SATURDAY 16 NOVEMBER – THE HAVEN OF PEACE The last few hours of the journey seemed to take forever, the train constantly stopping and starting. As the sun climbed higher into the sky, the few Wazungu began to sweat and curse.
When the train finally ground to a halt at Dar es Salaam station, we shouldered our packs and set off to find somewhere to stay. That proved to be an epic quest. We spent three hours trudging around the baking streets, trying every budget place in the book, but everywhere we were met with vacant stares and the same word every time: FULL!
Eventually we arrived at the Jambo Inn, mentioned in the book, but quite expensive at 3000 Tanzanian shillings for a double room. But we had run out of options, so we took a room, and after our first shower in four days, and a change of clothes, we set off to try and find out about the fabled dhows to Zanzibar. [Travellers that we had met had told us it was possible to catch a local dhow out to Zanzibar].
Our first stop was one of the hotels where a man called Ali changed 100 U.S. dollars for us at a rate of 350shillings per dollar…130 shillings more than the official rate. We took the 35,000 shillings back to the hotel, and stashed more than half of it in the secret compartments in our packs, so that if we were stopped and searched, our cash would match that of our currency declarations.
Then walked down to the wharf to try and find out about the dhows. The office was locked up tight, and our inquiries were met with blank stares, so we gave up and went along to the Lutheran House hostel to see if we could get a room for the night. We couldn’t have looked like good enough Christians though, because they were “full.”
On the way back into town, we stopped to talk to an English couple at the Salamander Café, then went to the Snow Cone ice cream parlor for some delicious chocolate sundaes.
Back at the Jambo Inn, we crashed for the rest of the day, and didn’t wake up until 10:00 PM.