|We got the word from fellow at the desk that a bus would leave at 8 so we hiked the 8 blocks or so to the 'bus station' where at 8 it lacked 6 passengers to go. By 9 it was full but we were reminded of a great difference between W. & E. Africa...in the W. there are little street stands everywhere, almost every corner, even in the smallest towns where you can get tea/coffee, omelette, or egg sandwich on a baguette for next to nothing...not so in the E. A short distance out of town Mari asked the driver to stop so she & Bon could take a picture of the famous spot where the words "Dr. Livingston I presume" were supposed to have been uttered! The driver was most kind and acquiesced to her request. The minibus encountered few road problems even where the road was being reconstructed most likely by Japanese as they appeared to be supervising the work. We reached Makambo in the mountains around 12:30 and then transferred to another minibus which would take us to Mabando and the border. In town we easily checked out of Burundi but the road became a red muddy, rutted affair...continuing on to the actual border itself where at 2:30 we went thru their customs and got stamped back into Tanzania on our multi entry $100 visa(she wanted to see our receipt but altho I know it is somewhere I couldn't put my hands on it...our visa says clearly it is good for 6 mos. and multi entry). After the paperwork was done we took off down the mtn. in another minibus made to carry 12 plus the driver. The roads had degenerated even more to severely rutted, mud filled potholed, and steep downhill. As we went the driver added more and more until we finally had 21 inside(incl 2 babies) plus the driver and several time there were 22 when the conductor guy had to ride on the back bumper! Just before the police stop going into Kigoma the driver stopped and out popped the extra passengers, and all was copacetic as we stopped at the police check point...here they even checked our vaccination cards for yellow fever, Bon had to point out to the official who questioned mine as not up to date that it was only required every 10 years!!
About 200 yds down the road the driver stopped again and in hopped the rest of the crowd and off we went.
When we arr. about 6:45 their time we took a taxi directly to the train station where we discovered that the company had changed into Indian hands and that was why Bon had no success contacting them via email or phone previously, they had changed all their contact numbers, etc. So the end result is that trains only go now on Sundays at 6 and Thurs at 6 from here and because of the transportation bottleneck, the trains are booked 2 weeks in advance and the buses are usually completely filled. We headed for the ONLY bus company operating from here, Adventure Connection, but it was closed. Our final destination was Zanzibar Hill Lodge where we were given a room for 3(I slept on the floor w/ blankets) for just $7 US each. Hunting around in the dark we were only able to find a loud bar(Mari had a few and danced on the stage w/ a fellow to a scattering of applause, it might have been more for the fellow tho) where we were overcharged for chicken and chips which took an hour and a half to deliver to the table and it was very greasy to boot!
Went to Adventure Bus Service substation just up from Zanzibar Lodge (not to be confused with where we stayed Zanzibar Hill) first thing 8 am where he opened just for us and we were able to get the last 3 tickets on the bus to Mwanza. We had after much discussion decide not to wait til Thur. The bus leaves at 5:30, we are to be at the station at 5 and it is a 12 hour ride!
Found a great breakfast spot, Sun City, on main street just up from the train station. The fellow is from Zanzibar, married a local gal and moved here just 3 months ago. He gave us lots of info about the island incl the fact that it is 2 islands, Pimba & Unguga and together they are called Zanzibar. From here we went to the train station where a retired RR guy (29 yrs w/) helped Bon call the Regional head in Mwanza to get reservations on the train lvg. Thur. eve to ( ). We talked a bit of politics and it turns out he much AGAINST Obama as President since he is from the Luo Tribe, whew! He said any white Pres. would be better!