Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My City

It's taken a long time for this sprawling city of 4 million people to feel like "my" city. Don't get me wrong; Tanzania felt like home after our first term here, but the city itself intimidated me. Very few street signs, driving on the "wrong" side of the road, very little traffic-law enforcement (which leads to chaos most of the time), huge diversity in economic levels, cows and goats mingled in with millions of people. It really wasn't until the last couple of years, when I was forced to drive to all sorts of unusual places in order to adopt Grace that I really started feeling comfortable driving in this city. They say you come to a point when living overseas of reaching a "new normal." I think I have finally come to that point.

Downtown traffic

A main market

Dar es Salaam is 70% Muslim

Bicycles are not recreational here! They are a means of work--and it's amazing what is carried on the back of a bicycle! Every morning you see guys with their bicycles stacked with bread, as in this picture. Even more amazing are the guys who carry about 30 dozen eggs on the back of a bicycle!

A common sight

The most common form of transportation for most Tanzanians--the "dolla dolla." One of these buses can take 50 or more people during rush hour, and there are thousands of dolla-dollas in the city. It costs about 30 cents to get to town.

Just for clarification--we live more on the outskirts of the city, just a few mintues away from HOPAC. I guess you could call us the "suberbs"--but it's a far cry from California suberbs!
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