I love my sleep. Not as much as most people, but I love my sleep. Sleep is even worth a lot more when the alarm goes off an hour and a half before it should have. It is especially precious when you have been waking up at 11am over the last two weeks.
I went on holiday to recuperate and get my juices running again. I was where I had never been before. See when people go to Dar es Salaam, they speak of white sandy picturesque beaches, palm trees and coconut juice.
I noticed a few other things. Tanzania’s bottles of soda are longer and 50ml more than ours, the labeling is old too. It explains why your auntie’s appetite for soda has grown. She has only been in Moshi six month now and says our bottles are too small and the soda too little. Their Fanta has no pimples like ours does. It is annoying. You probably understand none of this because maybe Coca Cola no longer exists…but I think it does. This company has been here since before your grandmother, it exhibits the behavior of something that is here to stay. Remind me to let you take as little of its products as possible.
I do not like coconut juice. I can barely speak or read Swahili so it was nice to have people I could use as my mouthpiece. Even the telecom prompts for loading airtime are in swahaili! I hope you have learnt at least two other international languages by the time you read this. I am too set in my ways to learn new languages completely. I realise if I learn bits of a new one, I somehow incorporate it in whatever other new I am trying to learn. It is confusing. I found myself speaking Sierra Leone’s Krio to locals in Tanzania. It is funny how taken aback they seem when a black person does not speak the language, affronted as if. I am good with accents though, so this helps because the little I speak can suffice. A lot of the time I just took walks to wherever I wanted to be, I could not be bothered to hold conversations with Bajaj riders/ (Mombasa’s Tuktuk). I spoke to them when the distance to my destination was more trouble than gambling with the language. I would name the place I wanted to go and say, “Pesa ngapi?”, and then use my elementary Swahili to read which note of currency represented what. I never bothered to bargain, the occasional incredulous look did the job.
It was fun. I ate a lot of biryani, curry and naan which can be gotten here too, but over there it is legitimate and moist. I also ate more than usual, slept more, worked out less so I have put on a few pounds…which is what holidays are for really. I also felt the biting cold of Arusha’s pre-winter, climbed/drove to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro which is even colder and delighted in the beautiful skin of the snakes of Mesereni Snake Park. It was good.I also had unlimited wi-fi which makes all the difference in the world!
I was intrigued by Dar es Salaam’s trees, one species to be exact; the False Ashoka tree. Wikipedia says Polyalthia longifolia is their scientific name and that they’re native to India, which makes sense since Dar has a huge Asian influence. It is a suspicious, shaggy tree, I am surprised no one has noticed before or maybe they did hence the “false” bit.
Anyway, so this tree looks really silly, the shorter version of it anyway. It looks like someone is hiding under it like army men do for camouflage in those Rambo movies (do not ask me to explain). Tanzianians do not seem wary of these trees that could work against them in the event of a war. I suggested to one lady, who was nice enough to host us for dinner, to chain her on her tree in place just in case…she merely laughed.
My alarm, which I remember setting for 6:30am, went off at 5:30am. I failed to sleep till 2:00am last night. I am sleepy on my first day back. My juices have stalled for today.
PS. Google has put all the pictures in some sort of digital book and sent me an email. It never used to do that.
I love you still, even when I am sleepy.