Gosh – where to start.  I did make a lot of notes while I was away and in a gorgeous travel book which was a present a couple of years ago.  Anyway, I suppose I had better start at the beginning.  I flew with Emirates and honestly cannot fault them.  Ok hanging about Dubai airport in the wee small hours has its downside, but it is clean, there are plenty of seats and you can get on the internet for free – do you hear that Gatwick – free – not 10p a minute!  I also discovered the advantages of travelling alone.  As I boarded at Gatwick, the chap next to me was agitated and kept looking round the plane.  ‘It’s ok he said, I’m just hoping there are some free seats at the back’.  By the time we took off he had bagged himself three seats so I had the two to myself – much better for sleeping on.  At Dubai there are a couple of ‘quiet lounges’ furnished with loungers for sleeping on.  A lot of these had bags reserving them and I resisted the temptation of returning to my roots and announcing that ‘Bums reserve seats’ and found an empty one.  They are very very comfortable and I managed at least an hour’s sleep there each way.

We arrived at Dar Es Saalam at about 2.30 pm local time (11.30 am uk) and walked out into the African heat.  Oh my, was it hot.  Did I melt – yep.  What was even more infuriating was that the staff all looked so pristine in crisply ironed white shirts and I felt and probably looked like a wilting dish rag!  Two hours later (another story) and I had my visa and left the building.  Matthew the taxi driver had waited patiently outside for me and whisked me off.

First impressions were, – it looks like Africa.  What does that mean, well like many  hot countries, the shops are recessed back and don’t have massive glass frontages.  There are people everywhere and surprisingly the traffic was relatively calm and sensible.  In fact compared to Cairo which is traffic hell it is totally civilised.  The road from the airport has lots of shiny new industrial buildings interspersed with shiny new car dealerships, much like anywhere else really. As we got into the city proper we slowed down and the boys arrived.  They weave in and out of the traffic selling their wares, newspapers, peanuts, water and astonishingly, carving knives.  ‘Yes I was just on the commute home and realised I needed a new carving knife!’  One young chap cycled past with three massive blocks of ice on the back of his bike.  We caught the ferry and Matthew eventually dropped me off at Kipepeo.  Just bliss – really, honestly, the ideal place to recuperate after a long journey.

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