Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm Here!

Hello all!
I've made it into Africa! I'm currently staying with my friend Steve, who lives on a beautiful beach outside of Dar es Salaam. He is working for a world health organization called AMREF. I followed him to work this morning and borrowed the computer briefly so I could update my blog.

My first few days have been an experience in themselves. Most notably, it is stiflingly hot here, and coming from February in Vancouver I was not entirely prepared. I am so sunburnt, I feel like a great big tomato, and that's just from a few excursions around the airport and on the beach, sunscreened and all.
Most people here are very polite and well dressed. Suit pants and button-up shirts are common for men and vibrantly patterned dresses for women. School children are all uniformed.
Swahili is the most common langauge here, and communicating can be difficult. I'm starting to learn some of the language (simple greetings, numbes, how to order food), so that shouldn't be a problem for long.
Cars drive on the left here, and the transit system is hectic at best. There are a ton of cars rattling and honking their way in and out of the city, along with tiny three-wheeled "tuktuks" which carry up to four people on their tiny back seats. Luckily, traffic never goes too fastand people are friendly, so there is little danger even if the roads seem chaotic.

The place where Steve is staying is right on the beach with many of the expensive hotels. We've been doing a lot of swimming in the warm-to-hot ocean. Steve's neighbour Ken is from the original Baywatch boat, which the TV show was based on. He's been teaching us to use his kite surfing gear. I'm really excited about that.
Yesterday we went to a small island on a little wooden boat with a bunch of tourists, and went snorkelling. It was amazing! I took a bunch of pictures with my underwater camera. There were some amazing tropical fish and other sealife living around the coral reefs. Lots of Jellyfish, which I must say freaked me out a little.

We're eating well, too. Lots of very flavourful tropical fruits and intersting local food - mostly fried fish, beef, chicken, rice, beans, etc. The average meal costs between one and five dollars depending on where you go.

Sometime this week, when Steve sorts out some Visa issues, we will be travelling up to Moshi to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. I've been talking to other travellers who have dome the climb and heard many great stories. I'm looking forward to it!

I'll post another update after Kilimanjaro and let you all know how it went.
Thanks for taking the time to read!

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