Saturday, January 16, 2016

Big salaam to Dar es Salaam

When I had mentioned to people around in Delhi that I was leaving for Dar es Salam, to my little surprise not many knew about the place and some did not even know where Tanzania was. For those who knew or had someone who had lived here, the only description I got was of a quaint little place which would be more or less good to live. Located on coast of East Africa Dar es Salaam can be mistaken for a crime ridden African city but after living here for three months, I can say this city is indeed exciting, exotic and enchanting

There are many facets of this remarkable place which make it stand out and the most noteworthy of this would be the colorful streets and markets. One can easily go around the town area and City Center and spot vendors of all hues selling their stuff on the road, let it be the open stalls with all vegetables on display, or locals selling coconut water, or vendors carrying exotic fruits in a tub on their head. And not to forget if you are in the bustling market place, vendors will themselves come up to you and offer their wares right from belts to cigarettes to pirates DVDs, all at a discounted price. Another unique aspect of Dar is the delicious chicken street food on offer with tandoori bar-be-cues spread all over town; I have to admit the most delicious chicken I have tasted would be bang on the streets of Dar

If Dar has an interesting market scene, the areas outside market and the city is even more enchanting if one goes to the extremely scenic coastline. This city has the most breathtaking sea view and beaches that one can hope to see and some of the sea side bars are simply amazing. It is not hard to figure what to do on a Sunday evening if one has a car and a group of pals to go along; to say the sea side bars and cafes are simply superb would be an understatement

Talking of bars, one can’t miss the variety of local beer available here. Although all international brands are available in abundance, it is the local variety which makes it all the more interesting. Tanzania has many local beer brands all named after one of the country’s attractions with names ranging from Kilimanjaro to Serengeti to Tusker, all having a different tinge in taste. And yes there are plenty of places to drink around town here, not surprisingly this city has a buzzing nightlife. Even in Dubai I had never seen the kind of open air discos that one gets to see and visit here, all having females ready to be picked-up for the night at half the cost they come for in Dubai

However the most unique aspect of this country for me are the Local Indians that one gets to see around here. There are countless Indian origin Tanzanian citizens who have been here for generations and have embraced the local culture in total. In fact for a newcomer to this part of the world, initial few days are very surprising as it is hard to figure if the Indian appearing person you are talking to in fluent Hindi is actually an Indian or Tanzanian; only when he starts talking to the locals around in Swahili that realization dawns of the person being a Tanzanian passport holder

And if one is talking of Dar, it would be criminal to miss out on the weather. This city has the cleanest sea breeze that one can experience, which is indeed a welcome relief from the terrible pollution from Delhi. The climate remains more or less the same all through the year; it is perhaps the first and only time in my life that I am seeing 35 degree temperature even in January! However one flip side of this weather is that its always humid and for someone who sweats buckets like me, even a short stint in sun is enough for me to start melting. Thankfully my electricity charges are included in rent for I can keep the AC on all night

Reading all this may sound that I am living in wonderland, however am not too sure how long I will last here; working in a lala company has its own pitfalls which I am now discovering, for the plug may be pulled any time. However the only mantra life has taught me in past stormy years is to enjoy it as long as it lasts

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