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leaving the dar es salaam harbour

stone town

Returning to Dar es Salaam from Zanzibar, I had this odd sensation of feeling at home. Perhaps it’s just what’s become familiar over the past few months, but I felt good to have a shower once again in my dilapidated bathroom with the broken concrete floor. The water pressure was great tonight, and there’s electricity. A few of those large four-winged insects disrupted my optimistic mood, but a few swipes of the broom and I was once again at peace.

Today was more hectic than it needed to be. We woke up early to have breakfast at the hotel restaurant, where Rashid and another cook served omelets and fresh fruit from the buffet table. We ate at a table by the ocean. At 10am we joined a minivan to leave Nungwi for Stone Town, stopping at various resorts and hotels to pick up other guests along the way. Before 12 in the afternoon, we had arrived and went right into the shopping, wasting little time to buy gifts. Language comprehension really comes in handy, and makes me feel more comfortable. Many stores are fascinating, featuring various antique (looking) items from around the world, but perhaps so much so that I am left to wonder, what really is authentic Zanzibar?

2pm rolls around and we wander to the ferry docks to buy our tickets early…or at least we thought we were early. Apparently the 4pm ferry was full, and we were told that our only option would be to go on the 9pm ferry, which would take 9 hours to reach Dar es Salaam overnight. We gathered enough attention around the ticket booth to attract one of the workers, who allowed us to bribe him at $5 USD a person extra in order to get on the full ferry. A bit chaotic, a bit rushed, a bit uncertain, but it all worked out in the end. We went for a quick lunch where they were playing classic Celine Dion, and returned to the ferry docks early once again to board. Two hours later we arrived in Dar es Salaam, past the Kivukoni fish market (ie: smell) and into the hoard of local touts and taxi drivers. Traffic was bad once again. We walked a ways to find a reasonably-priced taxi. We waited for a few minutes while the president and his entourage passed through. And then it’s back to the Jeshi, back to my room, back to my work.

I must say, I’m getting more and more excited about leaving. It’s time. I’ve been saying it’s time to leave for the past few weeks now, actually. I want to leave, and I’m just about ready to leave. To see my parents, my brother, to be somewhere else but here.

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