Walking on the beach at Pogradec, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Pogradec, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Shkoder, Albania on May 19th!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

You never know what to expect on a travel day

I've said it before... travel days are always interesting. It's probably the reason I never sleep very well the night before a travel day, You just never know what's going to happen or what's going to go wrong. And sometimes (it does happen occasionally!) we are surprised when everything goes according to plan!

We were up early because we had prearranged with our taxi guy in Tanga to pick us up at 7:00am. Sure enough, he arrived at about 6:50am, so the day was off to a good start.

Our bus tickets had been printed out of a handheld electronic device. We were pretty surprised by this because we had bought them out of a little wooden shack, so when they brought out this fancy little printer machine it was such a contrast. 

But, there is so much conflicting information. 

They had said the price was 16,000 shillings each, and I had paid 32,000 total. But the ticket said the price was 36,000. Strange.

And the ticket said that the bus left at 8:00am, but the "reporting time" mentioned was 6:45am. The lady said that if we showed up between 7:15am to 7:30am we would be fine.

We got there just before 7:15am and there were quite a few other people waiting. And there were two big coach buses parked at the side. 

Around 7:35, a smaller bus pulled up, and everyone who had been waiting started getting on. Someone grabbed our bags, and put them in the back. By the time we got to the front door, there weren't any seats left. And, seats had been assigned and our ticket mentioned that we had seats 1 and 2 right behind the driver. But of course someone was already sitting in them.

I went and spoke to the ticket person, and she explained that this is only a shuttle bus that takes you to the proper terminal!

Anyhow, we were directed to a smaller van. The other bus took off with our luggage in it, and we eventually left in the smaller van. Didn't like seeing the other bus leave with our bags in it!

But sure enough, we arrived at the main terminal and saw our bags being brought to the big coach bus. We got on, and were put in seats 1 and 2 right behind the driver.

And surprise, surprise... the bus departed at 8:01am!

So, everything was happening the way it's supposed to, and I'm sure if we were familiar with the procedures we never would have been worried to begin with. Things are done differently in different countries.

Didn't take many photos from the bus. The windows were dirty, and it wasn't the nicest day out. 

The bus was air conditioned, but the seats weren't that comfortable. Six and a half hours in an uncomfortable seat was not fun. At least my legs had some room.

This was our view.

The girl in the yellow was the bus attendant. She looked after people who got on for shorter runs. Not that there were very many, because the bus was pretty full. And she also announced some stops. There were also a steady stream of people getting on and off selling stuff. 

Our driver was pretty aggressive. We think he must get a bonus based on arriving earlier than scheduled! The people who were getting on and off pretty much had to already have their legs moving because the bus would still be moving!

There were so many times he passed someone when there was someone smaller coming our way. I guess he just figured that we are bigger, and the other guy will have no choice but to move to the shoulder. He wasn't so aggressive when there was another bus or truck. But motorcycles? He didn't even hesitate. I saw one motorcyclist give him the finger.

We made one washroom/snack stop. Not sure what was said when the stop was announced, but they must have given people a time. We got out and stretched our legs, but didn't stray far from the entrance door. We got back on, and watched. When the driver and the attendant got on, they fired up the bus and started driving. There was no checking to see if everybody was on board, so we have no idea if anybody got left behind. 

Ruth, and our bus at the rest stop.

Scenery from the window.

Coming into the big city of Dar es Salaam.

I had read that there is a brand new bus terminal in Dar es Salaam, and I was hoping we weren't headed there because it's quite far from the center of the city where our Airbnb is located. But sure enough, the bus turned in that direction and that's where we ended up. I had read that it's a real mess and there isn't enough parking for cars and taxis.

We arrived at about 2:15pm, a few minutes early.

And sure enough it's a real circus. And, we were still 18 kms (12 miles) from our Airbnb.

As expected, a taxi driver quickly approached us. He quoted 50,000 shillings to bring us to the center of the city, and I laughed at him and walked away. He quickly asked "how much do you want to pay?" I offered 20,000, which I knew was pretty low and ended up agreeing to pay 30,000 ($16.50 CAD, $13.00 USD).

It took about 15 minutes to get enough vehicles moved around so he could get the taxi out of the parking lot.

Then on the way, we had to stop for gas. We had noticed that the gas gauge read empty. Our driver put in about 5 liters (just over a gallon)... just enough to move the gauge. He said he didn't have any more money.

Throughout all of this, I had been in regular contact with our Airbnb host and he was there to meet us when we arrived. We were starved and he gave us directions to some restaurants. We ended up at an Indian place and had some really good chicken curry and rice. There is a big Indian population here in Dar es Salaam. 

Our kitchen.

The main room.

Bathroom.

It's just a ground floor (there is only one floor) studio apartment. The listing actually called it a townhouse. But it's fine. The location is great and it's walking distance to the hospital where we need to go to have our Covid PCR test done. Paying $34.86 CAD ($27.50 USD) per night for a six night stay.

We will go out and do some exploring today, and figure out the timing and details for our PCR test.

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Nice deal on a big selection of Hill Science Dry Dog and Cat Food

And in Canada...



18 comments:

  1. I would have been wishing I had sat farther back on the bus so I wouldn't be able to see the road ahead!

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    1. When they were asking about sitting selection I wanted near the front but not quite that close! Having said that it was better for Kevin as it gave him a little more leg room, not much but a bit. If I sit too far back on a bus, I will get motion sickness especially if it happens to be a twisty road.

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  2. I am impressed that the taxi and bus were so punctual. Enjoy your time there.

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    1. We were too. But we've learned that when you keep your expectations low, it doesn't take much to be impressed!

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  3. I chuckled a few times reading the blog...too funny.

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  4. You're right about some larger vehicles using their size to command the road.
    Glad you are Safe. Enjoy your stay.

    It's about time.

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  5. Sounds like you made it on time, with minutes to spare! How was your Indian food? You 2 were so hungry, the old saying goes"you'd eat a skunk"! Hopefully the chicken was tasty! We know it won't be long before we see the area were you are staying.
    Take care, Rawn

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    1. We did!

      The curries were delicious and the chicken was tender, we will head back there for another meal before our time here in Dar es Salaam is up.

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  6. Nice accommodations! It would be hard for me to take a bus without a bathroom. It would a one cup of coffee morning :)

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    1. The accommodation looks a little better in pictures than it does in real life but it is clean and we will do just fine here for our six days.

      We didn't have ANY tea/coffee that morning and only sipped a little on our bottled water while on the bus because we knew that there was no bathroom on board.

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  7. Oh dear that’s a long ride with only one bathroom/snack break to stretch your legs. Didn’t the bus have a toilet?
    Looks like you’ve got a nice place for your stay there. Looking forward to your adventures in this city and good luck on your PCR tests.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it was a long bus ride and so were our other two bus rides so we knew what we were in for. No, there was no toilet on board!

      Our studio apartment is just fine, and will suit us for our six days here.

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  8. Since you use the AirBnB so often we decided to do the same for our Illinois trip. We're military and the base is $130 a NIGHT for lodging. We found a house like you use and it was $65 a night. Thanks for reporting where you stay and the kinds of commendations.

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