Posts Tagged beaches

Take it… to the limit…one more time

Hey everyone,

Long time no blog post from this dusty foot philosopher! I’d give you a list of half-decent excuses as long as you’d like but in the end none are really that valid so I won’t bother. But thank your lucky stars, I’m back for a quick post today. The topic? As the Eagles sang, pushing yourself to the limit.

In this case, we are talking specifically about taking your physical body to the limits and I have two fun updates from the past and near future!
1.) This past February I ran in the Kilimanjaro half-marathon and I’ve meant to post an update about that race since but never finished it- well, the update and photos are now posted below.
2.) This coming Sunday, August 4th I will be trying my luck at my first full olympic-distance triathlon in Watamu, Kenya with a group of friends!

The triathlon will be taking place the same time as the women’s Olympic triathlon in London so while your watching that you can laugh a my foolishness to take this on. The race I will be doing will be the same distances – that’s 1.5km open ocean swim, 40km bike ride, and a 10km run on the trails and the beach. Should be absolutely unenjoyable but I am aiming to finish in 3-3.5hrs! There is more information on the 2012 Wildman Kenya Triathlon race here.

Since we were taking on this big personal challenge we thought we could also use it as an opportunity to raise some funds to go to a good cause from family and friends back home who might be interested in supporting us. I’m not very good at this fundraising thing but since I have this blog available and some people who do check-in I thought I would put a quick post up about it to raise more awareness.

Our team chose to raise money for Saving Africa’s Nature (SANA)’s Bio Agriculture project as it was an issue close to many of our hears. This project is aimed at economically empowering the women of Matipwili village through transitioning to sustainable and organic agriculture which they will sell to the various tourist lodges and villages in the park. Matipwili village borders on Saadani National Park along the coast of Tanzania and this project aims to reduce the illegal hunting and de-forestation (for charcoal selling) that is happening across the country. Learn more about the project here!

No pressure at all, but if you are interested and financially able to donate – you can do so through this PayPal link (you can pay with any credit cards -just login as a guest) or by contacting me directly. I’m happy to put in the money now so that it can be donated to SANA and then collect from you at a future date when we see each other next! As a team of 7 we are aiming to raise upwards of $4,000 for this cause which should help to expand the project from its initial pilot phase to a full implementation. Any small amount helps so donate here!

Kilimanjaro Half Marathon

After wanting to do this race last year but all that resulted was months of talk with no actual training – I finally made it happen on February 26th 2012 and ran in the very fun Kilimanjaro Half Maration event in Moshi, TZ on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. A stormy and rain filled morning resulted in quite the adventure (18 wazungu hijacking a dalla-dalla to bring us to the stadium) to finally make it to the starting point when the road was too washed out and the bus got stuck.

Pre-Race: I watched a movie recently with the wise quip “you can’t win a marathon without putting bad-aids on your nipples”. I took this to heart and, trying to look like a professional with a chance of winning, bought Where’s Waldo band-aids for my nips. An informal pre-race survey found that most of my fellow runners did not take it that seriously.

Mid-Race Report: 10.5 km very uphill and then turn around and run back down. Kind of depressing cause in the end, after all that effort, you didn’t really feel like you’d gone anywhere…

Post-Race Report: Who knew running 21.1 kms up and down could be so much fun? Hint: Not my knees.

Good times though and hope to do a few more again in the future.

Editors Note: Dan has not put on his running shoes again since returning from this race at the end of February. That could be because they were stolen shortly after (add it to the list) or that’s just a convenient excuse.

Editors Note 2: This earlier Editors Note written in April is now out of date – thankfully he’s gone running at least a few times to train for this triathlon on the weekend. That said, since the good running shoes went missing he’ll be doing the tri in a pair of old basketball shoes – the experts unanimously agree that this is probably a good idea and will only help complete the ‘professional look’  that the swim suit and second-hand African market women’s bicycle he’ll be riding have begun. One word for you: intimidation.

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The view from up here

Living in East Africa has its definite benefits – one being the opportunities to travel (or maybe its just the mindset as the opportunities exist in just about every place and often much cheaper than here!). With minimal planning you can hop on a small plane and end up in some exotic locale for the long weekend. And while the end location is often the subject of many of my other posts on this site – getting there in the 4, 6 or 12 seater light planes is often part of the fun and half the beauty.

Flying over the Indian ocean and around this country in general offers some amazingly beautiful seascapes and scenery which can really take the breath away. The opportunities for aerial photography are truly amazing and so I’m always anxious to try and land a good window seat this purpose. There is just something about being up high and having this different perspective that makes the patterns and colours we can’t see from the ground so remarkable.

Over the past couple of years I have collected a number of pictures from these various flights which I have been meaning to make into a blog post and share with you for awhile.

Enjoy!

Cheers!

Dan

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A day in this Bongo life

I’ve spent about 15+ months now in total living in Dar es Salaam. Originally stemming from it’s Arabic name  ’Harbour of Peace’. Commonly just goes by Dar. Shortcoded DSM. On the streets – Bongo (slang for brains…you need them to survive in the city). Call it what you will – it’s been ‘home’ for some time now and as such has been a big part of my life and experiences over here in Tanzania. Mimi ni mBongo kabisa.

Now that I think about it, it’s climbed up to 4th in terms of the places I’ve spent the most time living in (New Hamburg, ON -> Santa Cruz, Bolivia -> Waterloo, ON ->DSM ->Toronto, ON)  - so I figure I owe it some kind of tribute and it will give you (wherever you are) a chance to learn a little more about this city.

So…somehow this has once again turned into a blog post dominated by the photos and a bit shorter on the narrative. Blame it on laziness and not wanting to write so much or on wanting to showcase some favourite pics – but either way I figure pictures can be one of the best ways (worth a thousand words? - and if that’s not good enough there are real words in all the captions…) to express some of the day-to-day life which I personally experience in this city.

And in the end, I wanted to get out at least one post  in March and with leaving for Ethiopia in a few hours …time was of the essence – so enjoy some random bits of writing and photos from this year so far in Bongo!

Dar has an official population estimate of approx. 3 million people and growing at a crazy fast and rather uncontrolled pace – it’s estimated it will reach over 5 million people before 2020. This growth has mostly been in the form of the unplanned sprawl in every direction with the complete lack of any scaled capabilities in water, sewage, roads, and other infrastructure.

When I arrived back in Dar this past August – I had the task of finding housing. Housing in Dar is the tale of two markets – Generally high-end houses and apartments with rents similar or exceeding Toronto and other major Western cities and the more local housing market where monthly rents are often measured in tens or low hundreds of dollars instead of thousands. Trying to find that inbetween was a long and defeating search – but eventually managed to hit a nice sweet spot. On the positive side -the three weeks of searching everyday after work meant I got to visit all kinds of new unexplored areas of the city and got to see inside some of the world’s most hideously kitsch decorated apartments (this coming from a guy who’s decorating remains frozen in-time to 1st year university dorm styles…)

Dar is generally not one of the top places to visit when people come to Tanzania – maybe a transit point that gets a day or two but its generally not a destination in itself. But that’s one of the thing that I like about living in Dar – you can generally go. All I need to do is go to Zanzibar for a weekend in high season and be surrounded by tourists and people selling things to all the visitors..Jambo rafiki!… and I’m reminded of this again.

After a few months living here I finally went through with my ambitions to buy a bike to pedal power myself around the city. Foregoing the easily available cheap Chinese road bikes – I’ve managed to finally procure myself a mountain bike.  Riding a bicycle down Kimweri Ave in morning rush hour traffic of bajaji’s, pedestrians, dangerous dalla-dallas, equally crazy SUV drivers, and a host of other vehicles and random obstacles – I wish I had one of those helmet cameras to take you with me. It’s been great though to get around and to take aimless rides through new neighbourhoods and just explore the city with my camera. Most of the pictures in this post are from those Sundays on the bike.

Dirty Dar – According to this Forbes article from 2008 – Dar was ranked the world’s 12th dirtiest city – according to a Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score. It’s certainly not something that is reflected in my day-to-day life as we have regular access to water and sewage (although the latter also flows rather freely in in ditches nearby as well) -but it is a huge issue for many areas and much of the city’s population. While Dar is a beautiful city in many ways, it is definitely also a very dirty one. Garbage is everywhere and burned on the streetside because of lack of proper disposal options.

The multi-cultural make-up of DSM along with the large expat and business population has made for a decent selection and variety of restaurants to choose from. I certainly can’t complain anyways (not that I was going to with 3 sushi places) when speaking with friends living out in more remote areas where only the TZ dietary staples (generally ugali/rice/chips with fried beef/chicken/fish) are available. Still, there are things I would rather not admit to which I would do in a heartbeat for decent Mexican food right about now…

This time around I have been lucky enough to get involved in plenty of different sports to stay active. Regular Football Tuesdays and Fridays, Basketball Wednesdays and Floorball Thursdays have given a much needed outlet to run around and added some routine to the weeks. A proud member of the Valhalla Vikings F.C. – 2009 Dar es Salaam World Cup champions!

There are about 4 different styles of paintings you can buy from the artists and street sellers in Dar -Vaguely categorized as  Tinga-Tinga, Masaai, Zanzibar,Wildlife, and generic african style. Walk into any mzungu home and your often guaranteed to see the same stuff. I can understand you go with what sells – but someone needs to step up and diversify! Now that I mention it, its not just artists – but is often apparent in the general business environment. There are sections of town/the road known as the place to go for any particular item. The problem is – they all sell the exact same thing and are all in a row. Go with what works – but I have to think that being the 9th shop in the area selling mobile phones is not the best business plan.

It really struck me on my second week back – sitting in the plastic chairs, a somewhat cold Safari Lager in your hand and a plate of chipsi mayai in front of you. The the nighttime temperature and humidity down to a more comfortable level, listening to the ting ting ting of the Taraab or Bongo Flava music playing loudly in the background and being lulled away by the table conversation in a language you don’t yet fully understand. It had a very strange and comfortable familiarity to it all being back in Dar.

Likewise there were parts of Canada and western life which I experienced while being home this past summer that felt more foreign. Dress codes? Closing times? Checking the weather forecast? Rules and laws that are enforced and require obedience? Not being able to afford eating out every night? Uggh

Some of the uncontrolled growth in Dar – along with questionable military safety measures/motivations – have led to a pair of tragedies in Dar recently. First in April 2009, and again in February this year – Army bases with surrounding residential populations turned into horrible scenes  when munitions depots caught fire sending  explosions over DSM. I live about 25km away from the site but that night our windows were shaking from the blasts – I can only imagine how bad it must have been for the neighbours.  Read the BBC article here

As nice as the climate is in Arusha, as much of a quiet and stress-free life I am sure one can live down on the shores of Lake Nyasa, as beautiful mountain views there are in Lushoto, and as much of a tropical paradise is Zanzibar…I don’t  think, at this point in time, there’s anywhere else I’d rather live for a long period of time in Tanzania. In terms of social life and a variety of things to do – Dar provides the most (and its not much -hence high ratio of Vicky Mendoza diagonal incidences?)

Last thing – come visit! Seriously – while… less serious offer for you random internet visitors who stumbled upon this. You are making a decision you’ll someday regret right now as you currently tell yourself that you’d love to but you just can’t because of X,Y, and Z. Make it happen and you’ll have the 5-star luxury of a blow-up mattress and guaranteed adventures in Dar!

Anyways, hope you enjoyed and got to see a slice of this guy’s Bongo life!

Cheers,

Dan

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The Portuguese have left the building…A Photo Tour of Ilha’s Ibo & Mocambique

Hello again world,

In my earlier post on the Mozambique travels last week, I promised a follow-up on the second half of the trip down to Mozambique. Don’t say I never deliver the goods. This week – I proudly present Part II – Ladies & Gentlemen, the Portuguese have left the building…

A very Wiki History lesson to set the stage

An abbreviated and inadequate history: Mozambique was colonized by the Portuguese empire in 1505. They stuck around for several hundred years and built up colony with an impressive resource-based trading empire. Fast forward to 1975 when the Portuguese decided to pack up and leave after a war for independence and regime change back home. Upon independence on June 25, 1975 – a good riddance law was passed by the new government ordering all Portuguese to leave the country in 24 hours with only 20 kilograms of luggage! I guess lesson is always travel light – you never know. Mix that misguided policy  in with  the economic decline of these indian ocean trading companies and associated government in the early 20th century et voilà  - you have yourself the makings some very eery but fascinating ghost towns.

Needless to say, these places make for some amazing photography sets and I had a field day on this trip as everywhere you turned there were a hundred beautiful and very unique photos waiting to be made. Here’s some highlights – enjoy!

A Photo Tour of spooky Ilha do Ibo

We first visited the more remote and less known Ilha do Ibo in the Quirimbas National Marine Park. Wasn’t on the original itinerary but once we read about it we had to move plans around to make it happen. Easily my favorite spot on the whole trip and one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited in this life of mine.

I could show a hundred more from this place but must show some restraint!

Tired of photos already? Too bad – It’s Ilha de Mocambique’s time to shine

The second of these amazing historic places we visited and spent New Year’s was the somewhat more famous, a bit less abandoned, a lot more touristy, former capital of Portuguese East Africa - Ilha de Mocambique:

As mentioned in the last post – all these photos and more are available for your viewing pleasure in Flickr Set that might just make you drop what your doing and buy a ticket to Mozambique – right here after the link.

Catch you on the flip side

Up next – headed to Ethiopia at the end of March for an exciting 11 days of travel goodness in Northern Ethiopia and around Addis Ababa. Very excited for this trip – should be something very different culturally and geographically speaking than the travels made around Tanzania, Northern Mozambique, and Kenya so far this year.  Plus, as a true fan of delicious food served in large quantities…I’m excited for the prospect of being surrounded by Ethiopian food!

After that – end of April will bring a 5 day Easter weekend trip with friends to the city of Kigoma and the Gombe Stream National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the western edge of Tanzania. Gombe Stream was made famous by a certain Ms. Jane Goodall back-in-the-day and her research on primates in this remote area. The park offers the opportunity to hike up into the mountains and (hopefully) observe the chimpanzee troops in their non-zoo habitat. But besides this, I’ve heard it’s an amazingly beautiful place, great hiking, and offers a chance to visit and swim (Bilharzia be damned) in Lake Tanganyika - the remaining on the list of Africa’s 3 main Great Lakes after trips to Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi last year. Lake Tanganyika, unlike me at my grade 6 track and field meets, has a number of impressive non-participation ribbons including: world’s longest lake, world’s second deepest lake, world’s second largest body of fresh water, and offers nice views into the neighboring DR Congo across the lake. Advanced warning of possible obnoxious future facebook status update: Dan Albrecht is…peeing while swimming in Lake Tanganyika and looking into THE DARK HEART OF AFRICA!!!

Given my track record with this post – you can expect to see a blog post and photos of these trips sometime in June…2012

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Mozambique by the road less, less traveled

Hello world,

It’s been awhile but have no fear – another dusty foot philosopher is back in February with some photos and tales from December/January’s overland travels down to Mozambique!

I wanted an adventure and I found it

This trip undertaken, with roommate Zach over a 10 day Christmas holiday break, took us down from Dar es Salaam into northern Mozambique  - a known route but one not often taken. I had spent most of the first four months back in Tanzania sticking around Dar on the weekends and generally falling into a rythym and normality of life. I was itching it get away from that so we went out seeking a good adventure and found it.

Will try to capture some of that 3 day adventure getting down there in this quick summary. I’m conscious of those out-do each other travel stories so will try not to do that but just tell a fun story! “oh yeah…you think that sounds crazy? I once traveled through {insert little known African country} on $1USD per day,  riding an near extinct species of camel, in the middle of the civil war, sick with malaria and cholera, and with only a toothbrush, a pack of gum, and my wits to survive”.

On the road again

Day 1 had us leave Dar early Christmas eve morning on a bus headed down to the very south of Tanzania -Mtwara. With no tickets purchased ahead of time (apparently a bad idea on one of the bigger travel days of the year) we had to pay extra (count the times this happens with me –  #1!)and squeeze ourselves onto one of the few buses headed down to Mtwara. 12 hours in the hot sun on bumpy roads, kids on laps, and greasy fries and the trip was off to a good start.

We made it into lovely Mikandani, a small old town just outside of Mtwara at dusk and spent Christmas eve at a lovely dive centre eating a good meal with tons of red-faced British men working out on the natural gas rigs off the coast. Mikandani is a beautiful little historic town – used to be a Arab swahili trading centre back in the day and had quite a bit of charm to it and was quite nice to explore -highly recommend it!

Early Christmas day morning we were off to the Ruvuma River which marks the border between Tanzania and Mozambique. This was the big unknown part of the trip -I’d done some reading online and from others accounts it seemed as though it was possible to do – although it had got quite a bit more difficult since the ferry sank 3 years ago. Read in the hostel the night before crossing that this was one of Africa’s least used border crossings and the river was filled with hippos and crocodiles – oh my!

The mini-bus down to the river took about an hour and being our only option to get there ended up being one of the more expensive dalla-dalla rides in TZ history (#2!). A quick  price was agreed and from there we hopped in a row boat with our bags and we were on our way being paddled across the wide Ruvuma. Did you cringe when I said ‘a quick price was agreed”? Yeah, unfortunately you weren’t there at the time to give us that warning.

Needless to say, the currency of the transaction changed once we were in the middle of the river and theres not much you can do when they stop the boat in the middle of the river, hippos about 30 meters away on either side, and demand payment.  For those of you counting at home…that’s #3.

Once we got the price to a respectable compromise and were safely to the other side – we faced another similar situation. One lone transport option to get you from A to B – they name the price and you can only negotiate so much so you pay your “stranded mzungu tax” (#4!) and be on your way or end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. I was hoping to see some elephants and maybe a lion out here in the bush as I had read there were some large wild animal populations out here – but unluckily (some might say luckily) didn’t end up coming across any.

After bumping along on these sand and red dirt roads on this afternoon I truly earned the “dusty” in this blog title – covered in a thick layer of dirt and grime. Fun ride overall though and we were in high spirits. We pulled into the town of Mocímboa da Praia that night and found a sketchy bus station place to crash for a few hours.

Sitting  on another bus from 4am the next day gave me some time to reflect: Northern Mozambique was very much like Tanzania in the end (and why not when borders are drawn up on maps and many tribes/cultures are in both). Swahili was more useful than any Portuguese words for most of the trip and the north of the country seemed to have been barely influenced by the Portuguese compared to what I might have expected and heard but I expect this is much more true the further south you go.

Also, it was pretty annoying paying the stranded mzungu tax so often on this journey- but in the end I couldn’t blame anyone too much. At times it was our own lack of caution and finalizing terms in advance and other times just people trying to take advantage of a rare situation that had presented itself. It was Christmas time afterall…

Pulling into Pemba the third day afternoon was a beautiful thing. The city itself was nice but nothing spectacular to write home about and the highlights were a long awaited shower, good food, relaxation, beaches, and meeting our new travel buddies – two other Canadians working in Mozambique who would end up travelling around with us for the rest of the trip. The remaining days were a less adventurous but a lot more relaxing!

All these photos and more are now posted in a Flickr Set for your visual stimulation here.

Stay tuned next week for the follow-up blog post Ladies and Gentlemen, The Portuguese have left the building” for photo tours of two amazing history-filled islands we visited in the remaining portion of time!

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A global recession hurts fishing boats too

The life and times of the unemployed boats of Mafia island:  A Photo Essay

This is just an opportunity to share some photos which were taken last April during a last-minute weekend trip to Mafia Island. Ended up jumping on a flight and finding myself another piece of Tanzanian paradise sitting about  a 45 minute flight south of Dar es Salaam. We found ourselves on a beach the second day with a few hours to wait until the tides came in and we could leave on a snorkelling trip we just negotiated (the horrors!). The beach and shallow waters were littered with a number of boats in various states of use and disrepair and I spent the next little while trying to capture a bit of this with the camera. Without any further ado…my photo essay (and slightly disturbing accompanying captions) on the unemployed boats and dhows of Chole Beach, Mafia Island, Tanzania.

If you want to check out more – the full slideshow from this trip is available here on my Flickr account.

Academic Note: The recession link is probably unproven – not sure how closely the fishing villages out here are linked to Bear Stearns, AIG, and Citibank – I just took a lot of pictures of boats not in use – but that could have been because of the tides…

A very cool reason to go back:

When we visited last year in April it was unfortunately not during one of nature’s coolest spectacles which occurs off the coast of Tanzania every year – the visits of the whale shark to the feeding grounds of the Rufiji delta.

“Very little is known about the world’s largest fish. Weighing up to 35 tonnes, the whale shark has poor eyesight and relies on its sense of smell to track prey. Off Mafia Island, whale sharks congregate in large numbers in order to feed. Some may travel as many as 13,000km (8,000 miles) to visit rich feeding grounds. The water is enriched by nutrients that have washed out to sea from the African river deltas.”  - BBC Oceans

Apparently it happens every year from October -March,  so I hope to take advantage and make the trip this year. I’ll update you if it works out and see if I can find one of those underwater cameras here in TZ.

From: http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?pic=071231-r-whale-shark-02.jpg&cap=Whale+sharks+are+the+largest+shark+and+largest+fish+species+in+the+seas.+Credit:+Brad+Norman&title=Whale+Sharks+Thrive+in+Australian+Waters&title=Whale%20Sharks%20Thrive%20in%20Australian%20Waters

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and this episode is called…

I think this post is going to need a real quick background clarification before we get into the good stuff so let me try my best here.

There is a “game” that we have started playing here in Tanzania amongst us three roommates that is called “and this episode is called….”.  The credit goes to Zach for the genius of coming up with this game while back in Canada. The concept of the game is quite simple yet very entertaining for us (surprise, surprise). You basically just take your real life experiences and try to give the experience a funny/witty  episode title which summarizes the experiences events the best. This is generally done the next morning while re-capping the night’s events with everyone sitting around throwing out ideas until one comes along that just captures it all perfectly. In a rare and bold occasion – one can actually pre-name an episode, telling their friendsin advance “this episode is called….” to really set the expectations for the day’s/nights events that will follow.

To get a better idea of what I am going for, here are the episode guides from two TV shows that I absolutely love and one that I absolutely love to hate:

How I Met Your Mother

Entourage

Friends

With no further delay, I present to you – the episode guide to our first two months in Tanzania.

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Episode Guide – Season 1:

Arrival in September –  October 31st, 2009

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Original date on air: September 15th (Pilot Episode)

Episode Title: Welcome to Mzungu Paradise

Episode Summary: Dan arrives as the third and final roommate in Dar es Salaam to join Zach and Jeremy (who have been in place a few days already) in their MEDA internships and new lives in Dar es Salaam. Not given much information on what to expect before arriving – our heroes are all shocked to find themselves living in the nicest accommodations they’ve ever had in the heart of what they dub “Mzungu (white man’s) Paradise”. The first week is mostly spent breaking their few possessions by playing soccer in the spacious and empty apartment.

Beinvenido a Dar es Salaam

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Original date on air : September 19th-21st

Episode Title: Zanzibar’s man of the ladies/Poa kachize kamandize

Episode Summary: A trip to Zanzibar on the long weekend celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid is a great time and a hell of an introduction to how beautiful Tanzania really is. Along they way they meet a new character named Elvis  -  a local historical tour guide who fits in way too perfectly with our three heroes. Elvis’ smooth operation with the ladies and his desire to land a mzungu girl make for some hilarious times (“This original theatre production is called..Lucy meets Elvis”).  The group of four explore the winding streets of Stonetown, pet sea turtles, go snorkling, visit a mosque for an Eid service, visit Elvis’ family, enjoy countless beaches & sunsets, and generally have one of those “is this for real?” kinda weekends.

Old port and customs house in Zanzibar

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Original date on air : September 21st

Episode Title: That’s what she said

Episode Summary: Our heroes bring the “that’s what she said” joke to Tanzania beginning this weekend and teach it to everyone we meet. Some catch on to the concept better than others resulting in some pretty hilarious moments and a lasting legacy is created. We will now leave this country a better(?) place than when we found it.

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Original date on air: September 24th – October 9th

Episode Title: The curious incident of the malaria pills in the night time

Episode Summary: Zach and Dan both make the unwise decision to take their malaria prophylactic pills at the end of a night on an empty stomach and then going straight to bed.  Waking up to “heartburn from hell”, excessive gas, and a painful sensation every time one eats or swallows – the next week is full of discomfort, regret, and google searches of “what the hell is happening to my stomach”, “malaria pill heartburn”,and other related terms to make sure that they aren’t dying.

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Original date on air: September 26th

Episode Title: The people you will meet on the beach in Kigamboni

Episode Summary: A weekend camping trip for our heroes to the nearby southern beaches of Kigamboni introduces plenty of new and interesting characters to the season plot. After sitting around a Rasta campfire sing-along for much of the night the group moves to find itself sitting around a table with; Winston, a chill rasta from Malawi with a hilarious british accent, Saif, the  woman’s underwear collector Tanzanian, an opinionated American Peace Corps volunteer, and a mzungu  tour operator dude from Swaziland who for some unknown reason is wearing a  bra and make-up. Needless to say, this night ends with explosive results…

Futbol action on the beach in Kigamboni

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Original date on air: October 3rd

Episode Title: Bows, arrows, and near death experiences at the Bagamoyo Arts & Music Festival

Episode Summary: A weekend trip to a nearby town of Bagamoyo for their famous arts and music festival takes a scary turn when our Mzungu-African hero Zach is mistaken for a local trying to break into a resort when climbing a fence. He escapes the close call unharmed and returns to spend the night chilling on an abandoned boat on the beach and hearing the re-run of the legendary and elusive “The dancer with a heart of gold” episode.

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Original date on air: October 6-13

Episode Title: Zee Germans are coming!

Episode Summary: The everyday Dar es Salaam life of our heroes is turned upside down with the arrival in their social lives of a band of, at times equally wild, German friends. Craziness, misunderstandings, and many good times ensue in this particularly intensive first week of hanging out together. Jeremy returns from his brief trip to Canada to find that life did indeed go on without him and zee new characters play roles in many future episodes.

some of zee Germans here

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Original date on air: October 10th

Episode Title: The soaking wet guru on the roof

Episode Summary: A night out to a beach club for our heroes and zee Germans turns very wet when Dan decides to throw a German friend into the pool fully clothed. In short order the whole group is in the pool to the shock and entertainment of all the other guests present. Dan ends up dispensing worldly advice on the meaning of life to the gathered group of strangers from his perch cross-legged atop the roof of the bar’s washroom hut.

Malaika House beach bar in Dar es Salaam: the scene of many a crime

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Original date on air: October 17th:

Episode Title: The most wonderful 10th interesting fact about Jeremy/ The most unnecessary bottle of Konyagi ever.

Episode Summary: Our heroes host a smashingly successful dinner party for everyone they’ve met in Dar so far. Wait a minute, guys can cook? A game of “tell me 10 interesting facts about yourself” takes an unexpected turn late at night with  most wonderful and revealing results. Dan makes another (retrospectively) bad/(good?) decision in the groups ongoing complex relationship with Konyagi (the local spirit). A wedding is crashed and the group replays last weeks swimming incident and begin to gain a bit of a reputation around town.

the definition of a love/hate relationship

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Original date on air: October 21st (I think…)

Episode Title: Getting lucky Tanzania style

Episode Summary: Celebrating a recently arrived  friend’s birthday at zee German’s house, the main characters are gathered on a mat in their backyard. Drinks and food are had and stories are being told when a sudden cracking sound breaks the conversation and Dan hears a whooshing sound right before being clocked on the back of the head. Lying in the grass, he’s overcome by a strong odour that smells kind of like a mix of soap and coconut…has our hero died and find himself sent to some kind of a Body Shop lovers heaven?  No, it ends up being a cluster of some kind of coconut-like palm seeds dropped from the tree over head and cracked him in the head. Later in the evening a Tanzanian friend lets him know that getting hit by a falling coconut means you have luck coming your way. Lucky him.

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Original date on air: October 25th

Episode Title: I have an O-face gun and I’m not afraid to use it

Episode Summary: After having a (for once) relaxing weekend staying in and around Dar, our heroes have their friends over on a Sunday night. A Canadian friend Shehz returns to Dar for the weekend to join the group and a new game is invented which involves a charcoal barbeque fan “gun” that has magically revealing powers.

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Original date on air: October 30-31st  (Season 1 Finale)

Episode Title: I came to Mikumi for the lions and all I got was this lousy hangover

Episode Summary: Our heroes and their German comrades head away for a weekend roadtrip to a nearby region called Morogoro which houses Mikumi National Park for a safari. Friday night is mostly spent sitting in traffic but it doesn’t harm the party atmosphere in the back of the Land Cruiser. After a Saturday spent searching for lions the group returns that night to a safari camp in the bush and find themselves somehow invited to partake in a most delicious feast of fresh fire roasted lamb and an open bar party on Halloween night. The hostel reservations aren’t used as people catch an hour or two of sleep under the stars, in the car/on the car hood, etc. No lions spotted on Day 2′s safari either…but that might have just been because everyone slept in car the whole day…

The whole Mikumi safari gang in a rare awake moment

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There you have it, the highlighted craziness from the first month and a half of my time in Tanzania as captured in Season 1 episode guide format. Intrigued to hear the full stories? Well, I think we will have to save those for another day when I see you next in person. But I promise, if you stop and ask me to tell you about “the episode where..” I will be happy to share because I  love telling good stories.

A few quick disclaimers:

-This is completely from my point of view and told as episode stories so certainly not representative of everyone’s views & experiences. Some of the episode titles were determined by the group as mentioned above, others are just ones I came up with for this post.

-These episodes highlight the funnier and more ridiculous experiences that we have had thus far in Tanzania – and ones that I feel should really be told –  but we also do plenty of very serious work and are usually  good citizens. Don’t judge me based only only this!

-I refer to us as “our heroes” throughout the episodes. Don’t worry, I don’t actually think of us like this -I just thought it sounded cool and tv-like. Besides, I should probably put in this disclaimer so I don’t get sued or something. “The events depicted in this blog post are  entirely fictitious. Any similarity to any event, places, or person, living or dead, is merely coincidental.” Yes, a hell of a coincidence friends, but now you can’t sue me.

If you do try and sue I will send this fierce Mikumi croc to eat you

Let the fans decide

Is it worth the network re-signing this show for Season 2? If you’re a fan, leave a comment below and I’ll continue the episode guides for Season 2. If not, we will still have just as much fun – I just won’t write about it all here!

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