Our journey commences as we land in Dar es Salaam (variously translated as "Haven of Peace" or "Heaven of Piss" or even, on occasion, "Hoodlum of Pus"), the capital city of Tanzania. The city is dark (it's night time), sweaty and situated on the mainland coast of East Africa. We pile into a charmingly vintage Peugeot 505 and head at a satisfactory pace towards the city and our hotel, the appropriately named "Safari Inn". While the classic "BIG 5" are certainly nowhere to be seen, the "little 5" are all quickly accounted for, racing across our floor, scrambling for cover at the mere sound of Lieberman's booming voice.
In a jiff, we're ready for a night on the town and we head for cool Club CaliForNiA, recommended by the locals. As it's still early, we decide to leave the club (without actually arriving, as we had sent Lieberman to scout the dangerous territory ahead and he reported back that, as it didn't even begin to compare to Club Orange, it wasn't worth the 10,000 Shilling cover charge). We trundle along to the Sheraton where, as The Bible [a.k.a. Lonely Planet] says, "the rest of Dar Es Salaam may as well not even exist". I casually and thoughtlessly quaff what is to be my last Diet Coke for ten long days, while the boys swallow [now how often does that happen with men?] a new, creamy textured taste - Kilimanjaro Beer ("kili-kili" to it's friends). Then it's back to the Safari Inn for a nervous first night's rest in Tanzania.
Unsurprisingly, as Kommandant K. J. Boyd is in charge, the next day begins EARLY with a brief tour of Dar Es Salaam's streets in search of a Bureau de Change. The only notable event is our first and only sighting of the Zanzibar Patron Saint of Blue, who remained nameless but was certainly a Sign from the kiSwahili Gods of things to come once we reached the Island: endless beaches - all blue; dramatic and breathtaking skies - all blue; and uncountable plastic bags - inexplicably, all blue too.
Next, we book tickets on the ferry
to Zanzibar, thankful that we will be leaving Dar es Salaam within a few
hours. The journey is longer than expected (four, as opposed to two, hours)
and nausea-inducing, but the first sighting of a Zanzibar
Dhow makes up for it all ...