Transportation in Tanzania

Transportation in Tanzania

So we’ve been in Tanzania for less than a week now though it feels like ages. Thursday late we arrived at the trainstation in Dar es Salaam. Without knowing we were agreeing to a hell of a taxi ride.

The taxi ride

“What’s your name?” “Yep” “Yep is your name?” “Yep”. So Yep was about to take us to Silver Paradise Hotel, though he couldn’t pronounce the name and just said Paris Hotel. “A big traffic jam, give me 50.000” he said while the traffic jam was on the other side of the road. “We agreed on 40.000 and there is no traffic jam” “Yep, big jam” he agreed. So after a smooth ride on tarmac, Mister Yep thought it was time for some shortcut. They sure love shortcuts in Africa. This particular shortcut was quite the strange one. We switched towards a dirt-road and within seconds we were driving through a graveyard. On both sides of the dirt-road were graves and I wonder whether we might be driving over some death bodies. The shortcut took us about 30 minutes longer while there was still no jam on the tarmac when we finally reached the tarmac road again. Mister Yep drove and drove while we thought he actually knew where to go he was actually guessing where to go. “Yep, Tip Top station” “Alright, but we need to go to Silver Paradise Hotel”. “Paris Hotel, yep”. He then started asking people and after going wrong for four times we were finally back on track. “There it is” I said, “Yep” he replied and then drove in the wrong direction. So, I got a little bit upset and told him to turn around now and follow my lead. Yep, he did and after about 2,5 hours (which would normally be 45 minutes) we arrived at the hotel. “Give me 50.000, big jam”. “You get 40.000 take it or leave it” and with that he drove off, sadly for his mistake “sorry” was his last word to us.

The bus ride

It’s 8.30am and we are waiting for the bus to leave. Half an hour more of standing in the heath while all the busses are in stationary and the gasses fill our lungs. People who haven’t bought a ticket yet are pushed and pulled towards busses by bus boys. Old ladies and young boys are selling cookies, water, bread, telephones, chargers, hard-drives and whatever you can think of.

9AM we are leaving. Bye Dar es Salaam for now. Our bus driver is a friendly guy who doesn’t speak English very well. Actually no-one does here, which makes it hard but funny to interact. I guess we have to learn Swahili. So, within no-time we leave Dar es Salaam behind us and the bus driver starts pushing the gass. Not a little bit but a lot. With 100km’s we race through 50km streets, we pass cars in corners where there is no visibility to see other cars coming. Luckily we do not have front seats and are watching some movies. Yuri did get some sweaty feet though. I’m a bit used to the driving style of African bus drivers though this man could win the formula 1 in a bus. We drove through the most amazing landscapes and the most boring ones, we passed small sweat villages and crowded towns, we saw mountains and flat lands, cows and sheep, herders and fruit sellers. The sun was shining, the airco in the bus comfortable.

The closer we get to Arusha the more Masai we see. Some in beautiful clothes and with amazing jewelry. Lot’s of Masai kids herding sheep. They all wave and smile when they see a pair of white faces looking out the window. And not only that, I also see human-made bee hives hanging in the trees. Quite strange but I like it. Other than that it struck us that Tanzanians like to keep their car stationary while waiting. Whether it’s five minutes, half an hour or even an hour, they don’t mind keeping the motor running. While we sit in a big bus for the longer distance the normal way of transportation is by bodaboda or matatue. Bodaboda’s are motor cycles on which anything can be transported. People, goats, chickens, beds, wood. The further away from Dar es Salaam the crazier it gets. We also see some matatue (a mini bus) with lots of people in it, at the front of the car we see lots of “Thank the lord”, “Jesus is with us”, “Mashalaah” and I even saw “Hakuna Matata”. Other than that we also seen some strange stickers on matatue’s like a portrait of Ghadaffi, Osama Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein. Luckily there are also plenty of Jesus portraits; Jesus with goats, Jesus with the sun, Jesus as an angel.

At 6PM we arrived in Arusha where Samuel was waiting for us to take us to his home, but that’s for another blog post.



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