The Landscape of Dar

May 14, 2012 § 3 Comments

Dar es Salaam, from what I’ve seen so far, is very dirty. Filthy. Rats are a huge problem. Even our home, which is kept meticulously clean by Moshi and Mrs. Meghji, gets rats sometimes. Littering is not taboo here and there is trash everywhere in the streets. Trash pickup is inconsistent and the trash collection vehicle is just a big, open dump truck with two or three dudes riding in the back on top of the trash.

The streets are sort of paved and sort of dirt; when it rains everything turns to mud.  Buildings are ramshackle and close together but all different. The old buildings have been added to and repaired so many times over the years that their original parts are sometimes unrecognizable. New glass and metal skyscrapers appear randomly throughout the city, without any obvious plan or reason. Dar’s cityscape is unique and beautiful, but still a little ugly – Frankenstein-esque.

Dar’s beauty is often in its humor. Each of the buses, for example, has its own motto painted colorfully on the sides, front and back – a word or phrase that they identify with. Most seem to stick with a religious theme, “Allahu Akhbar,” or “Allah will keep us safe,” or just, “Allah.” Some of the more creative individuals went with ideas like, “Laptop,” “Oxygen,” “Power,” and “Tutabanana Hapu Hapu!,” which translates as, “I will fight you right here, right now.” The liveliness and excitement of the city and its people is one of the best parts.


§ 3 Responses to The Landscape of Dar

  • throughhisown says:

    Just enjoyed your observations on Dar. Have you escaped to Zanzibar yet? A great place with great people!

    • cbcwhiz says:

      Thanks! Haven’t been to Zanzibar yet, but it’s on my to-do list! Any recommendations for things to do?

      • throughhisown says:

        Stone Town is the sort of place good things just tend to happen. However if you walk past the Serena Inn up the slight incline you will come across a couple of tourist shops – ask for Journey Ramadhan and he will show you around or point you in the right direction. A great guy we had the good fortune of bumping into.

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