Dar, Round II

Our 1990ish Rav 4 (1990 cc, 1996 built)

Just a small town hurl, stomach in a lonely world
I took the daytime plane goin’ anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised as quite adroit,
I took the daytime plane goin’ anywhere



No dogs and prolongs running life

Don’t Stop Believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Heathrow, people



Fits 1 person, size S/M

Had a bumpy but brilliant trip from Wash DC across the Atlantic on a day flight back toward Tanzania this month, reaching London just as dark dropped down on the Thames.  After clearing border control, I happily checked into my Terminal 4, coffin-like, rent-by-the-hour Yotel bed for some gloriously horizontal sleep, before continuing on to Dar es Salaam early the next morning.

Highlight of Heathrow was a half-dozen arriving bonvons boomboxing out one of rock’s all-time saccharine pop greats—with spot-on Journey(man) Steve Perry vocals—on the kilometer walk from gate to the passport counters.  They crushed it.  Retro 80s, for sure, but it made the hundreds if not thousands of us making that immigration trek forget the misery of the many+ hours we’d all just spent strapped in various aluminum tubes hurling through the stratosphere.

The Nyerere airport in Dar didn’t offer such fanfare, but it kind of felt like arriving home.  It didn’t surprise me to see that neither the new airport terminal nor the first-in-city flyover just down the road from the airport had opened, but both had progressed in visible ways.  And the usual traffic jam getting across town never materialized, a mystery without any clues.

But the rest of my favorite Dar usualities soon appeared:

Tamarind, Friday night getaway
  • our 5th floor view out over the Indian Ocean
  • Tamarind, our I’ll-slit-my-wrists-if-I-have-to-cook-again go-to-place for dinner
  • Frank, our bajaj driver
  • collection (small, but high quality) of friends from around the planet, some who don’t look anything like me
  • miles of body-friendly local dirt or mud or inundated (depending) roads for running
  • weird, intriguing, nearly (but not quite) intractable environmental risk problems on which to apply my finely honed research skills
Kigamboni market, across the river
  • local tofu
  • the lovely sound of “30” and “40” in Kiswahili
  • spice and weird green thing adventures at the local market 

    Won’t confuse it with an American IPA
  • my daily insipid but nonetheless appreciated .5 liter cans of 8% ABV Bear Beer, in the face of insipid but nonetheless tolerated 800/80% humidity days
  • political intrigues that don’t involve the DTs, MPs, PR, or M&Ms
  • smart colleagues and other worker dudes who greet me every day like a long-lost friend
  • our Rav 4, licensed as a “light passenger vehicle for less than 12 passengers”
  • the salaam of Dar
  • cheap cashews
  • etc.

Big event for my University colleagues and me this week takes place Wednesday-Friday, an international conference on “knowledge for climate-proof urban development in rapidly changing environments.” Some pretty cool people have helped organize it, and we hope to have both the Minister of Education of Tanzania, and the country’s Vice-President open the show.  I can’t say I know them well yet, but they for sure will outshine DeVos and Pence.

FYI, I aim to beat my 2016-2017 record of blog posts from here, a sad sack 7 posts/10 months.

One thought on “Dar, Round II

  1. Great to see you blog-posting again, Kris, as you return to your (ahem) post, there in Dar. Welcome back! Interesting that your return feels like a homecoming, with all the familiar quirks and pleasures and needles associated with home. I hope your time in Africa continues to be productive and stimulating and satisfying, professionally and personally. I look forward to following how that all plays out via future posts. In the meantime, best wishes for a very successful conference.


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