Friday, January 14, 2011

First Day in Dar

Samuel took me and the ladies for a walk through the busy streets of Dar es Salaam. First we scoped out a few areas to exchange money. These places in Tanzania are very sketchy... at least compared to the US. We walked into a tiny room with a white board outside indicating the exchange rates. There was a man on the opposite side of a barred window with a small hole near his face. I slipped $100 through the hole, and the man began digging through a cash register, muttering something in Swahili under his breath. He didn't count the money or verbalize any amount that he returned to me. He just handed a wad of Tanzanian Shillings back to me and demanded that the next person hand him money. I'm so happy that Samuel was able to explain how much each note was worth, and that I received correct change. $1 is equal to about 1500Tsh.

I found out today that those crazy bus rides cost 250 Tsh to anywhere in the city—quite the bargain.

I also learned that it is a law for every business in the country to have a visible picture of the president, Kikwete. Many places also show a picture of the very first president, Nyerere, because he is considered a hero. I found it fascinating that people have a positive reaction to seeing the president everywhere, though it is required. Could you imagine the uproar in the US if it required the current president's face to be in their business at all times? I don't see that going over too well. But people here seem to embrace it. They are proud of their leaders, and want to show it.

Next we hopped on the Kilimanjaro ferry (Kilimanjaro seems to be a name for everything—ferries, mountains, water, etc.). We had seats on the second floor, in the very front of the boat. This was perfect for viewing the amazing sights along the way.
We passed this massive lighthouse on an island near Zanzibar. Apparently it was made thousands of years ago in the Arabic architectural style, and still stands today.

Then we came upon Stonetown! It's this absolutely beautiful, historic district of stone buildings at the port. But you'll get to hear more about this when we go on an excursion through the city.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! So happy you didn't get taken advantage of with the money :-) That would have been bad. Also, I love the pictures... keep 'em coming!