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The long trip

After finishing up some work with WEEC we did a quick tour of Nairobi, unfortunately it was arranged for us which meant a trip to the zoo with frequent trips to markets where the driver hopes we will buy something so he can get a kickback.

The first visit was fun however, we went to a giraffe center where we got to feed the giraffes.


We then went to an animal "orphanage" that is part of the Nairobi Park System. It is really just a bad zoo (I have a hard time believing that orphaned crocodiles are a big problem). There's something very wrong about going to Africa and looking at monkeys in a cage. We did get to pet some cheetahs however! They seem like they had just given up and didn't even flich when we came by. It would be very sad if wasn't so cool to be able to pet a cheetah.

Nice Cheetah

After the zoo we went to the "Maasai Market" which is just a little park downtown where people sell trinkets that they all bought from the same wholesaler. I was hoping to buy some batiks to hang on my wall back home but as much as I hate shopping, I hate bargaining more, not a good combination for this kind of market. After picking out a few I liked and decided that they were worth about $10, but being a sucker I figured I would pay up to $20. The first price I got was $300. At first I did the conversion wrong in my head and I thought it was $30 so I thought I was off to a good bargaining point, then I did the conversion on my cell phone and saw that it was really $300, I was so pissed off at that, that I just refused to even negotiate and ended up not buying anything. If they hadn't gotten greedy, they could have had a sale and a nice profit.

Nairobi overall was a pleasant surprise in that the downtown area was clean and modern, not at all what I was expecting. As you head out of to the outskirts you get more of the crowded chaos you expect from an african city,


From Nairobi, I headed to Dar es Salaam. I took what should have been a 13 hour bus trip, it was not to be however. I paid $40 to go on the comfy 1st class bus with air conditioning and a bathroom. Of course when I show up, there sits a rickety old 3rd class bus. We head off and about the time we hit Arusha, Tanzania, which is them main jumping off point for people going to Mt Kilamanjaro, the bus breaks down. They then procede to fix it and we go about 100 yards and it breaks down again, this goes on and on until we finally reach the bus station in town where we sit for 3 hours while they work on the bus.

Finally we hit the road and we are enjoying the nice smooth Tanzanian roads, the sun goes down and we are now traveling in the dark. In Tanzania you are not supposed to drive buses after dark so we have to stop about every half hour to pay off the police to let us pass. Then in the middle of nowhere we stop. We've run out of fuel. The story I'm told, as I don't inderstand a word of Swahili, is that the driver had worked out a deal with the gas station to only put 100 liters of fuel in instead of 150. He then pocketed the rest of the money in the hopes that there was enough fuel in the reserve tank to get us to the destination. They are now trying to flag down passing trucks to try to buy enough fuel to get us to the next town. They finally get some and we then drive very slowly and get to the station. We arrive in Dar es Salaam a little after 1:00am.

Dar es Salaam is what I was expecting Nairobi to be, cowded, dirty, chaotic and lots of fun. It is a fairly integrated city with lots of Indian and Arab people living there. It also feels like a relatively safe city.

We made our stay in a small hotel and as typical of the entire trip, I payed double what Moses paid for the hotel. I get the "foreigner' price. When I asked the manager why they have two prices all he could say was that was the way it was set up when he got there. I've pretty much just come to expect to pay double what everyone else pays for just about everything. It does start to wear on your nerves after awhile though.

We did have a couple nice evening coffee runs to The Hotel Sea Cliff in the evenings where you can hang out by the ocean and relax.

Next stop: Zanzibar


i love that giraffe picture! it is a highlight of my day to read your adventures. chat soon!