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February 18, 2002

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Recuperate for a night in Moshi, a small town at Kilimanjaro's base, then catch an all day bus to Dar es Salaam. That was the plan we formed yesterday, but it seemed crazy ambitious as we woke at 5 am to make our bus. The jolting ride and beating sun kept us awake to watch scenery: fields of sissal plants and low rocky hills. Amidst the farm plots lie acres of scrub brush. We rode the express bus - it still stopped every few kilometers for passenger pickups, we wonder how slow the regular bus must be - and we arrived in Dar after 7 hours, in the mid afternoon. Compared to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam has fewer touts, less desperation, and a more relaxed mood. Like many African cities, substantial contrasts distinguish each city quarter. The city center looks like an old tropical city, white washed buildings reflect heat, balconies and sidewalks bustle with people, and the air is heavy with humidity and salt. The northern quarter has shady, tree lined boulevards and hosts all of the government buildings including the impressive State House.
Downtown Dar, a street sky of spagheti wires and old rooftops.
Dar is a good place to buy a 'Tinga Tinga' painting, named after the original artist who popularized this style of bright colors and African animals.
Arab dhows ply the waters off Tanzania's shimmering coast.