Monday, February 23, 2009

Further travel update

When we left Jos on the first of February, we flew to Lagos to connect with South African Airlines taking us to Johannesburg and from there, the next day to Dar es Salaam (we took the long way to Dar, via Johannesburg mainly because that was far cheaper than the short route via Kenya). We arrived in Lagos late in the afternoon, checked in for our flight to Johannesburg, and waited in that rather unattractive airport for many hours. When it was finally time to board, we were informed that the plane was late in arriving. But, as we were to discover later, there were other problems….

This was the 747 that we took from Lagos  to Johannesburg--it was later being towed away after our arrival.

We waited for more than an hour in sweltering heat in long lines in a miserably small room with very few seats, obviously meant for far fewer people than those planning to fly to Johannesburg that night. The air-conditioning in the airport was not working properly, or it could not cope with the numbers of people. Later we discovered that the reason why we could not depart was because the air-conditioning system on the plane had broken down. When we were finally allowed to board that system had still not been repaired, and we discovered that the heat in the airport was nothing compared to that on the plane. Once we were airborne the cabins cooled down considerably, so we went from one extreme to another. We arrived in Johannesburg the next morning somewhat tired after all that. But, fortunately, the airport in Johannesburg is newly renovated (in preparation for the 2010 World Cup games) and we were able to get a good breakfast and some much needed coffee to keep us awake for our flight to Dar es Salaam in the afternoon.

We knew that the flight to Johannesberg would be a night flight, and had decided in advance to spend a day in Dar es Salaam before continuing on to Mwanza, both to catch our breath (and catch up on sleep), and acquaint ourselves, if briefly, with Dar, the largest city of Tanzania. We arrived in Dar early in the evening and stood in line for about an hour while our visas for Tanzania were being prepared. After we picked up our luggage, we were very happy to be greeted by Rachel Brink, a CRWRC volunteer, who drove us to the Catholic guest house where we are staying for two nights, until leaving for Mwanza on Wednesday.

Our room in the guest house is in center of the photo; Adrian

The next day we went to the CRWRC office, where we met the rest of the staff, especially theTanzania country representative for CRWRC, Margaret Njuguna,  who gave us an overview of the work CRWRC was doing in Tanzania

Margaret gave us some good tips for successful work in Tanzania

Then Rachel took us on a tour of Dar es Salaam, and we treated her to lunch; she took us to a lovely Indian restaurant. We also bought a new phone for Wendy and a new SIM card for Adrian so his old phone could work in Tanzania. By the way, Dar means 'port'; thus Dar es Salaam is 'peaceful port.'

Rachel took us to a spot in Dar with a good view of the ocean

One of the main attractions of Dar is its location on the Indian Ocean, and we appreciated the breeze and the view, although Dar has few good beaches. Back in the guest house we were thankful that we could make use of a wireless connection, to let family and colleagues know that we had arrived safe and well.

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