Random impressions

Yes, I would buy Tanzania Fund. 

The calm and reserved Dar Es Salaam is remarkably safe; I haven’t once felt threatened or even
"watched."  It is the women who stare, not the men, as is common in Islamic countries.  Throughout East Africa the country has a reputation for
politeness and courtesy. 

If a 45-year-old Muslim woman tells you she took out a micro-credit
loan to open a "saloon," she usually means a "salon."  In the interviews the Tanzanians are eager to be helpful, but they do not take over
the conversation, as might happen in West Africa.

Although there are no tourist sites of note, the city is a
pleasant green and backs into the water.  You might see an Indian Dhow
pulling into the harbor.  Every now and then you see an impressive Masai walking down the street.

Food prices are falling and the economy is
booming.  Per capita gdp in Tanzania is about $700 but the city is
prosperous.  Squalor can be found,  but only with effort.  There are plenty
of new buildings, a few real bookshops, and a bunch of OK shopping
malls.  Spiderman 3 is already in the theatres.  Given that
migration is possible, and the city is not crushingly overcrowded, how
bad can the countryside be?  (Don’t answer that one.)

They carry eggs on the bicycles and everything else on the top of
womens’ heads.  SUVs are common.  Crafts are not impressive.  Tanzania,
though large and populous, is far from an African cultural leader.

The Indian and Chinese restaurants are spicy and genuine.  The crab and the vegetables are superb.  Ugali is the native
dish; you get some ground cornmeal, roll it in a ball with your
fingers, and then dip it into a coconut sauce with vegetables.  They
cook "pullau" rice with cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, and coriander.  Goat biryani is also common; it bears only a passing resemblance to the Indian concept of the same name.

Zanzibar, a two hour ferry ride away, has splendid old Arabic and
Indian doors and many Arabic-style buildings.  Children play in the
narrow streets.  Most of the women wear headscarves and a few wear the
full veil.  The beaches appear perfect though I did not have time to
swim.  For nightly street food there is spicy lobster, grilled fish,
large fresh prawns, and french fries.

My guide in Zanzibar explained:

I decide to sell to muzungu [in Swahili this means "white person," plus
some local nuances of expression] for my living.  The Tanzanian custom is go to witch doctors.  The muzungu custom is go to travels.


Comments for this post are closed