The past couple days have been really great, minus the jet lag! It’s strange writing this at 8 am, knowing most of my family and friends are at home sleeping while I’ve been up for close to 4 hours! ( Thank you Mr. Rooster next door who was my alarm clock)
But the first day my college friend Irene and I went and got traditional African body scrub massages. It was amazing! The scrub was made of apricot and honey and for $25 for an hour, it beat any massage I’ve had back home. Next stop up was Slipway, a marina right on the coast where I had Zambarau (purple plum) ice cream, topped with mangos. It was deliciously tart and sweet at the same time. So far I have loved all the foods I’ve had! Although everyone looks at me a little strange when they hear I don’t eat meat, all the chefs have been really accommodating and I haven’t tried anything yet that I haven’t like! I’m mostly eating variations of bean, plantain and rice dishes, but it reminds of my grandma’s Caribbean cooking so no complaints here. One dish I really liked, which is a staple here, is called ugali. It is finely ground maize, cooked like grits but more solid/firm. You scoop it into a ball with your fingers and then dip it into different things- I had it with beans and really liked it. Everyone has been extremely friendly and welcoming.
Driving here is a whole different ball game, and let me stop right there and clarify I am NOT driving here. First off driving is on the other side of the road, but secondly there are tons of bikes, motorcycles, and people walking to dodge around, not to mention there are a lot of unwritten rules I don’t know. For example, in the mornings when there is heavy traffic, two way roads become one way roads and the directions can change on roundabouts. My friend offered to let me drive her car while she was at work, then we both looked at each other and said “Nahhh… on second thought that’s a terrible idea.” LOL.
It’s very very hot here, like probably the most hot I have ever felt. My skirt doubles as a face towel in the afternoon for sure! The seasons here are opposite so turns out I am here in the hottest time of the year! Miami was very hot, but here the humidity is even higher.
Dar Es Salaam is right on the ocean and the beach is about 5 minutes from where I am staying. Yesterday we took a boat to Mbudya Island which was BEAUTIFUL. Of course I had to go sit at the very top of the boat, which required jumping over a large hole in the hull, and while I made the jump my sunglasses are now sitting at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. RIP glasses. The scene was clear turquoise water, white sand with lots of broken up coral pieces/rocks, green spindly trees dotting the island, and a shack offering french fries and seafood. It truly was it’s own little paradise. Looking from the shore to the city skyline with people jet skiing around, it really almost made me feel like I was in Miami. People perhaps don’t think of tropical paradises when they think of Africa, but it exists! Africa has so many different landscapes to offer. Apparently there is no need to worry for sharks, so I was in my mermaid element just swimming around. I did get some jellyfish stings but nothing too bad. One thing I have to watch out for is to always have on my 100 SPF sunscreen because the anti-malaria medicine I’m on makes me extremely sun sensitive. (Found this out the hard way two summers ago returning from India where I was on the medicine. The day after returning I went on a vacation to the Keys and within two days I was a red and purple lobster with sun poisoning. So I’m trying to avoid that this time. :] )
On the way back to the mainland, all the sudden the boat motor sputtered and cut out and I thought oh great, here’s where I will have to put my four years of swim team practice to work. But my friend assured me this happens all the time and within a few minutes we were on the way again. However in the evening, the waves had really picked up and the boat was rocking and tilting and I again found myself mentally preparing to go for a nice long swim. I guess it all added to the fun though, and laughter would always follow everyone’s gasps when the boat took a particularly precarious lean.
I’m still not completely adjusted to the time change, today I was wide awake at 5 am but by 6 pm I am completely exhausted.
Checking into the US Embassy today, doing some exploring and market time, and then Wednesday morning I fly to Kilimanjaro and then from there travel by ground to Usa River, which is where I will spend my three months. So prayers for safe travel please!
Stay irie and much love,
Verse of the day ( VOTD):
1 John 3:18
” Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Love people today- the world needs it!