Tales from Tanzania Part3

Tales from Tanzania Part 3

My stay in Tanzania wasn’t pleasure based, so it doesn’t accord me the opportunity to truly experience Dar’s party life. But you have to love Tanzania’s liberal approach to alcohol and the proliferation of bars in every possible place or building. Alcohol is everywhere, like weed in a fertile land; the beloved brew is never too far from parched lips. You just have to step out of the house and you will find all manners of beers and liquor at the lowest prices possible; man, those prices are a good reason for any decent drunkard to decamp to Tanzania. Liquor here is sold in most shops, restaurants even the mama mboga ones), wines and spirits and bars. Hell, I don’t think they have ever heard of liquor licenses here or bar restrictions to certain areas. For the scotch lovers, I usually get a 750ml Grants for 750Ksh and enjoy the smooth liquor on a cliff at the Coco beach, Oyster Bay.

Dar’s beaches are diverse but the most favorite beach, Tz version of pirates, is Coco beach. Some beaches are free while you have to cough out a hundred bob to enter some. People come to Coco for all kinds of reasons. For me, my three favorite reasons are swimming, karaoke on Wednesday nights and drinking scotch on the cliffs that majestically adorn the sides of the beach. On weekends the Dar crowd flocks to Coco and in their carefree manner, in a way only Tanzanites can, have a carefree blast. Some would sit outside the many clubs that face the beach and sip their cold Serengetis as they watch the waves crashing into the trim figures of brown beautiful maidens. Others would just walk along the beach letting the warm wet sand caress the soles of their feet bringing rejuvenation to tired legs. You can’t fail to envy those playing with the waves, in floaters mostly, swaying with the rhythm of the sea and drifting with the spirit of the water. These TZ maidens never cease to amaze me, the way they strip the wet clothes after a swim, revealing their naked breasts to the public, unconcerned, unperturbed, unworried.

TZ women are not necessarily more beautiful than their Kenyan counterparts. However, you will not turn any corner without encountering a lady so beautiful her beauty would shock the breath out of you leaving you famously breathless. Beautiful women in TZ are not just beautiful, their beauty is so refined, amplified and pure you can’t claim the right to possess such divinity. When you hold her in your arms and feel her lush lips on yours; you experience wonder, you feel like a deity….in a way, you get transformed. Her skin feels so soft you fear your unworthy hands might cause damage and when she looks deep into your eyes and see traces of desire in them; you understand what it is to feel manly. Yes, TZ ladies can do that to a bloke and their manners can ensnare any guy tired of the usurped machismo prevalent in our Kenyan ladies. The only other thing finer than these deities is food here. Walk to any decent restaurant and you will be shocked at the sheer delicacy of most foods. But you have to love “samaki wa foil” as they call it here; fish wrapped in a foil with a variety of vegetables then steamed, it’s just fantastic. I haven’t tried “pweza yet” somehow octopus meat does not appeal to me even though most claim here it’s an aphrodisiac.

My advice, as I wind up my tales, is for one to avoid public buses. They are a nightmare, a ride right from the bowels of hell. The fare is shockingly cheap with fares painted on the sides of the buses but the buses are always overloaded and the jams or “foleni” as they call them are a nightmare. Stick to the tuk tuks or cabs or rent a car near Ubungo or in Lumumba Street Kariakor area. All in all, TZ is a lovely place and the hospitality of its people is simply unrivalled.

 

Have we done enough or are we still on a precipice – an article for the commonwealth publication

Have we done enough or are we still on a precipice

The year 2007 was a year of great hope that the peaceful elections of 2002 could be replicated if not improved on. The people voted in large numbers in an otherwise peaceful election which pitted the incumbent president Mwai Kibaki versus Raila Odinga. This peace turned out to be the calm before a major storm; a storm of violence and chaos which threatened to cast the country into a prolonged civil war. The election results which favored the incumbent were disputed and the opposition call for demonstrations against these results led to chaos manifested through violence, looting and tribal killings. Retaliation followed and for several days, death became the order of the day and millions got displaced from their homes to languish in cold IDP camps. People who had lived for years as neighbors turned on each other hacking them and their children to death while others were burnt to death even in the refuge of a holy church. Businesses were looted and others razed to the ground as communities sought to cleanse those perceived to be members of other tribes whose interests purportedly run parallel to their own. Efforts were made to end the impasse with diplomats from the US and emissaries from Af5ica sent in to mediate a peaceful solution. Finally, efforts by Koffi Annan and his group led to a coalition government tasked with ensuring that the country enacts sufficient reforms to ensure that the country never teeters to the brink of collapse ever again.

Have we done enough? This should be the question in every ones lips as the country nears the general elections in March 2013. The answer is not as simple as it should be and the answers are not homogenous either. However, there is a growing sentiment that the ruling regime has not done enough and that no one can say with absolute confidence that the ugly demon of tribalism will not rear its head once again. But perhaps the problem is not what has been done but what can be undone by selfish politicians in the remaining few months. In the last election, the politicians Balkanized the nation by trying to show that the election was contest between the Kikuyu tribe versus all other tribes. Recent attempts to prosecute some politicians on hate speech charges shows that the culture of politicians using tribe to amass power is still rampant and unless we act decisively to curb the practice, the country is not safe from chaos. The coalition government has done a lot to reconcile the country by attempting to understand the problems which provided a fertile ground for the violence. Major reforms have been carried out in the judiciary, police and prosecution to encourage more peaceful alternatives in the future. The hallmark of this efforts was a new constitution endorsed by the Kenyan people as a guideline to a more prosperous and peaceful Kenya. To discourage impunity, the ICC indicted some high profile people and will try them next year on charges of genocide, rape, displacement and other charges which the prosecutor might deem necessary. But still, the feeling remains that we haven’t done enough.

Families still languish in IDP camps across the country with the government failing to do enough to resettle them. In fact some efforts to resettle them in some regions have been met with hostility by local communities signaling that reconciliation efforts haven’t achieved their intended goals. Politicians that are facing charges in the ICC are frontrunners in the coming election casting doubt on the seriousness of courts to stop future transgressions by politicians. Commissions tasked with the duty of reconciliation the nation and averting similar occurrence have not achieved much despite their large mandates and hefty remunerations. Present political deals depict tribal motivations leading many to wonder; what happened to nationalistic politics? The people of Kenya need to rise beyond tribal politics and understand that we either rise or fall as one nation. Together we can chart a better future for ourselves and our children and send a clear message to the politicians. Never again shall we let a few selfish individuals push us to destroy what we have built in so many decades. Peace is the foundation on which we shall base our future growth, development and unity.

Tales from Tanzania Part 2

Dar is an interesting city; but the first thought one gets is that the place cannot compare to Nairobi. However, one must approach the place with the knowledge that Nairobi is the largest city in East and central Africa whose real estate growth has been ranked first in the entire world. But Dar has its high points too, subtle distinctions which wow you and diminish your contempt of the Swahili city. But Dar is also maddening in so many respects especially to a foreigner; attributes perhaps lost to the local Tanzanite. Its a blend of pure hospitality coupled with the challenges of a metropolis struggling to shed its challenging past and move to a future of economical and social prosperity. Dar is a place of opportunity where age is not a factor to success and the people not dictated by the monopolistic tendencies of larger industries. Here people have one interesting characteristic which make most things possible; they are willfuly free and are open to new experiences.

A typical bus will drop anchor at the Ubungo bus station near Magomeni. The first time I was there, I got into a minor argument with the gate attendance due to my ignorance of the pay policy to passengers wishing to enter the station. However, the said lady shed all hostility on realizing I was Kenyan and understood that our station practices are inherently more different to theirs. Since buses aren’t allowed to travel at night in Tanzania, high possibility is that a Nairobi bus will arrive at Night. The hotels around the station are a bit pricey with prices ranging from 35 to 80k TZ shilling. One can chose to take a bus to Kariokor which is the downtown part of the city center which has several hotels starting from 20k TZ shilling per night or head to the estates where hotels are in plenty and the prices are more friendly.

For me, I would recommend you take a bus to Sinza area, any bus from kariakor or Posta to Sinza via Shekilango road all which pass outside the bus station should be appropriate. Madukani area after Shekilango, just ask the conductor to drop you there, has several nice lodges for 15k TZ sh. Cross the road after alighting and start walking downwards and you shall see signposts indicating the guesthouses, try Miami beach Guest house, they have a really soft king sized bed. My first week I was lodging at the Classic Lodge, Africa Sana area, the red light district of Sinza. I ended up there due to the influence of another traveler who likes the area due to the clubs and the beautiful prostitutes. For those who like the fast life., I would recommend this area, the hotels here are superb and affordable and the restaurants here have awesome barbecue and a feast for your eyes as the half clad ladies of the night go about their businesses draped in the arms of young and not so young men. For those who love staying near the beach and have limited resources, I would recommend Masaki area; the beach is just a walking distance from there. Next post, I shall take you on a literal journey of the pleasures Dar has to offer; the fun and culinary delight of this ancient city.

The Mingle 7 is here: ladies and gentlemen, it’s bigger and better

I have been to many events this year, from Rugby events in Nakuru to Machakos, rallies and football games, but none compared to the thrill manifested by the activities and the crowd at the Mingle 6. But this post is not a preview of the last event, it does not wish to dwell in the past but is inclined to predict the future much as it successfully predicted the past. But for those, and I mourn for your loss, who did not make it to the previous event, check my preview of the Mingle 6  https://pitzevans.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/the-mingle-6-too-awesome/ .

Mingle 7 is billed to be the largest and wildest volume so far if the word of the organizers is anything to go by. I have no reason to doubt it. So ladies take out your shorts and sundresses on Saturday and head out to impala grounds Ngong road for fun, interaction and partying. Gents pimp yourselves out, wash your rides, take out those designer shades and make a fashionable entrance. The Mingle is where beauty comes to be celebrated, masculinity is noticed, fashion statements are made, trends started and relationships planted. Where deities become men and mortals become heroes. Where friendship blooms and the mundane is kept aside and replaced with pleasure, hedonism and sheer happiness. At the mingle gloom, sadness, dullness and everything shy is locked out at the gate and in its place courage, charisma and likability is endowed on those who step on this grounds. At Impala, on 17th November, business meets pleasure and beautiful people achieve harmony between the personal and the corporate.

Feast your eyes above, look at the tender limbs as they turn color as the heat adds sheer delicious flavor into the meat and imagine the bliss as the end product is ground slowly in your mouth and your tastes buds attains culinary orgasm. The grills at the mingle 7 do not stop until your fully fed and your attention can be turned to other fun activities. The mingle has a feast for all your senses, especially the eyes, the eye candies in this venue will make them want to pop out of their sockets. So ye who love beauty, come yonder, no other event is aesthetically pleasing as the crowd at The Mingle.  And for those who remember the beauty of childhood and those who missed the fun, the clocks of time have been turned back, come and be transported. All your childhood games in one place, from katii to bladder, bouncing castles and water bubbles, chapa ua and so many more. Other activities include hoops, netball, rodeo bull, video games and many more.

Experience the thrill

Any party can’t be a party without drinks and the organizers have ensured that there is plenty of drinks, all assortment, to be bought from various drink stands in the venue. The great news actually is that patrons are free to bring their own drinks so guys, do what I did last event, pass by the supermarket and buy a carton of scotch whisky; make sure you keep some for me. Don’t forget the party cups guys, lets drink to a prosperous future and toast to life and fun. Gentlemen, please show up in numbers, last event was full of so many beautiful ladies and so little men to keep them company.  In retrospect, the few of us there had an awesome time; after all, less competition means more choice.  The music was superb and the dancing is likely, as did the last event, to go deeper into the night. DJ style, hope you don’t disappoint, the last DJs didn’t. I also hear there is a VJOne from New York, so the party don’t stop.

So guys, if you like having fun, dress comfortably and let’s do this. For those who like fashion, dress up and let’s get admiring, be a star. For the party lovers, stock up on the liquor and get your dancing shoes on, the biggest party of the year is about to go down.  For the business minded, print your business cards, a large consumer base and pool of professionals awaits. Celebs come interact with your adoring fans. For everyone else, just come, you won’t be disappointed.

PS: All Pictures courtesy of the Mingle facebook Page and great work to the Photographer who took them.

Tales from Tanzania part 1

Tanzania is a vast nation, vast not being relative here, the place is monstrously big. But it’s also a cool place, an interesting place if you like, a place where people are laid back and stress isn’t too common a vice. It’s the kind of place where one forgets, momentarily at least, his issues and develops new faith that one can exorcise his demons and gain redemption. One needs to only gaze at the blue waters of the ocean and becomes transported to a time when life was simple and men labored only for survival and the pursuit of pleasure and senseless happiness. The rocks on the beach a reminder that even in the expansive freedom of the ocean, there looms danger in the horizon for the hapless sailor who intoxicated by the present, meets his demise in a violent and befitting manner. But this is not a story of gloom and pirates, neither is it about a traveler who purports to write a blog, it’s about a land of people who are warm, giving and easy; people who have created a peace with themselves and understand that happiness is not a product of money but of contentment in the little pleasures of life.

Let me begin this tale by presenting an interesting fact to those who wish to travel here in the near future. Buses in Tanzania do not travel at night, it’s a rule and so any plan you might have should factor in this shift from the Kenyan road culture. For the record, this being quite important, make sure you have a certificate for yellow fever vaccination. That having been said, Dar or Dare salaam is so far from the Kenyan border so be ready to sit in that bus till your body is numb with inactivity. You expect that being in a foreign country would accord you the opportunity to gaze out and admire the flora and fauna that Tz has to offer. Cast such hopes aside, there is nothing to see, just miles upon miles of grasslands and mountains which stretch to eternity. Occasionally some menial town will come to sight but the stopovers will always be too brief and the reprieve will be too short as to be worthy of appreciation. You will notice one little architectural detail as the bus trudges towards its destination, that Tanzanites have a love for pillars as they build their residential and business premises. Pillars of all colors will stand proud in front of most buildings especially the smaller towns, pillars that seek to pronounce, we may have little but we make the best of what we have and we want not what we can’t have. In a sense, these pillars are more like the people who build them; proud, happy and expressionists.

The Tanzania police force has way too many different uniforms, a fact which you will quickly notice since they have mini stations all over the highway. They will stop the bus after every few kilometers and after a little bribe, will give the driver the go ahead to proceed with the arduous and long journey.  The female cops in Tanzania all look like girl guides in their oversized skirts, they are funny and if one asked to arrest you in their characteristic polite fashion, you’d probably fall down laughing. You should see a lady traffic cop controlling traffic in a busy road; they look almost mediocre if the scenario weren’t too funny to fuss over. Of course the weigh bridges along the highways are way too many but the good thing is they give the passengers a break; a chance for those with small bladders like myself to relieve themselves. Occasionally, like it happened to me, one of the cute ladies manning the stations will hike a ride and you’ll have interesting company for the rest of the journey. I have to warn you though, would be traveler; the language barrier might make it harder for you to get your points across. For instance, wondering loudly about the lack of “stima” in most houses will just earn you a perplexed stare from the lady whose definition of “stima” is completely different to yours. In Tanzania, apparently that term has more to do with hair styling than it has to do with electricity. Needless to say if you have to make any query regarding electricity, always use the word “umeme.”

safaricom sevens: beer and friends

I have to put it out there, this is not easy for me. I am not a reviewer, never have been but I can’t be sure about the future. It’s saddening even, to me and some of my earlier followers who remember, poignantly I hope, what this blog used to be about. Once, savvykenya described my blog as”a deep blog about deep issues.” I have to accept, grudgingly, that this is no longer the case and the ideas that used t0 flow smoothly in the fabric of this platform are no longer visible. I have no profound reason to justify this failure, no earth shattering justification for absconding on my previous duty to enlighten and challenge the minds of my reader. So I will continue along this shallow path that I find myself and I will pray, kneeling if need be, that I will not stray too far from the original road as to be forever lost in this strange jungle. Without further ado, lets get down to it.

Safaricom sevens was billed as being the biggest sporting event to hit the country this year. After the dismal performance of our Kenyan Olympic team, the country could do with some excitement and potentially, some much needed silver ware. But I’m sure everyone by now knows the performance of our team and the major powerhouses that visited our beautiful nation and stole what should have been left in our dusty trophy rooms. I shall not go there, I am not a sport commentator and neither I’m I a big fun of rugby. What I am and I’m sure I identify with most of you here, is an event addict, a socialite who thrives in the company of friends in any forum that relies on liquor as a conduit of enhancing friendship. A merry maker who can’t miss any opportunity to have fun and get intoxicated while engulfed in a blanket of camaraderie and shared interests. A bloke who can’t get enough of beautiful company;, for beauty makes a dull world colorful, a boring existence meaningful. So I dragged my tired a** to Nyayo on a hot Saturday afternoon not to witness brawny men fight for an eggy ball but to drink beer, chill with ma peeps and ogle at beautiful women parading in the stadium in the skimpy shorts and sun dresses. And I could not appreciate strange beauty without having to complement my beautiful friends, they even posed for a pic, vanity in Kenya is endless but charming in equal measure.

some of my lady friends posing for a memorable snap

The place was so packed and after spending endless minutes walking, queuing and shoving my way past a sea of unruly humanity, I began my search for my friends or at least any nook where I could sit my tired a**. I am grateful for the free shuttle ride provided to ferry fans from the CBD to the stadium, but I am truly indignant about the blatant discrimination meted upon us regular ticket holders by the security and by safaricom in general. I had to walk for so long since the bus dropped us on the other side of the stadium which was presumably reserved for VIP ticket holders. It’s not an issue when event organizers cordon off parts of the stadium for VIPs but a whole road, its despicable to say the least. Fortunately I was able to trace my pals and sit down to enjoy my ice cold tuskers, which I had to pull some rugby manoeuvrings to purchase amidst the huge thirsty buyers at Zone 4.

My toast to our teams

I have to say the feeling of this rich broth sliding slowly down my parched throat was heavenly. Like an oasis in the Kalahari desert that soon appears just before the lost soldier, having ejected from his malfunctioning plane, dies of thirst. Beer in hand, a place to sit secured, it was time to watch the game or at least pretend too. But I was soon distracted by the bevy of beautiful women strutting their wares below and I soon lost interest in the game which I didn’t fathom anyway. This trend of ladies in skimpy shorts seems to be all the rage now if the number of ladies adorned in such are anything to go by. One of them caught my attention, very well endowed in the hips and bottom regions to the extent that the short she had on could hardly contain her goodies. What caught my attention isn’t her ample behind, or her bared midsection but rather her obvious tender age. How her parents lets such a young one strut out of the house wearing such clothes is beyond my comprehension. Come to think of it, most of the short clad ladies were not ladies at all, just young girls; lost and trying hard to appear all mature. Our moral fibre tears and wears out every day in this country, I’m scared of thinking what will become of our society in coming years.

Feeling a wave of dismay sweep over me due to such contemplations, I decided to pay more attention to my drinking and my affable friends. Agent C of course is no stranger to this blog and most of you know her better by now. She’s a regular at all events and the undisputed queen of controversy, fun and all kinds of crazy motivations. This day she was at it again doing what she does best, chatting incessantly, dancing and inspiring everyone around her to jump up and get jiggy and of course, taking pictures like she’s about to begin a photo museum.

Posing with Agent C at the games

Then there is the usual suspect gathoskie. One bloke who lives for the party, a bird of a similar feathering if you like, a party king or in the words of one, kelvin “tajiri mwenyewe.” He gets a tribute for sharing his stash of tusker cans and for his unending cheering for our team when they got int the field to make a fool of some neighboring country.

the wise kelvin, left, me and gathoskie with the flag

The usual crowd of lady friends, refer to the first pic above; as usual their company never disappoints and even sober, surprised me too, they made one interesting and wild bunch of fanatics. So Thacher, Shellie, Emma, Agent C, Agie, your unidentified friends, keep up the spirit; I salute you and may the spirit of fun forever dwell in you. I have to take this opportune to express my sincere and public apology for one Fridah for my purported failure to acknowledge her in any of my blog despite her ever lovely company and her services to the rest of the girls as a chauffeur in her sexy BMW. For my generous gesture here, I hope you’ll let me take the car for a spin one of these days.

the beautiful Fridah, left posing with one of the celebrities in attendance, Agent C

The safaricom village was packed and after a tour with Emma, the beautiful lady with killer long legs on the first pic, it was time to head to town for the after party. The music at the village was okay and the grills were on point, though the chicken was a bit tasteless. After one last round with gathoskie and Nov, who was quite drunk by the way, we made our way to the city for a night of dancing and bonding. Our entire crowd met at galileos extreem in town where we partied till the wee hours of the morning. One of my friend G surprised his girlfriend with an engagement ring, the look in her face was worth the surprise. I’m not sure how many carats the diamond is but I’m sure I’ll get to know sooner than later. Such an act in an era of matrimonial cynicism is quite brave, all the best to the couple. For all you guys who attended, hope you had a blast, I did.

The Mingle 6: Too awesome

A few weeks back, a friend of mine, popularly known in clandestine circles as agent C, kept querying me as regarding my concerted effort to promote the mingle event. She was convinced that I was either a paid promoter or deriving some other monetary benefit from the organizers, my protestations to the contrary were met with deaf ears. Yes, I kept sharing the mingle posters and other information which was available online, religiously even, but not to the point of obsession. I did so because I like the theme behind the event and as a Kenyan, my heart full of patriotic fervor and the same heart entrenched with a burning desire to see others succeed. But deep down my being, in secret nooks tucked away in my conscious self, I hoped, prayed even, that the event turns out to be a great success. It did not disappoint. It was everything I hoped for and much more.

The mingle6 went down last Saturday at Impala grounds Ngong road. Though the event started at 11 (I think), I was yet to make a grand entrance by the time the clock hand hit 3pm. The cleaning lady took too long so I had to sit my impatient behind down and let her do her thing, which she does with painstaking slowness. Ordinarily, i translate this to mean that she’s being thorough, but this Saturday her tortoise imitation methods did not auger well with my hunger for awesome company and thirst for liquor. After picking some pals it was time to head to the Super market to stock up on the intoxicants (my choice of this word taking the supposition that there was more than liquor, I cannot confirm nor deny this). There was some crazy jam on Ngong road but after some bat like manoeuvrings, we made our way to Uchumi Ngong road for some shopping. It was agreed that there is bliss in variety so all manner of liquor went into the basket but mainly scotch whiskey(nothing says event like a good old famouse grouse). At 3.30 we made our way into impala grounds and the event was already in high gear.

The tents seemed full and the organizers of this event seemed to have under estimated the turnout. There weren’t nearly enough seats to accommodate even half the people. Or maybe it was just a strategy to keep people mingling, pun intended, whatever the case is, kindly procure sufficient seats for November event. Lucky for us, Agent C used her top secret skills to pilfer some chairs from the adjacent VIP section. This is the part where, if I was a village lout, I would go like” Si we drank, let us drink, and we drank some more, let us get drunk, mwathani, even if they switched off stima we still drunk” lol. You get the drift though, right? Bottom line by the time 5 came sneaking past, we were wasted. And so began the fun.

We were a group of over ten peeps, 4 guys and at least ten lady friends. Which brings me to  a particular conundrum, where were the men?The place was too estrogen packed, too may fine women in one venue with a few scattered blokes here and there. In fact when I went to do some childlistic jumping at the bouncing castles, I had to inquire whether it was only meant for ladies because it was packed with too many of them and not a single guy. Needless to say I got in and jumped around, fell over, pillow fought and had some mad fun with  a bevy of beautiful women.

Needless to say the evening part was fun too, the Djs were on point and the whole arena was turned into one energetic dance floor; pure awesomeness. I danced so much my body hurt the following day and I’m never one to spend more than  a minute dancing. I’m sure the liquor helped. We partied well past midnight and at no point did I feel bored or disappointed. kudos to the organizers, you’ll see much more of me and my friends in coming events. Below is a special mention to guys in our entourage who made it all worthwhile.

Agent C otherwise known as mwende, your escapades this day will be a topic of discussion in many events to come.

Thatcher, your rare presence was noticed and appreciated plus those comedian moves you were pulling, legendary.

gathoshkie, For showing up amidst terminal sickness, that’s brave man.

nov, for being the most prolific player at the game and winning one hell of a hottie, kudos.

Shellie, for not throwing a b***** fit again at me, gratitude.

georgina, for being such an awesome neighbor, mucho grcious.

sam, yako tusiongee leo.

sarah, for being such a sweetheart.

savvykenya and Phylis, for being awesome peeps, unforgettable.