Hanging with the locals

Dar es Salaam Travel Blog

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So far I haven't met any other travelers during my time here but I have met plenty of the locals, thankfully (sort of?).  Yesterday I found a local's favorite for lunch and plopped down at a table.  After ordering, two gentlemen who looked like they were on a lunch break sat down with me even though not all the tables had filled yet.  I was glad for the company, especially because they noticed the fly floating in my soda before I did and summoned a waiter to get me a new one.  The food was delicious and the three of us happily got our fingers greasy eating chicken and fish.

I made my way out to the Euro Film Fest in the afternoon, about a 20 minute drive to a northern suburban theater.  Entrance was free but the cost of the cab made it not the cheapest activity.  There probably was a bus I could take to get out there, but I didn't want to bother with it, especially on the way back which was around 10 p.m.  Anyway, waiting on the first flick I met this very nice fella who was polite and inquisitive.  Turns out he works for the US Embassy doing security.  He sat with me during the movie and was unable to join me for the second. 

On the way to get the next ticket, this gal flagged me down and asked if I remembered seeing her earlier.  I had at an internet cafe so I joked with her about following me around.  She was catching the second flick, so we sat together.  She was not a good theater-going partner as it turns out.  She texted on her phone the whole time and talked to me like we were at home in our living room, no whispers, saying oh, she marries that guy and this happens.  She had seen it.  Then some guy sat down next to her during the movie and she introduced us and he would not let go of my hand after shaking it.  He was leaning over her very large and very in your face breasts and it was very awkward.  He didn't stick around long.

After the second one, she asked if I wanted coffee at the counter.  We went up and I pulled out my smaller bills to pay, and she grabbed them all and said it would be plenty.  I had 7,000 Schillings, which when reading the sign I realized was more than enough, so grabbed my money back and said I'd pay.  Then she grabbed it again and said it would be 6,000, the gal told her.  There was this strange series of me grabbing the money and her grabbing it back.  I eventually won and paid 3,000 for both coffees.  That put me off about her to say the least, but we went back in for the third and final flick.  She went back to texting and chatting and then after the movie started two new guys came down our aisle, one sitting two seats away from me on my side and another went around and sat next to her on the other side.  I didn't think she knew them at first as she barely acknowledged the guy who sat next to her, but the next thing I know she is having a huge argument with him that lasted about 10 minutes, all during the movie.  Locals didn't turn around during this, but apparent tourists were craning their heads to see what was going on.  I just sat there trying to concentrate on reading the subtitles.  Eventually she got up and left and so did that guy, and then the other guy near me. 

The thought had occurred to me that there may be some sort of scam afoot after the coffee incident, maybe she had texted them about some single traveler with money, and I obviously didn't understand the argument, but I kept my belongings close.  I was also glad I had a ride arranged so I didn't have to deal with any suggestions after the movie about me going with her somewhere.  She eventually came back alone luckily.  Then she took a phone call and I heard her saying she was with a friend.  Eventually another call later and her ride was outside before the movie ended.  She took off to catch it, giving me hugs and kisses goodbye.  From what I gather in all that, she was a very young gal whose parents dropped her at the movies and she uses it as an opportunity to meet up with her male friends.

Anyway, I found Ali, my taxi driver, and off we went.  We got to the hotel and then he asked if he could borrow some money so he could get his tire fixed.  He basically wanted to borrow against the fare for taking me back to the Indian high commission the next day.  I doubted his story as I noticed the faint smell of alcohol when I got in the car, and he drove down the middle of the road at times, but that is not uncommon around here.  It wasn't a lot of money and was less than what the fare would be, and as I've seen him every day I've been here and he's always punctual and trustworthy with rides, I assented and he left. 

By the way, the three flicks were all pretty depressing, one each from Ireland, Italy and Poland, three places I've been on this trip.  The last was about a Polish debt collector whose distraught client hangs himself.  Nice.  Well, back to the books.
nicoleah says:
How strange, luckily it turned out okay!
Posted on: Nov 15, 2007
bretaye says:
Interesting story though. I can picture you arguing with some large breasted woman about money. Way to stick to your guns. Hang in there. You will be out of there soon!
Posted on: Nov 15, 2007
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