DAR to Lushoto!

Just had a short power outage- welcome to Africa. Yesterday in Bagmoyo the power was out from 10am until 7pm. Sometimes they turn of the electricity to save it but I’m also told to get used to it as it can happen often.  Luckily, wordpress backs everything up or I would be very upset to lose this entire post!

I’m back in Dar to my dismay but it’s the central hub to go North, South or central. It’s simply the way their transport system is. I had hoped to go from Bagamoyo straight to Lushoto but there was simply no way and I needed to stop at the bank.  finding banks with ATMS aren’t always a guarantee so I have to stock up on money when I’m in bigger cities, especially so i can go to Barclay’s bank and not have a $5 foreign withdrawal fee every time I take money out. I regret not buying a money belt but I didn’t think it would be helpful but that’s because I never saw one that was practical until I met the girl from France.  maybe I’ll get one in Mombasa. What may seem ok by map is not always possible or the quickest way.

Bagamoyo was nice but after a week I was ready to go. It didn’t feel right. I imagine when I find a place I enjoy, I’ll know and want to stay for a while. It’s an art college town. There were several muzungos (white folks) volunteering or teaching music or dance through an exchange program from their country. Most seemed to be settled in their new life there and not necessarily eager to hang out ore really interact with new people. They have their network and that’s that.  I spent a good amount of time with an older woman, Maagen, from Sweden who had spent time in Bagamoyo before. She knew Mary, the owner of the cozy place I stayed and a few other locals. One night we hung out at a local spot- near someones house and listened to music. Lots of hanging out. During the day, it’s so hot you don’t want to walk much or at all. I’ve been sweating like there is no tomorrow. It doesn’t feel good but it is how it is. I find the heat wears on my body really quickly. I awake around 7am and by 8pm I’m ready for bed. Exciting, huh? The first part of the week, I would take morning walks with Maagan but the beach is not so nice. Of course, it doesn’t help that I just spent a week in gorgeous Zanzibar almost nothing could compare but I had no interest in even putting my feet in the water in Bagamoyo. Too much seaweed and who knows what creatures lurk. I assume that everything is bigger and more dangerous than it would be at home, in my effort to stay safe.

I left Bagamoyo and took the dala dala- a minibus that has 20 seats (including where the driver sits) but they will pack as many people that can fit, especially when we’re not at a dala dala station and people can’t just get on the next one. Today, there were 25 people on on for a good 2o minutes of the hr long journey. I was happy to have a seat nearest the door. I think the best spot one can have and not always possible as you get seated according to when you board. First people to board are in the back until they fill it all in. Then I needed to board either a bus or anohter dala dala to take me into town. I showed several different people a map and mentioned the street names( one being a main road) and ended up on a bus that didn’t take me to where I intended. When I showed them the map, they seemed confused… in my frustration and lack of speaking swahili I realized many people probably haven’t seen a map. Grrr. Luckily, when I got off in an unfamiliar area a man boarding the bus said he would take me to where I needed to go. I took him up on the offer. I assumed he’d expect something and I didn’t mind paying. Turns out he’s from Tanzania but now living in Sweden (for the last 15 years) and is just here on holiday. Then, I felt awkward offering anything (and how much is enough but not too much? the reason I don’t like offering money) and he didn’t expect anything. How nice.

Then I arrived at the hotel- econolodge- which i hoped would feel a bit nicer than Safari inn but no such luck. It’s spacious and I have 2 twin beds (though they consider it a single) and the shower is big but it feels very eck. I shouldn’t expect much as I’m not paying $100 but sometimes the place I sleep can get me down, quickly. It helps that I’m leaving early tomorrow morning. I ask how to get info about the buses to Lushoto. The woman speaks just enough English but not enough to help me out. She doesn’t know what buses go there. Great. I’m on the verge of tears, exhausted from being on a dala dala, bus and carrying my heavy pack to the hotel. The manager agrees that I should go to Ubongo bus station to find out. Great. Luckily, I have my map, get myself settled in my room and then I come back down to ask how to get to the nearby bus ticket stations. Oh, no problem. it’s 2 minutes away! Why didn’t you say that before???

It’s annoying. It feels like no one knows anything here.  I can’t expect anyone to help me out. I’m on my own. A good survival skill but when you’re tired and hungry I just want to scream and cry…This is why I don’t like my traveling days.

I head to lushoto at 8:30am by bus tomorrow, which is in the east Usumbara mountains. I’m told it’s an 8 hr bus ride and air conditioned. Hopefully, it will be! A young couple I met in Zanzibar highly recommended stopping by, if I was passing through. Lushoto, I hear is beautiful. I plan to hike or wander and of course, I’ll take a guide(one is who registered through the tourist center) or go with other travelers. Hopefully, travelers won’t be in short supply over there! The climate shall be a little cooler and a lot more peaceful. From Lushoto I will head to Mombasa, Kenya to visit a friend… and from there exploring the coast before making my way to Nariobi, whom I have a contact. I met a Kenyan woman, who had been living in France and is now moving back and looking for a job. She said she’d show me around so will see what comes of it or if I care to stay in Nariobi.

I’ll try to create page with more details of what I see. Tanzania has quickly become a part of me and yet there is so much to share… I find it challenging sometimes to look at everything with fresh eyes as I take what I see and simply absorb it.Accept it as fact!

2 thoughts on “DAR to Lushoto!

  1. Hey! I got your postcard, but it was impossible to read it 😦 It looked like you were really writing quickly or were in a mad rush! Anyway…I will look forward to the next one…just take your time!!

  2. Hi Lauren, I’m so glad every time I see a new blog entry!
    Yeah travelling seems stressful, always having to look for things and plan… I hope you soon find a place you truly love to hang out for a while.
    I hope lushoto will be what you expect, can’t wait to see pictures!
    And I know what you mean, with things becoming part of you. When you just arrive somewhere there’s so much to see around you, but after a while you are just part of it and don’t notice the extraordinary anymore. How great that we can see and feel and walk and… 🙂
    Love, ML

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