Day 34 – Destination Dar es Salaam

To get to Dar es Salaam I had to be at Iringa’s main bus station by 7:45am today so I crept out of the room just after 6am as it was now full due to some new arrivals yesterday afternoon and in an attempt not to wake anyone I grabbed all of my stuff and crept out as quietly as I was able.  

I took a shower in the communal facility down the hall and packed my bag in the kitchen with the few items I would need for Zanzibar.  I kissed my bike goodbye “it’s only a week darling” I whispered to her as I piled my additional pannier and tent next to her, things that I certainly wouldn’t be needing on my mini holiday and off I went out into the early morning light.  The sunrise was beautiful this morning and I stopped for a moment to catch a glimpse of the first ray’s peaking out from behind the rocky mountains before reluctantly pushing on towards the town centre where I was told I would find the bus terminal.
When I arrived it was very much like any normal bus terminal you are likely to encounter in the developing world and I kind of like how hectic they can be.  There were touts everywhere and before I knew it I was getting talked into all sorts of journeys to various parts of the country, today though I was looking for a company called Suitco and the only place I’m headed is Dar Es Saalam!  I found the bus I wanted pretty quickly and it was fortunate that I had arrived slightly earlier than required as they had no record of my booking that my friend Musa had arranged for me on the previous evening.  Looking at the piece of paper attached to the drivers clipboard as he was checking passengers onto the bus I could see that most of the seats were already full but I was fortunate enough to grab one of the last ones, phew lucky Jimbo!  I suppose there would have been another bus later on if there hadn’t been an available seat but that would mean waiting a few extra hours which of course mr impatient over here would have found very annoying.  I paid my fare of 22,000 shillings and went to take my seat.  The bus was reasonable enough compared to the numerous busses that I had seen passing me on the road everyday, so I settled in for the 10hr journey to Dar happy and comfortable, well for the time being at least.
We stopped a few times during the trip for food and convenience breaks and during the long drive there were also a couple of films being screened on those drop down TVs that you would find on an aeroplane in the 90’s.
The long journey wasn’t too bad really and the views outside of the window were near to spectacular.  I hadn’t realised just how mountainous Tanzania  was and this road even more so than that of my ride through the country so far. I’m sort of wishing I had ridden south on this road towards Iringa rather than the route I had taken via Dodoma.

I took a shower in the communal facility down the hall and packed my bag in the kitchen with the few items I would need for Zanzibar.  I kissed my bike goodbye “it’s only a week darling” I whispered to her as I piled my additional pannier and tent next to her, things that I certainly wouldn’t be needing on my mini holiday and off I went out into the early morning light.  The sunrise was beautiful this morning and I stopped for a moment to catch a glimpse of the first ray’s peaking out from behind the rocky mountains before reluctantly pushing on towards the town centre where I was told I would find the bus terminal.
When I arrived it was very much like any normal bus terminal you are likely to encounter in the developing world and I kind of like how hectic they can be.  There were touts everywhere and before I knew it I was getting talked into all sorts of journeys to various parts of the country, today though I was looking for a company called Suitco and the only place I’m headed is Dar Es Saalam!  I found the bus I wanted pretty quickly and it was fortunate that I had arrived slightly earlier than required as they had no record of my booking that my friend Musa had arranged for me on the previous evening.  Looking at the piece of paper attached to the drivers clipboard as he was checking passengers onto the bus I could see that most of the seats were already full but I was fortunate enough to grab one of the last ones, phew lucky Jimbo!  I suppose there would have been another bus later on if there hadn’t been an available seat but that would mean waiting a few extra hours which of course mr impatient over here would have found very annoying.  I paid my fare of 22,000 shillings and went to take my seat.  The bus was reasonable enough compared to the numerous busses that I had seen passing me on the road everyday, so I settled in for the 10hr journey to Dar happy and comfortable, well for the time being at least.
We stopped a few times during the trip for food and convenience breaks and during the long drive there were also a couple of films being screened on those drop down TVs that you would find on an aeroplane in the 90’s.
The long journey wasn’t too bad really and the views outside of the window were near to spectacular.  I hadn’t realised just how mountainous Tanzania  was and this road even more so than that of my ride through the country so far. I’m sort of wishing I had ridden south on this road towards Iringa rather than the route I had taken via Dodoma.

On the bus to Dar es Salaam
On the bus to Dar es Salaam

Something else quite funny happened during the trip to Dar as when I got talking to the girl next to me she started laughing and being a bit strange and then admitted that she had been following me on Instagram, haha how amazing, I mean I don’t have that many people following me and since the start of the trip I have now met two individuals in separate places that knew who I was, small world!

Mr Yuma meet Mr James, James Bond?

We finally arrived in Dar es Salaam about an hour and a half later than expected and it was now dark but as promised the much loved “Mr Yuma” who had been called by Marley to pick me up was waiting with a sign for “Mr James Bond” (OK someone’s having a laugh here) and I was quickly whisked away into his taxi and off towards the centre of the city.  I arrived at the Econolodge that was as nice as I could have expected for one of Dar (that’s shorthand for Dar es Salaam) cheaper hotels and seeing as I hadn’t made a prior booking I was given a larger room for the price of a single which really was generous and it came with a free breakfast as well, all in all very happy! Except…the fabled “Mr Yuma” who had been arranged to pick me up by my hostel buddies in Iringa so I would NOT be taken advantage of by the overpriced taxi guys at the station. However, he decided that I was obviously worth a bob or two and charged me double!  40,000 shillings rather than the already steep rate of 20,000 and if you think I paid 23,000 for the 500km journey I was feeling a little shafted to say the least! Normally I would just barter my way to a reasonable deal whatever the situation and over the years I fancy that I have become a dab hand at this. But seeing as I was going on the word of Marley and Musa who had called the guy especially I didn’t agree the price before I entered the cab, silly James!

Anyway I paid not wanting to offend anyone but later discovered I had been ripped off rather well, grrrr cheeky bastard! I fully intend to talk to the good old “Mr Yuma” when next we meet!

Dar es Salaam

After dropping my bag off in the room I headed out to the street to grab some food and soon enough found a number of places grilling a variety of meats on virtually every corner.  Honestly the smell of the barbecue drew me in like a tractor beam and before I knew it I had a lovely plate of grilled and spiced chicken sat in front of me which was absolutely delicious!  Let’s just hope that it’s better for me than my last attempt at chicken?!

I didn’t hang around too long as I was a little jaded from the lengthy bus journey so once I had finished I strolled back to the hotel for some rest!

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