Southern Tranquility Part II

By on February 8, 2016

(…Continued from Last week)

The drive from Julius Nyerere Airport to Serena Hotel Dar is an interesting one. You see, Tanzanians are strange human beings. No, really; they are. These folks do have some major traffic issues, in comparison to the rest of East Africa. In Nairobi and Kampala driving through traffic is a brutal jungle fight; only the strong and ruthless survive. In Dar it is a different story. The traffic cops do not tolerate reckless driving and the road users have so much respect for each other it is simply shocking. Having been in Nairobi just a few hours prior and in Kampala a day before, the difference in Dar was simply mind blowing. These people in Dar actually wait for the lights to turn green before they re-start their engines. And if there is a pedestrian crossing, all the cars will wait and no one behind them will shout ‘Get out of the fucking way Grandma!’ (I bet it must be twice as vulgar in Swahili)

It’s just so amazing!

And while all this is happening on the road, you might bump into someone selling cashew nuts, a Magufuli-themed calender or something fished out of the Indian Ocean. Other than that, the people are really respectful when it comes to vending in traffic. In Kampala people will shove anything from car spare parts to overstayed foodstuffs through your car window without as much as a bother. If you’re buying, well and good. If you’re not, they might sneak in an insult. In Nairobi, someone will sell you something through the driver’s window while another is robbing you on the other end. It is no joke.

In Dar, it is like the citizens actually respect each other, which is strange because as East Africans, one would have hoped that we speak the same language of confusion and madness. But No! The people of Dar have decided to write their own rule book – and follow it. If there are instances of misdemeanor in the city, they must have hidden them the entire time we were there. I bet the worst crimes people in Dar experience are littering, noise making and perhaps gorgeous ladies moving topless. Other than that, driving through Dar is like playing Level 1 of Super Mario Bros; before Luigi even shows up to complicate things. It’s so easy and straight forward.

By the time we got to our hotel it was clear that if I ever wanted a city to settle in and hide from the rest of the world, Dar would be that city. They have gorgeous women who will have no problem moving around topless (the beach is right there), the traffic is organised and they have pretty cool beer; now that’s my kind of city. Oh and they are so welcoming it’s like they have known you since you were a little boy.

Such cool people.

When I checked in at the Hotel, I was half sure if my passport got lost I would have no problem staying back in Tanzania – unless of course they deported me. I felt at home in Dar.

Whenever I check into a hotel, I am keen to ask for a room with a view. I always take a shower, slide into the robe provided by the hotel (I rarely carry my own), and then just stare out of the window while sipping on a local beer or anything alcoholic that the folks at the bar downstairs will provide. During this time, I often stare out into the world and think about things like the shape of the earth, the purpose of life, why the Kanye’s named their child North and not East, and of course my favorite – whether or not mermaids really exist. Seeing as I was in Dar, the question of mermaids is one that was bound to take a bit of my time figuring out.

If you ever go to this specific Serena Hotel in Dar, make sure you get a room on one of the top floors. The view from the 5th floor of the Serena Hotel Dar is picturesque. Not only do you get to see and marvel at the beautiful skyline, you also get to breathe in the fresh air from the Indian ocean.

Hotel roomThe view from my Hotel Room

As a Ugandan whose only experience of a large water body is Lake Victoria, it is safe to say that going anywhere near the Indian Ocean is a big deal. Granted, Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area and the largest tropical lake in the world. Also, Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest fresh water lake by surface area, behind only Lake Superior in North America. But this does not compare to the awesomeness and serenity of the Indian Ocean.

The BoysOn the hunt for mermaids at the Indian Ocean 

You can imagine the excitement I felt knowing that the Indian Ocean was not too far from where I was and it is possible I was breathing in the same oxygen as a certain pirate on the Indian ocean or a mermaid somewhere on one of those forsaken islands.

And while I was staring out my Hotel window and taking in the view, I glanced back at the TV which was showing one of those classic movies on DSTV and then noticed a brochure on the table.

I picked up the brochure. It said something about golfing.

I instantly called the reception and asked about golfing for Hotel patrons. As it turned out, there is an adjacent golf course where patrons get to enjoy golf or in my case, walk your way to the 18th hole.

And if this walk takes you all the way to the Indian Ocean, even better. Walking from Dar-es-Salaam Serena Hotel to the Indian ocean will take you no more than 10 minutes. In those 10 minutes, be sure to take in the sights and sounds of Dar because nowhere else in the world do you have the opportunity to take in so much glamour and splendour is so little time.

At the Indian Ocean, depending on what time of the day it is, you will find the water levels at varying positions. If you are lucky, you can get to go farther into the ocean without worrying about drowning or being hacked by pirates.

No, there are no pirates; I just like to think there are – my imagination is wild like that.

There are several ‘Do Not Swim’ signs almost everywhere but I am pretty sure some rule breakers find that handwriting illegible. I doubt the rule breakers are Tanzanian though.

You will most likely see a few other tourists, depending on what part of the coast you are. Also, you will by all means come across some attractive ocean souvenirs to take home from the beach – assuming you don’t get asked too many questions by airport security.

 sHELLSI managed to sneak these past Airport Security 

A visit to the Indian Ocean is always the highlight of any Ugandan who is used to fake beaches spread all across Lake Victoria shores. Well, this Ugandan was just about to actually enjoy one of the most memorable weekends ever at the Selous Game Reserve. If the Indian Ocean was the foreplay, the visit to Selous Game Reserve was the climax. And it was just about to be unveiled!

to be continued…

a.k.a Beewol
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