Searching for a way out
Desperate to get out of Dar es Salaam (supposedly it means “place of Peace”) we decide to go and get some info on buses etc. According to some online blogs, the Scandinavian Express bus company is good, so we made our way there. Not wanting to take a taxi, we walk the whole long way only to find out that the office has not been open for 5 years.. and now it is starting to rain.. We are currently hating Dar.
Of course this bus company is nowhere near down town, so we get soaked walking back. Not that it makes much of a difference. We are not used yet to the humidity and are constantly damp anyway. We head for the train station to find out about the trains. Tanzania does not have many train lines, and they do not have a good reputation for safety (robberies etc.) but we are thinking of going to Tanga and that is not that far. If you don’t train overnight, it should not be a problem. After waiting around to see someone, we are told that there is no train to Tanga. Another dead end.
Close by are the ferries. It’s easy to take a ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar. Even though this most likely means returning to this city afterwards, it still gets us out for a bit to clear our heads. The ferries aren’t cheap though. We heard some rumours that you need a yellow fever shot to go to Zanzibar. (You don’t need one for Tanzania mainland, and we don’t have one.) We are told that officially you do not need one for Zanzibar either (as it is part of Tanzania), but the Zanzibari police like to ask for the certificate anyway. Most likely to get a bribe. We are given the tip that you can buy a fake certificate quite easily, but right now the last thing we want to do is go and look for the criminals. And we are not willing to take the risk and cross to the island, with the chance that we will have to return without setting foot in Stonetown. Again a dead end.
Tourist info is in the same area, and our next port of call. Here we should be able to get some decent info. The guy seems quite happy to see us, but instantly pulls out all the brochures to sell us Safari tours. When we make it clear that we have no interest in this and just want to find out about buses leaving the city, he is far less enthusiastic. He does have a big book with all the different bus companies and when they leave. They are leave from the main bus station out of town and all early in the morning. That is about all we get..
Still no idea on want we are doing tomorrow, or where we are going, we put it out of our heads for now and have a walk around.
Down one of the busy streets we see a small police station and decide that we might as well report yesterdays incident. It probably won’t do us any good, and we doubt that the police will even do anything about it, but we can at least be another statistic. If nobody reports these robberies, it’s no wonder they keep happening.
We are not going to write down the whole police procedure. Suffice it to say that the Tanzanian police is less than impressive. Between being moved to a different station, waiting for hours, them more interested in us not having a job, than the actual crime we did eventually manage to finish a report. Just to be told to come back on Monday to do it all again with a superior officer! Like we want to take the time to do that.. Oh and that we were stupid to talk to people. As if you go to a foreign country to learn about it without talking or trusting the people there. Apparently that was our mistake.
All in all not the best day ever.
On the way back to the hotel we stop by a big mall to buy a internet dongle. At least we can then get online whenever we want to and maybe we can find more there about traveling this country beside having to rely on the “friendly” locals.