Africa Plus travel blog

On a Train Again, TaDa! #2207

Short Stop...Whoa, Tim, What Big Eyes You Have! #2210

View of the Countryside #2208

All day spent on HDL(sending taxes), food shopping and internet(great, fast, uploaded lots of pics) plus ate again at the Indian Pizza place next door...great food and reasonable.

Got on the train at 5:30 and it left promptly at 6 pm! People all along the tracks waving especially kids, smiling genuinely happy to see the train. Found out later that it had been shut down for repairs until just last Nov. It is quite a run down affair but there is water in the 6 people 2nd class compartments and the bathrooms don't stink too much. vinyl pads on beds are split/torn except top bunks where we ended up. They separate women from men so Bon & Mari were in next compartment over. The train stalled in Tabora waiting for other trains one w/ UNHCR refugees from Kigoma but finally left 6 hours later which resulted in our arriving in Dodoma at midnight thirty...not a good time to arrive so after a short discussion we opted to stay on the train all the way into Dar es Salaam(it was raining as well which put us off a bit) arriving at 1:30 pm the next afternoon.

At stops along the way esp. in villages tons of villagers(women & children mostly) were spread out along the tracks below the windows selling bags of onions, 2,4,& 6 squawking chickens upside down by their legs, bowls of bananas, waterbottles refilled w/ honey(they put rolled up tubes of bark in the branches of trees where the bees make their hives and then they collect it, great quantities),wood spoons of all sizes, woven baskets, cooked casava, even buckets of water or chai-tea. Negotiations are fast the train being halted usually only 5-10 minutes. I've seen many stacks of new steel RR ties and RR cars of gravel so it looks as if the new Indian owners are planning on upgrading the train line.

Mar 28

200 km from Dar we got into a valley w/ mtns nearby and this is near where Tanz. big hydropower plant supplying all the electricity for the country is located. The area looks particularly prosperous it is also very humid the sun having come out now. The countryside is once again subsistance farming(prior to here the land was mostly flat & just wild brush & small trees the large ones having been taken for fuel, furniture, or construction...but very green), corn, squash, millet, potatoes, casava...many people in fields w/ hoes weeding or turning soil to plant, this being the start of the rainy season.

Hiking to the ferry we got tickets for the outrageous price of $43 US on the Sea Bus fast ferry to Zanzibar and Stone Town where we went to Jambo Guest House and being tired I did not debate the $35 US for a double in which they threw down a mattress on the floor so the room would accommodate all 3 of us.

Mar 30

They moved us to a room with 3 single beds and it turns out our accommodations incl a very fine breakfast. Off we headed to explore Stone Town!!

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