Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Dar es Salaam Driving Experience: In Pictures

It really is only about 10-15 miles to downtown from our house, and thus everywhere we need to go.  But bad roads, lots of traffic, non-working stop lights, and various other adventures mean that we spend a lot of time in the car when we go out.  On a recent loooong trip home with lots of traffic, I documented the journey in pictures.  So here we go:  A Dar es Salaam driving slice of life.

This is a fun part of the driving experience:  Numerous vendors that sell stuff to you while you are in traffic or at a stop light.  This guy is selling cashews. 

This guy is selling tangerines.  Other common items for sale:  gum, hankies, phone cards, toys, pillows, hangers, large maps of Tanzania, coat racks, mosquito zappers, and fire extinguishers.

However, this was the very first time we had ever seen someone sell guinea pigs to people in cars at a stop light.  It was this picture that got me started on my picture-taking spree that day.  However, as unique as this was, just a couple days later I saw something even more amazing:  a guy trying to sell a small fish tank, filled with water and fish, balanced on his head!  When you realize that these guys have just a few minutes (or less) to make their sale, it's pretty crazy to think that someone would buy a fish tank that way.  I would love to know if he sold it!

During rush hour, traffic police (center in white) often take over guiding the intersections.  This was important to learn when we first came to Tanzania, because when this happens, they don't turn off the traffic light.  So that means that when you come to an intersection, you have to first look for an officer before you look at the traffic light...or else have disastrous consequences!  (i.e. The traffic light could be green but if the officer says to stop, you'd better stop!)

One of many taxi stands.  Taxis are always white.

These kind of carts join the cars on the road.  The traffic was bad that day, so this guy passed us quite a few times as we inched up the road.

One of hundreds of cell phone service billboards

Piles of trash left behind by flooding water.

Potholes left behind by flooding water.

Our kids point out these bikes to us every time we pass them.  Hmmm...wonder why???

You can see on the far right that this is a rain gutter...filled to the brim.

In the past couple of years, Dar es Salaam roads have become infested with these little buggers.  They are a form of taxi, electrically run, and can go about as fast as a golf cart.  It's a pain to get stuck behind one, they are hard to see, and do all kinds of dangerous things like drive on the sidewalk.  Ack!  Can you tell they drive me crazy?  (Pun intended)

The "dolla-dolla"--classic form of Dar es Salaam public transportation.  They also drive on the sidewalks, but at least they are easier to see.

You can't really tell from this picture, but this part of the road was completely washed out by the rain, causing traffic jams for miles.  Thankfully, they have now begun to repair it!  Oh happy day!

People often say that the things that are hardest about life in Dar are the heat, the electricity, and the roads.  I think we would agree.
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