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Arrivin in Mwanza

Dar es Salam is hot busy and wet. I take my time at the airport and pay a reasonable price for Papa Ibrahim to take me to the Jambo hotel. I don’t may much attention to my surroundings I’m just glad to find a place to stay and get out of my 36 hours old clothes.

The Jambo Inn Hotel is shabby but secure and a regular wazungu haunt. It’s dark by the time I’m showered and comfortable enough to think about going out but I make my way onto the streets and walk around, enjoying the new sounds and smells. I am greeted and welcomed by two guys sitting drinking at a bar and I sit down with them to share a beer. They profess to being safari operators but it soon becomes plain that means “tourist guide”: one of several flavours of hustler. They are both friendly but Frank becomes more aggressive as the night wears on and he gets drunker. Kim seems quieter and when he finds out I am a psychologist he requests that I meet him tomorrow and give him some advice about what to do in his situation.

We go to a couple of bars and end up in the Zanzibari where I am an instant hit with the working women. Frank tries unsuccessfully to sell me drugs at much over inflated prices. I make my excuses and walk with them back to the hostel for a long needed sleep.

Next day I meet with Kim in the morning and we wonder around Dar until the afternoon. Kim is intelligent and articulate and does not pursue his extended sales pitch once he understands it isn’t going to wash. There are lots of Tanzanian football shirts in evidence on the streets and Kim explains that the national team have a big match against Senegal in Mwanza that evening. He warns me that it might be difficult finding a room. We see the harbour and the fish market and share a couple of beers and a couple of meals. Supu Ng’ombe for breakfast and Samaki na rice for lunch. Back at the hostel I meet Ibrahim for a ride back to the airport and a wait for the plane to mwanza.

While I am waiting for checkin I get talking to Masua who it turns out is taking the same flight. He works for the government promoting the uptake of solar technology by the private sector and has a keen interest in NLP and business psychology! Bingo! We sit together on the plane and when we arrive in Mwanza he offers to wait for me to get my bags and give me a lift into Mwanza. His company supplies a driver to pick him up and take him home. This turns out to be a blessing beyond blessings. Once we have dropped off Masua, Mark the driver and I spend a good hour and a half visiting every single hotel he can think of and some he didn’t know existed until finally we find the only room in town going spare at the Dominic mission just outside town. By this time I am very tired, very smelly and fairly anxious so you can imagine my relief when the place turns out to be secure, very reasonably priced and joy of joys very clean and very very comfortable.

This morning, Sunday I also discover that it has internet access and a balcony with a view of the rocky hills and a slice of the bay. I shall be staying here for at least a few days while I settle in and get to know my way around.

BTW as soon as we started driving around on the way from the airport to Mwanza I was hit by a sense of familiarity that I had not had when I was in Dar. Perhaps its the smells, perhaps its the particular combination of sights, the scattering of trees and lush greenery around all the houses but I immediately thought. Ah yes.. this is more like it..

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