The business of books

Dar es Salaam Travel Blog

 › entry 92 of 151 › view all entries
Yesterday I managed to check out the National Museum here.  There wasn't much to it and with no a/c, it was almost unbearable, especially when I got to things in jars.

I found the "best bookstore in Dar" but it was closed as most everything is on Sundays.  The best part about that is you can walk around with relative ease.  But I was desperate with nothing to read at that point.  Luckily as I was walking down the street, someone asked where I was going and what I was up to, so I asked about bookstores.  He flagged some guy down who was sitting in a chair on the street and off he went to fetch some books.  We negotiated a price for some used paperback, which was called The Decider (reminded me of our esteemed President). I read that in a day.

This morning I made it to the Indian High Commission after starting a squabble outside my hotel between taxi drivers.  I got a bidding war going and found my ride to the embassy, who is now my official "go to taxi driver" for the week.  An hour or so later, my visa application was under way finally!  I can pick it up Thursday at four and hopefully drop it off at the US Embassy that day and get it back Fri (I cannot be here another weekend!).  I will beg them to expedite getting me more visa pages if I have to.  Anyway, the main point is I am stuck here the entire week.  At that point I was out of book, having also read the one Margaret gave me before she left.  After a quick stop at the US Embassy, closed for Veteran's Day, I was dropped back at a Novel Idea, open this time but they didn't do book exchanges.  I set off to find a way to exchange the two books I had rather than buy another one.  Staying in a hotel you don't have the advantages of hostel book exchanges, and just flagging down other travelers is not as easy.

I popped into two bookstores until I found one guy very helpful.  He said book exchanges as a concept do not work in this town, but pointed to a box of paperbacks on sale and said I could drop in one and take one, but not to mention to anyone he let me do it.  Perfect, off I went with some other book, not really caring what.  Then I found my street bookseller and told him I finished his book and wanted to exchange it.  Off he went again returning with his stack.  I had to pay a small fee to do an exchange, but I am now armed with two new books to read, probably not good but it will help pass the time here. 

For those of you who have been waiting, I finally found an internet shop that I can download photos at, so my Kili/safari entries have pictures!  Well, onto to reading.  I may start reviewing books just for something to write about.
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