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.

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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.”