Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tanzania, day 1

On 1/18/74 (the 40th anniversary of the death of Bill Finger, not that that is related), I stepped foot on both Asian and African soil for the first time.

En route to four days of author presentations at the International School of Tanganyika in Tanzania, I had a layover in Dubai (where, I learned in late December, I will be returning to in April).

Upon landing in Tanzania after nearly a day of travel, Karen Choan, my kind and thorough host, greeted me at the chaotic airport. American born, she’s worked at schools in Peru and China, among other far-flung locales.

Notes from my first day in Africa:

As per the prescription, I began taking my malaria pills two days before travel. They say a side effect of these pills is nightmares. So far, nada. But I actually hope I get one...it has been a while.

I learned that the entire country of Tanzania has only four movie theaters.

The Tanzanian woman at the front desk of my hotel asked if I would bring a pair of shoes to her friend who lives in Maryland.

In the city of Dar es Salaam, traffic at some intersections (even ones with traffic lights) is directed by police officers, and some don’t seem to be doing an especially efficient job. At one light, we waited for about ten minutes.

Police corruption is pervasive; I am told of an incident in which an officer opened the passenger side door of a car in a parking lot, got in, and would not leave until the driver paid him off.

“Mambo” is a greeting meaning “hello.”

I will first be saying  “mambo” at 6:30 a.m. each day I speak at the school, since that is my pick-up time.

Virtually the first thing I saw deplaning. I, unfortunately, 
am here as an MTN Tanzania customer.

The shopping complex my hotel, Slipway, is in. (The hotel is in the background, 
with that blue, curved overhang. That triple-domed pavilion is 
a wall-less restaurant where apparently I will be eating a lot.)

I love both the name and logo of my hotel. Peaceful.

Kilimanjaro-brand water, and bed draped with mosquito netting. 
(So far, not a one, inside or out.)

An English-language bookshop right below the hotel. 
It had a section of books for young readers, 
but almost none by authors I know.

The other restaurant where I will eat most days; it's on a bay off the Indian Ocean.
Deciding which style to go for. Imagine each overlaid on the next photo 
and send suggestions. Seriously, most anything is better than this:

The pool at the hotel. Where I am going now. 
Seriously, my family will shake their heads (and maybe smack mine) 
when they find out I worked during off-duty hours while in Africa.

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