Citizenship has its privileges

Dar es Salaam Travel Blog

 › entry 94 of 151 › view all entries
Done, done and done!  I picked up my Indian visa yesterday afternoon (I have until March 15th to get there and visit) and buzzed over to drop off my passport at the US Embassy right before it closed.  As it turns out, they will process extra pages in a matter of minutes, but they were just closing so I had to wait over night. 

Now going from the Indian High Commission to the US Embassy is like night and day.  You can just walk up to the Indian HC and go in the office.  There is one guard out front.  Nothing too fancy about it either.  The US Embassy is a different story.  Very posh place in the middle of this neighborhood of what looked to be not so nice houses.  I won't say slums because I can't be sure what is a real slum here.  Anyway, once they find out you are a US Citizen, all doors open, and after a series of security checkpoints, you're in a nice, air conditioned, water cooler filled, manicured lawn-having, water fountain pouring paradise.  Like an oasis in the desert.  This morning I returned having taken a dalla dalla (city bus) and I was drenched with sweat by the time I got there.  These buses are truly a sight, but so much cheaper than the taxi and since I had but one stop, I thought I'd better use it.  But you have a bit of a walk from the bus stop, so when I got in there and picked up my passport (they literally tape the add'l pages in), the guard invited me to have water and use the facilities so I could cool down.  I went in the bathroom and took off my shirt and dried it under the automatic dryer.  They also having automatic flushing toilets!  I felt like staying and watching tv in the lounge, using the free internet and stuff, but I had more errands, so off I went.  The bus back was a little too close for comfort.  Since it was heading into the city center, these buses were filled to the brim.  People literally poured out when the door open, so I was packed in like a sardine almost hanging out the door on the ride back.

I finally met other travelers in the hotel last night and had dinner with them, including two Americans on their tour around the world sans Europe, and everyone wondered what I've been up to all week.  You got me.  I so need out of here!  Speaking of, after collecting my passport, I made my way to the bus station to get my ticket for the morning.  It was a hike and I was getting very pissy to say the least because I hate the heat, and when I arrived, they informed me they no longer do the Dar-Lusaka, Zambia route.  So much for their website being up to date.  The closest they get now is some place called Tunduma on the border.  I didn't have a guidebook, knew nothing of this place, even had to ask if that was still Tanzania and then had to do some quick thinking.  She said I could find other buses at the other bus station in Dar, but I've seen what pulls up in there and wasn't sure what I'd find.  The train only goes two times a week all the way there (and is notorious for breakdowns) but the two American gals left this a.m. on it, so I knew that was not an option, at least not in the near future.  So now I have a bus ticket to Tunduma tomorrow morning.  I guess I'll wing it.  She assured me I could get a bus from there to Lusaka.  At least it's closer to my ultimate destination and not here!  A true adventure ahead.  I will be meeting up with those gals at a backpacker spot in Livingstone and we'll compare notes on train vs. bus.  Let's hope my experience is better, but I have a feeling none of us are going to be too thrilled about the way there.  
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