Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tanzania Experience: Karibu!

Think AFRICA. What comes to mind?

Before we landed in Dar Es Salaam, I pictured a dry, undeveloped land, where big game ruled the roads. Man, was I wrong.

The ferry terminal in Dar.

Dar Es Salaam is the largest and richest city in Tanzania. It lies 6° south of the Equator so the climate is tropical, air is humid, and ocean is warm (my favorite part). This weather made for the perfect welcome! Yeah, humidity kind of sucks because you're sweating uncontrollably, but that just means you stay in the warm, refreshing Indian Ocean longer, duh!

Katelyn (left), Andrew (right), and I (second to right) playing volleyball with another hotel guest.

Our first two days were spent at Kipepeo Beach Village to relax, meet the group (15 total from SDSU and the UK) and immerse ourselves into as much Tanzanian culture as possible. It consisted of learning slang Swahili (scroll to the bottom), eating delicious sambusas (similar to empanadas), and sipping Konyagi's (gin produced in Tanzania) on the beach. 

It was really easy getting use to the currency exchange, too! $1 US dollar equals 1,500 Tanzanian shillings. Whoa, baby! Talk about MONEY! Drinks and food were around 4,000-6,000 shillings each so after putting my math skills to the test, lunch and a drink would cost about $3-4. Not bad.

One tough thing to get used to, however, was the bugs. I never got bit but it's just annoying having things flying around your face and hovering over your food. Relax, will ya? We also took daily malaria pills for a reason.. 

Naomi trying to convince Anna and I that whatever buzzing noise is outside, it is NOT electrical.

All in all, our first couple of days in Tanzania were great. It was rough kicking jetlag in the face, but we made it work and had fun while doing so! Until next time, enjoy and practice these Swahili words:

Jambo (JOM-boh): hello
Tafadhali (ta-fa-THA-lee): please
Asante (a-SAN-tay): thank you
Karibu (cah-REE-boo): welcome / you're welcome
Mambo (MOM-boh) / poa (POH-ah): How are things? / Cool [a slang call-and-response greeting]