During my bike tour from England to South Africa I had to take time off in Dar Es Salaam to wait for bicycle parts to be shipped to me. Here's my travel blogs.
Time off in Dar Es Salaam
(Note – this blog post was written in 2007, and reformatted in 2020. The content remains the same)
This is probably not the most exciting travelogue update that I've ever made, but then again, it hasn't been the most exciting week either!
Basically, I've been waiting in Dar Es Salaam for a package to turn up from England with my new tyres and inner tubes.
I suppose I could have gone over to Zanzibar for the week, but I've walked on a thousand beaches before and will probably walk on another thousand in the future.I've never spent a week being mind numbingly bored before though, so this is an important first for me. Life is about experience, the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens, so I thought I'd give being bored a go !!
Day 225 Dar Es Salaam Sun 04/03/07
The next few days are likely to be a repeat, so here it is in brief… slept, ate, bought newspaper, read newspaper, used internet, ate, slept, used internet, ate, slept.
Day 226 Dar Es Salaam Monday 05/03/07
I spent most of the day in the internet cafe, (you know, that one called the Hotspot in the JM Mall building on Samora Avenue), as I could use Skype to phone England and place the order for my tyres and inner tubes.
Skype has been a real godsend on this trip. I can phone almost any landline in the world for less than a penny a minute, which saves heaps when you consider that some international calls can cost 2 USD a minute.
Anyway, the upshot of it all, is that I have ordered two new tyres and six inner tubes from a company called sjscycles.com for a total inc of P+P cost of 148.00 pounds. Ouch.
Still, not a lot I can do about it, and i WILL finish this trip to Cape Town no matter what. In War of Empires, I currently hold the Plunderer title.
Day 227 Dar Es Salaam Tuesday 06/03/07
Slept, ate, used internet. Had an email from SJS giving me a tracking number for my parcel.
My parcel is currently in – International Hub. So thats clear.
Visited the museum, ate, used the internet.
In the evening, I got a knock on the door, and two Aussies said ‘Hi'. They'd been reading my travelogue, and knew where I was staying. I'm so famous now that I get stalked !!!
Seriously, they were sound people, and also cycling through Africa, having started in Addis Ababa and will finish in Cape Town. Their site is www.biking4bikes.com.au, why not check it out??
Like me, they were also waiting for a package, although they had to go up to Arusha the next day to collect theirs.
They also shared my opinion of Ethiopians and cycling in Ethiopia, so at least I know it's not just me now! Perhaps our paths will cross again in the next two months… who knows??
War of Empires – Still hold the Plunderer title.
Day 228 Dar Es Salaam Wednesday 07/03/07
So, here's my daily routine.
1. Buy breakfast from supermarket.
2. Eat breakfast whilst using internet for two hours.
3. Buy newspaper.
4. Go to Florida Pub. Read newspaper, drink Guinness, and eat pepper steak.
5. It's all a bit tiring… Go back to hotel and have a siesta.
6. Back to the internet cafe for two hours.
7. Buy something to eat from supermarket, and a DVD from shop next door.
8. Go back to hotel, eat, watch films. It's time for bed now !!!
Parcel Status – International Hub
War of Empires – Plunderer at 15,878,636 gold
As you see, life is pretty full.
Day 229 Dar Es Salaam Thursday 08/03/07
Parcel Status – Left country of origin.
War of Empires – Plunderer at 16,921,762 gold.
Day 230 Dar Es Salaam Friday 09/03/07
Bought Van Damne 7 in 1 DVD. I would prefer to have bought a Steven Seagal (the Master) DVD compilation but it was sadly unavailable.
Van Damne films can be entertaining through their shear nonsense, and strange fixation of having a twin brother, but lack the underlying genius of a Steven Seagal film.
If anyone is in doubt, check out On Deadly Ground, probably the Masters greatest work to date.
Parcel Status – Left country of origin.
War of Empires – Plunderer at 17,989,378 gold.
Day 231 Dar Es Salaam Saturday 10/04/07
Same routine. The barman now gets me a Guinness without even having to be asked. Oh dear, I have become a regular.
Swapped Van Damne film for Nicholas Cage compilation.
Parcel Status – Now in Dar Es Salaam.
War of Empires – Plunderer at 18,808,397 gold
My hotel room/bicycle workshop in Dar Es SalaamDay 232 Dar Es Salaam Sunday 11/04/07
Same routine, although pub closed (you WHAT!!!!), so had pizza instead.
Parcel status – Now in Dar Es Salaam.
War of Empires – Plunderer at 20,029,631 gold
Day 233 Dar Es Salaam Monday 12/03/07
Not a tremendous nights sleep, as I had weird dreams about trying to fit strangely shaped tyres onto my bicycle.
Parcel status – Accepted (I assume this means by Tanzanian Postal Service)
War of Empires – Plunderer at 22,898,637 gold.
I think i am turning into a Zombie.
Day 224 Dar Es Salaam Tuesday 13/03/07
Followed routine steps 1 and 2, and then decided to see if I could collect my parcel. Wandered down to the main post office and got shunted between various buildings, filled out many different pieces of paper, and eventually caught sight of my parcel. The joy was immense!!
It took another hour from me seeing it, to it actually being mine though, as I had to pay a duty at the customs office of approximately 25 pounds.
I thought this must be a mistake, so I asked them again, and after checking my invoice, they said that yes it was a mistake, as they hadn't included the duty i should pay on the postage and packaging.
The new amount of customs duty to pay would have been sixty pounds. I hastily asked if we could keep the mistake, and the kind lady said yes, which was a relief.
With customs duties like these, its no wonder that African nations will never pull themselves out of the poverty and scarcity of goods that they suffer from.
Anyway, I had my tyres, so it was time to follow routine steps 3 and 4. I was greeted as I walked in ‘Jambo Mr. Dave', and the barman gave me one of my drinks of Guinness for free. Not a bad day really!!
Back to the hotel, where I had a kip, and then fitted the tyres. Everything looks good, so I will give the bike a test ride tomorrow and then get going on Thursday morning.
Having to wait in Dar Es Salaam for so long has put me behind in time, and has also badly dented my finances, so i figure that i now have two months maximum to get to Cape Town.
Have a look at the Rough Route to see where I'm going next. I'm looking forwards to getting going again, and getting this job jobbed now, it must be said.
Parcel status – Delivered.. YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!
War of Empires – Plunderer at 25,481,023 gold (I was on fire today).
More from this bike tour
Next update – Travelogue 25 – Cycling from Dar Es Salaam to Mbeya
Previous update – Travelogue 23 – Cycling from Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam
Start from the Beginning – Cycling from England to South Africa