Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Strange Only If You Come From Somewhere Else:

The Terrifying: Trip from Dar es Salaam starts off with the bus driver narrowly missing a taxi pulling onto the road, driving up onto the grassy foot tall median strip and pruning a barely-missed tree before continuing on to the wrong side of the road. Without stopping the bus driver steers back onto the median strip and reenters traffic.

The Hilarious: Taking a dug-out canoe back from the historic Swahili ruins on Kilwa Kisiwani to Kilwa Masoko, our navigators begin by unfurling the boats sail. Unfortunately, there is no wind. One man gets out one of the three oars and begins rowing and singing, while the other fishermen and passengers (there are three others besides us) sit and watch. Only rowing on one side, we inevitably start turning around, and are prevented from doing so only by hitting two other boats. In the mean time the wind has picked up so that our sail starts to billow, only in the wrong direction (i.e. towards us). The fishermen do nothing about this, but instead the rudder-man picks up one of the two remaining oars, of course choosing the broken one, and proceeds to row. Eventually, half way across the channel another boat with a barely running motor comes out to tow us the rest of the way across.

The Ridiculous: Traveling from Lindi to Mtwara in southern Tanzania on a refurbished Japanese bus that of course is carrying at least ten more people than it was made to fit, when we pull over to pick up someone else. Only this person has with him a full wooden bed frame. Yes, a full twin bed frame, which he negotiates onto our bus. Luckily, the place for such furniture on the bus is the roof, and so that is where the next full wooden bed frame that we picked up about twenty minutes down the road also went.

Headed to Mozambique next...

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