helped with the deliveries again. The mamas at Igoma dressed me up since I complimented one of them on their kitenge- I guess she thought I was talking about the apron. I could not stop laughing. Everyone was so happy there, or at least the general mood was. One of the other mamas was cutting papaya (called popo here), and she gave each of us (Abdallah and Christina) a huuge plate. I felt a bit guilty, but I didn’t want to be rude, so I didn’t refuse it. I’m glad I didn’t, in a way, since it was perfectly ripe, with the nicest texture and sweetness. Next week I might bake something for the kitchens, if I have time.
On Friday I went to do interviews in Igombe, which at about 20km away from the town centre, is the farthest kitchen away. We actually had to stop and wait by the airport since there was a random military exercise going on (which we only found out later). We were all a bit worried a plane had crashed, but in the end, it worked out. Steph bought everyone a banana, which was delicious and totally appreciated.
I did eventually make it to Igombe with the others, who were off schedule by almost an hour and a half, so they had to hurry away. The mamas at Igombe are very nice, and have such a positive attitude. The name of their kitchen is Mashujaa (heroes), since they made it through many struggles to open up. We took the daladala back, since the lift was only one way. The Igombe-Mwanza daladala is much bigger than the others, about two thirds the size of a regular city bus…
But it’s really old and creaky. And dusty. I sat on the wheel, which reminded me of riding the school bus as a kid; my legs cramped up hardcore. The ride takes quite a long time because it stops fairly frequently, though it only makes two stops in town. My translator and I walked back to my neighbourhood and I discovered my new doom: Victoria Fast Food. They sell the usual types of food. The samosas are phenomenal, but the best thing there is their white swiss roll (which I haven’t snapped a photo of – yet). It’s got orange cream icing instead of the regular stuff on the inside. On the outside is regular white icing encrusted in chopped cashews. It costs 1000tsh ($0.65) and is going to be the death of me if I’m not careful.
I ended up reading at home for a few hours and not going out on a bar crawl which sounded legendary… I was a bit tired from going out for a drink on Thursday, plus going all the way out to Igombe, and I wasn’t in the mood initially. And then I was too lazy to cook, so I went back to Victoria Fast Foods and got additional samosas for me (called sambusa here actually) and some maandazi (a sort of softish doughnutesque pastry) to share with my roommates. As soon as I walked in the second time, they knew what I wanted.. <_<
It was almost getting to dusk when I left the apartment, and I knew I’d make it home with moments to spare, when I suddenly ran into the professor from NIMR in the street- it turned out he was checking on his businesses (which I wasn’t aware were so close to our apartment!). He has a bar, a drinks-point/grocery, and a cosmetics shop. He showed me all of them, and they were all very well maintained – I was very impressed. He explained to me that he had to run these extra businesses (with his wife) since the salaries for academics here are fairly low. By the time we were finished talking, it was dark, but I knew I was 500 metres from home. Plus, I’d walked in a group on Thursday from Capri Point to Poliisi Bar after dark, so I was feeling emboldened. I set off after saying goodbye and walked home without feeling afraid.
I had bought ice cream at Zagaluu’s with designs to try it – since Azam ice cream seems to be everywhere, and I don’t want to spend money on ice cream without trying it cheaply (1000tsh/$0.65) first:
I ate about a quarter of it. It tasted like really artificial, terrible, too sweet, sort of half melted soft serve. I can’t even describe how awful it was. I was pretty disappointed, but at least I know better than to buy it again. I will probably return to the partially eaten tub in the freezer every so often, but I won’t seek it out again.
I suppose I’d rather spend 1000tsh ($0.65) on a pikipiki, so I can feel like Lady Gaga in the Judas video, with my hair flapping in the wind (at least that which isn’t stuffed into a helmet of dubious cleanliness), and my scarf flying behind me. Maybe I’ll get some fab jewels from the costume jewelery sellers and some sheerish scarves and go around standing on motorcycles, holding impromptu dance parties with Daryl from Walking Dead. I also kind of want to have yellow hair again…
I have been really stressed so my nails have been picked to nothing. They’re so short and I feel so sad and embarrassed. I have to stop picking at them. By the time I’m in England I want them to be presentable and nice for Nan’s party. I also want to sort out what I’m wearing there, but I have honestly no idea. Maybe I’ll have something made, maybe I won’t… or maybe mum and I will go shopping before the party, if there’s time (Hey Mum, if you’re reading this, you know the plan now…).
I’ve been at the Gold Crest cafe for a few hours, and actually had lunch here, which was pretty good actually. I’ve also been drinking endless cups of tea.
In any case, I’ll leave with a song full of energy, since I have to go to the airport in 2 hours. I want more portable music… my iPhone is full of apps and photos. I definitely need a proper mp3 player… I couldn’t find my iPod nano (which I’ve had since I was 15 or 16. Blue metallic goodness)… maybe it will be my birthday present to myself this year. Anyways.
aw yis, awake face, cityscape, classic mzungu, collecting daladalas, countryscape, fresh to death, hunting dog, imposter syndrome, kanga, LSP, marabou stork, muddy roads, Mwanza, ng'ombe not ngombe, tanzania, unhealthy cat love, yoghurt
I didn’t quite get to sleep on time (damn you e-reader) but I still managed to wake up on time this morning to go out and do the sampling with the others. The sampling is for quality control of the yoghurt, which the others are not particularly fond of, though I’m quite happy with drinking it. I probably had way too much, though. We went to 9 of 10 kitchens, and today I dressed a little differently, since last night I bought a kanga (albeit one without a saying on it, though whenever someone mentioned it, they called it a kanga). I got a bit giddy and wore it today, and all the Mamas at the kitchens complimented me on it. I really like it, it’s the comfiest thing ever. It’s kind of like walking around in a towel. The only thing I did differently than most of the locals is that I wore leggings underneath rather than another skirt
I also managed to schedule two sets of interviews with two of the kitchens (probably giving me n=15 for both) which is great and amazing, but it also made me realise that my sample size is going to be a lot bigger than I initially planned (n=55 for all groups). Hopefully it will let me reach saturation though. Scheduling the interviews and explaining (with help) my purpose made me feel sort of legit but also like a fraud. My internal reaction was something like this when I successfully scheduled the first one:
What I like about driving to all the kitchens is the variety of landscapes I get to see… All along the Nyerere Road. The problem I have with Nyerere Road is that I literally cannot pronounce the name more than once without stumbling over it. I have no idea why, but it’s funny. I saw a Mama today with a kanga that was covered in portraits of Nyerere and I tried to compliment her on it but I ended up getting stuck trying to say Nyerere – Nyere… Nye… Nyererer…. AUGH.
I also expanded my dala collection, to the vague amusement/confusion of our driver and friend. He started pointing them all out for me, which was nice. 🙂 Click to make them bigger:
Interesting about the above one is that the illustration is of the Marabou Stork, a bird that apparently doesn’t have a common name in Swahili. This bird is seriously the ugliest bird I’ve seen for a long time, and seems to subsist off of rubbish and other things like that.
I feel kind of bad for them though – they’re only bald because they are carrion eaters.
There are a few “Hunting Dog” daladalas around, and all of them evoke a reaction of bewilderment and joy.
When I got home today, I hung out for a little on the balcony watching my other cat friends who live on the roof below. I think they’re still kittens and quite young. We blink at each other and stare. It’s a pretty serious thing we have going, I swear.
Anyways I’m going to drink my Bitter Lemon and skulk around in my kanga.