June 1st to 3rd
Our flight to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania was delayed and after twelve hours of travel routed through Nairobi, we arrived at almost midnight. We immediately experienced trouble getting money in Dar (as the locals call it) and couldn’t get any until the next morning at the fourth ATM we tried. There are no significant attractions here and it should not be on anyone’s list of places to see, but Doug wanted to see it because it was on Henry M Stanley’s expedition route to find Livingstone. There are very few foreign restaurants/shops except for one KFC. We saw no more than ten foreigners all day and hardly any touristy stores either. It is very poor with a high theft rate and some of the most unsafe drivers we’ve ever seen – had a few close calls ourselves. There are few good streets and fewer sidewalks and those you do find, are in need of repair. There were a number of buildings under construction, but no work being done and who knows when they were started or if they will ever be completed.
The most common establishments we saw were money exchangers, banks, side walk vendors selling belts, drinks, cigarettes and candy, fruit, rubber stamps (?), shoe shine/repair stands. For actual stores, the most common were travel agencies and cell phones. We went into the “Grand African Casino” but didn’t gamble because you needed to be a member.
We walked around town and the harbour area and saw many colonial buildings which are not being maintained well. The beach is dirty and polluted and we read quite unsafe due to muggings.
We then went to check out the Kariakoo market, which is the largest and cheapest in Tanzania. It was immense and very chaotic; many blocks in both directions as well as many alleys and really not a tourist market but sells day to day items that locals need.
We did meet a few genuinely helpful people who helped us with directions, especially one Ethiopian fellow from South Africa who has had some real difficulties in life, including getting shot, mugged, deported, etc.
Tuesday morning we caught the ferry to Zanzibar.