90 years old, Adventure Time gifs, airport mistakes, audacious theft, bajaji, beach bummin', brutalism, brutalist buildings, cat socks, CHEESE, Dar, dar es salaam, Dubai, Dubai is insane, Eat It, England, i love you brutalism, Jason Statham, Jason Statham film festival, Leskov, Nan, national museum of tanzania, Newport Pagnell, Northamptonshire, Nyerere, Obama Drive, old churches are p cool, returning to the west, sleeping on planes wat, Soviet Tanzania, Spaced, tanzania, traffic jams, what are you doing dubai you're drunk, white sands resort
And I’m also too lazy to come up with a proper title, so eat it.
I’m not going to write about safari yet, but I swear this isn’t another LA post series (I’ve actually drafted a few of them, I swear) – I have about 2,000 photos to sort through and I’m busy eating cheese. I’m going to write about what has been going on up until now, since you haven’t heard from me in more than a week! though I don’t know if anyone noticed…
So after I left my parents at a really nice and fancy hotel, where they bought me lunch:
I ended up at the Survey Motel again, which wasn’t bad, though this time my shower and my fan were not working (but the air conditioning did, but A/C is so cold for me now). I was glad to see Frederick again. I did two things there: I went to see the downtown, which I didn’t do in April, and I went to the beach, since the Indian Ocean is swimmable. By that I mean no schisto or other fun waterborne diseases.
I was accompanied to town on the first day by a young geologist named Eric. He showed me the National Museum and Obama Drive (formerly Ocean Drive). We took a bajaji into town – in Dar, bajajis are more like taxis, rather than in Mwanza, where they are a sort of daladala thing.
The National Museum was a bit sparse, but had some really interesting art, and a few choice artefacts.
We walked a lot actually, and I even saw the fish market, though I took no photographs. Most of the fish had been sold as it was the afternoon, but it was rather overpowering – fish guts and blood everywhere, especially in the little drainage divots in the ground. I also saw a fish that was almost as big as myself, which was pretty cool.
I also snapped this really sweet brutalist building, probably a remnant from the socialist era:
We were caught in traffic on the way back, and even with a bajaji it took forever.
The interesting thing about traffic jams in Dar is that you can buy almost anything while waiting in them. Men walk up and down the queues with all manner of product from car accessories and snacks (practical) to shelves (impractical). They seem to also divide the queues into territories (i.e. from this lamppost to that lamppost).
The next day I went to the beach by bajaji – White Sands Resort, which was recommended by the taxi driver who drove me from town to the Survey Motel. The entry fee was 5,000tsh ($3.20) and guaranteed me access to the beach, pool, and other facilities. It was very nice, though the food and drink were nothing to write home about (though I guess I am now), and it was really, really windy, so I got a lot of sand in my face.
Anyways, I got a little fed up with the sand getting in my drink/face/e-book reader, so I left at around 2:30pm. Frederick was surprised to see me, but I told him about the wind, and he looked a bit skeptical. I swear on me mam it were really windy.
Anyways, the next day I left.
So I left early for Dar airport (my flight was at 4:45pm) – I asked the taxi driver to come at 12:00pm. It was good that I did, since I didn’t check in at the airport until about 2pm, since we sat in a massive traffic jam for about an hour and a bit. In traffic, one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in Tanzania happened. We were sitting behind a tanker truck which was on its way to the port to get more oil. Three shifty looking guys came up and started opening taps and siphoning it off into plastic carrier bags. The first two finished fairly soon, but one man was loitering around the truck for about 30-40 minutes while traffic slowly moved in starts. No one did anything, as I would expect, and even the truck driver didn’t get out, though they were hanging off the side of the truck. The thief was waiting and waiting for the bag to fill up. About 45 minutes after he first clambered onto the truck he took from it a huge double-bagged ball of petrol. It looked almost perfectly round. Mussa, the driver, told me that they sell this petrol on to daladala drivers and the like. I was amazed by the sheer audacity of it all.
This time, I actually had a seat in front of the wing, though as it turned out, I had a great view of the engine (and the sunset!). I also had an entire row to myself, albeit surrounded by babies on both sides. I watched two films and read a little of Leskov’s short(ish) peasant stories. The films I saw were Parker, which was ok, but I’m not sure if it merits inclusion in my upcoming Jason Statham Film Festival or not, since I couldn’t sufficiently suspend my disbelief at the characters and their actions… it felt a bit unfinished. The other film I saw was Cockneys versus Zombies, which was actually not that bad, for what it was – there was one hysterical scene where an OAP ‘runs’ with his walker away from a horde of zombies…
I liked the luminous arcs of road that I could see across the darkened desert as we came into Dubai. It was enthralling to watch the lights as I came in.
I also participated fully in the consumer economy on my arrival in Dubai. I had wanted to buy myself a self-congratulatory lipstick in honour of finishing my fieldwork, so I settled on Dubonnet, a shade of dark red from Mac. I arrived in Dubai at about 11:20pm.
I spent about an hour speedwalking laps around the airport but then I got a bit bored of it and decided to go for a beer in the Heineken Lounge there. I was carrying a lot of things and this man made a comment so I decided to ask whether I could sit with him and his friend. They were deep sea divers coming back from the Gulf – they told me they defuse bombs so that pipelines can now be built. Coincidentally, two of their colleagues were on my flight to Gatwick (they were flying to Manchester). We had a few pints, and they got increasingly urgent messages from their colleague on my flight that it was last call, so I left the bar at about 2:15am (the boarding call was 2:05am), and saw final call on the board, so I had to run (a bit awkwardly) to the gate – I was the last one to board the plane. The woman at the gate said “been shopping, have we?” and I just nodded. I went to see the colleague of my new found mates at 41C (I was 37K, which was an awesome seat). Then before take off, I sat down, curled up in blankets and scarves, and passed out for most of the flight (thanks beer!). I feel a bit bad because I’d promised to have a drink with Buck (the aforementioned colleague’s name), but he kept coming up to me and I was asleep.
I woke up about 2 hours before landing, having never slept on a plane before. I felt a bit groggy, but I managed to eat a bit of breakfast, while a strange (probably drunk) man bothered pretty much everyone, and told us not to eat our breakfast. I didn’t eat the hot part, since it was gross, but the other bits were ok. On arrival, I went through electronic passport control to avoid awkward questions about my British passport being unstamped, and it was really convenient. My luggage came fairly quickly, and I said goodbye to my new acquaintances and promised I’d ring when I was in London to go for the promised drink. Mum and Dad were late coming due to traffic on the M25 ring road, but I was ok with it. I drank a double espresso blended ice mocha thing from the coffee shop and read the paper. It started pouring rain, and everyone was annoyed except for me, since I hadn’t seen rain for a long time (dry season in Mwanza).
After we got off the M25 (I think?), we stopped at a service station to get some food and groceries for later. I had a sandwich, a glorious panini-esque sandwich, crisps, and a cola.
I also discovered that shops are fairly overwhelming to me due to sheer volume of choice. Abundance now is a bit weird – at least in the Western sense. I think I’ll eventually get over it. I was very excited about the cheese display…
Though I did have a few moments this week in shops where I felt a bit panicked because I could not find anything due to this volume of product. Once, when I was going to buy some chocolate mousse, and another time when I was looking for custard. It’s also probably because things in British supermarkets are subtly different to things in Canadian ones (like custard, we don’t really have it with the yoghurts and that). The chocolate mousse wasn’t so bad – I found some and went to go put it in the cart, but then right beside the cart there were another 20 types of chocolate mousse and then I had no idea which one to buy. Why so many? The custard incident was a bit more bad, since I did actually start to panic, since I couldn’t find this custard where mum said it would be, and there were too many packages to look at, and I felt totally overwhelmed by sheer capitalistic variety. I went to go ask a staff member where it was, but luckily, he was just stocking it, so I managed. Thankfully. “Small” shops here seem rather big to me, and I find the choice in them sufficient for my needs. I like buying local here too – there’s loads of nice little cafes and that. But before we went to Nan’s house on our journey from Gatwick, we stopped in a little town I remember from 7 years before called Newport Pagnell – apparently home of Aston Martin.
We went into the church there, which was almost 500 years old in parts. I liked the painted doors.
We also went in this little shop I remember from last time, which sells kind of paper curiosities and other things of that nature. I bought two things to hang on my walls, though Dad took them back to Canada, so I don’t have a photo of them. The first one was a cute illustration from the early 20th century of “Bicycle sailing”, with ladies riding bicycles with sails. The second one I’m going to hang in my bathroom since it’s a sweet photograph of an 1890s football player from I think Millwall FC with an amazing mustache and he is totally swag as the kids say.
We went to Kettering in advance of my Nan’s birthday party to pick up party supplies (I needed cleaner shoes, since all of my shoes are p much Africafied [dusty and scratched up]), so I got some amazing heels at Topshop. I also found these socks, which I will not part from ever:
Nan’s 90th birthday went pretty well. We had it in a hall in her town. She had a really good time, but some days later (i.e., today) she’s still really tired. I was glad to meet all of my cousins and relations and other acquaintances again, because I realised that having been gone for 7 years, I almost felt that I couldn’t recognise them. Luckily we all got on really well. Nan is so cool that she even had an after party at one of their houses in Higham Ferrers (or Higham for short) and we stayed until about 10! I was the sous chef at the party, helping Steve with plating, mostly, though it wasn’t that fancy.
The next day I went to Bristol, and I want to write about it, but this post is getting really long, and mum’s giving me looks so…