Daladalas

July 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

Daladalas are the Tanzanian answer to affordable public transportation.

Daladalas (derived from “dollars dollars”) are the main form of transportation in Tanzania. They are essentially old vans that have been converted into buses. Each van technically seats between 10 to 15 people, but I’ve seen daladalas packed with at least 25 people. People sit on each other, stand, hang halfway out the window – sometimes the daladalas are so packed in that the if a person needs to exit it’s easier to just jump out the window.

Culture here dictates less personal space than Westerners are used to, so don’t expect people to move out of the way. You have to overcome your conditioned reluctance to bump or touch people and use your determination to will yourself towards wherever you need to go, even if it means sitting in a few laps.

The same is true for standing in line – cutting is common and getting service, wherever it may be, is more of a battle of the fittest thing than anything else. Politely standing back will keep you in line for literally hours. As much as it may contradict your instincts, the way to behave here is to adopt an attitude of, “I’m going here,” and then make it happen.

Daladalas are very inexpensive, costing only 300 Tanzanian shillings one way. One US dollar equals 1570 shillings, so a daladala ride costs about $0.20 cents.

Daladalas – jam packed, competitive, exciting and a rather convenient way to travel!

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