Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From the backseat of my bajaj

Hibiscus is living it up in London, so got an sms to ask if I can stand in for her on blog duty. While sitting in the back of the bajaj (see below) going to work this morning, I was thinking of what to say. I think I have a serious case of end of year blues. That combined with the unbearable heat, crap at work and the fact that my hunter’s gone has me feeling a little low the past couple of weeks.

But this is what I am loving about our little blog experiment – it has made us all soak up our surroundings like when we first arrived! And driving through the winding, bumpy roads of Dar, really taking in my neighbourhood, I realized again why it is that we live here and tolerate the dust and dirt. The frenzy of everyday life in Africa is just addictive! Every day is a crazy, sometimes unpleasant, mostly wonderful assault on your senses.

The beautiful flower “nurseries” next to the road provides burst of colour that mix and clash with the pretty kangas worn by the local ladies. In contrast the children wear mostly rags or nothing, but their laughter and happy shrieks add to the noise of goats bleating and taxi’s hooting. In every open space someone is selling peanuts, bananas, tomatoes or onions and outside dingy dukkas men fry cassava chips over big open fires. Long, regal looking Masai sporting beautiful beadwork jingle while they walk side by side with woman covered from head to toe in black burkas or bright sari’s. The sun beats down mercilessly on us all…

Some expats come here and hardly venture past the neatly manicured lawns of the Peninsula (an area known for big houses occupied by even bigger egos) and then go back home complaining bitterly about how harsh living in Dar is. And that is certainly is! But if you do not immerse yourself in Dar es Salaam and her people how can you say that you have really lived here an complain?

Yes I am counting down the days to my holiday in South-Africa and I cannot wait to run into the nearest Woolies food and buy everything in sight! But I will be back - hopefully minus the silly season blues! I will be back buying freshly roasted corn next to the side of the road and drinking cold local beers with my feet in the sand at Dar Live. It is the noise, the people, the vibe…and all this observed from the backseat of a bajaj, how much more is there not to discover in the hidden alleys of House of Peace?

Photo source: Google

ps...This is what the humble bajaj looks like, my preferred mode of transport. Actually, correction, this is what a brand new out of the box bajaj from Google Images looks like! The ones that we flag down are considerably more run down or in other cases pimped up! They have engines like mosquitoes and noisily wind their way through Dar traffic making them at once very dangerous and very convenient!


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