Wow, 5 Weeks in Arusha, Tanzania?

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It’s been over 5 weeks now that I’ve been in Arusha, what? Time has just sort of gone down a funnel and dropped me here, I’m quite glad though as I sip on fresh mango juice from a massive jug. It’s odd how if you spend time anywhere, you develop a routine, meet people and build a life.

Truth be told, I’m still here because I love it here and my friends are beyond hospitable and often out of town. They’re pilots and are often on overnights. Just this week, both my friends are gone for 7 full days, if they were here all the time I”m SURE I’d be getting on their nerves by now, makes sense!?   Either way, the level of hospitality has been world class and I cannot thank them enough. I’m kinda living a weird fantasy dream life as an eccentric man of Howard Hughes caliber. I’ve become a bit of a health freak in some regards as well and spend many an afternoon sipping lemon water while reading a book in the shade with the dogs as company.

Spend my time sleeping in. Eating a healthy breakfast and then getting into town. I stroll around for a while and usually go in this RAW Food place that make shakes and out of this world open sandwiches. The lady who runs it is from Amsterdam and pretty cool to chat with. I then roam the streets telling totes that I live here and I won’t be buying anything but wish them well. Afterward I return home, usually with mango, spinach and broccoli and my friends maid boils it and turns it into a soup. Then she grinds tones of fruits and makes smoothies, life is pretty sweet.

Have been playing golf, working on some things. The golf is great and yesterday had 2 caddies for the first time ever. One to get beers and whatnot while the other reads your putts and takes care of other things. Golfing without a caddy will be like eating a sundae with no chocolate sauce, still dessert but not the same.

Who knew you had to register your sim before you can get 3G!? 3G costs ~$2.16US for 400MB of data, sick, yes? Life is good here but it is certainly fragile. There are certain amenities here that are out of this world and other realities that are best described as “dark” at best. I saw a kid who looked like he was dying of AIDS in a old dirty clothes and a rotten looking cast today, just lying there.

I will note that it has opened my eyes to AIDS… I mean I always knew it was a killer and bad news. You have to be safe etc etc… What I’m getting at is ~1/7 the population has AIDS here, yes? Well I see people everywhere and NOBODY looks deathly sick, which is part of the reason why it is so dangerous, you can’t tell who has it unless you do a blood test. Remember that, people don’t get sick until much later phases and it is most contagious in the beginning of the cycle aka when people still look totally fine. Shocking, really. I was in a dala dala one time with 25 people… Statically speaking 3.5 of them were HIV positive.

Living here is a great example of “What’s important to you”? Certain things here are awesome, other suck, big time. As a guy who is single, no kids and no real worries, it’s good for now. If you had kids, hey… I met some people from Kenya who lived in the UK a while and they moved home. Their daughter broke her nose and for hours no one touched her or helped her until they got consent in the UK. Anyways there are things that get old like the roads, constant power cuts and a generally “lower standard of safety”.

I am shocked at many of the volunteer opportunities. Basically you have to pay to volunteer… It’s like $400 a month for living and food. You stay at a host family for a bit but most then rent a place in town or near it. Often NOT in the best neighborhood and so many of these (typically girls) come here at like 18 without an real clue of how this world is. It’s just “easy pickings” and I really hate to use that expression. They still think everything in this world is butterflies and dandy lion salads, it’s not.

Granted the system here is closer to chaos than anything, life is more open here. Back home you’re micromanaged to death via so many rules that it’s utterly insane. It’s almost impossible NOT to be a criminal in the developed world. There are literally rules for everything developed by people who are scared to live and want to make sure you don’t try. By ensuring safety at all costs, all the time, many nations rob their citizens of a truly “free existence” to live their lives.

I’ll be here a little while longer before making my way to Dar Es Salaam and then Zanzibar. I hear such great things about Zanzibar but when it comes to beaches, I’ve seen so many world class ones already for extended periods, it’s not that big a deal. In mid February there is a massive ~25,000 person music festival in Zanzibar, could be interesting?

This is one of the most interesting stops on this trip. Partially because I am seeing so many sides of living here. On the one part I go around with friends to the swanky places in town to play golf, have dinner, drinks, lunch, whatever. Other half of the time I’m on public transport or moto-taxi guy and instead of driving through downtown core with windows up and locked, I’m walking around freely. I like being part of the background or noise to some extent. I feel that my time here has given me a rare view of both sides. The thought of being a random backpacker around here is NOT SO INTRIGUING.

Africa is Africa, love it or hate it, live it or leave it.

Tips hat,

P.S: I find it funny how people fly here from all over the world to do a safari in a land cruiser and then sleep in a 5 star luxury lodge. Not that they come, that’ s cool and a great experience. Just why do you need to dress like you’re going on safari in 1800’s as a settler? It’s mind boggling.

P.P.S: All photos from iphone and stretched to fit. Keeping file sizes small here for multiple reasons. I have others I’ll upload later as they are on a SD card that is failing to read and I’ve spent too much time already on this blog. Time to focus on areas that actually, you know, earn money!?

Author: Sportestery

8 thoughts on “Wow, 5 Weeks in Arusha, Tanzania?

  1. Wow! What an amazing experience you’re having. I’d love to go to Arusha some day. Good to know it’s not a backpacker friendly area. Certainly sounds like a place you need research thoroughly and choose your accommodations and location wisely. I look forward to hearing more!

    1. There are backpackers here and most would say no problem. It isn’t a problem just it’s not SE Asia or Europe, by an stretch of the imagination.

  2. Wow Rob. Would have never imagined that Arusha looked like that. Sweet photos and good luck on your future travels to Zanzibar!

  3. Obviously enjoying yourself if you’ve been there for 5 weeks – hope your golf handicap has improved! 😉

    Am coming to Africa in October this year and Arusha was on the list. For backpackers, is it more of a stopover on their way to the Serengeti / Crater, or does it offer a bit more than that?

    1. I’d say more of a stop over. A lot of overlanders come here. I do know of a hostel backpacker place called Masai Camp but it’s not in town, at least a 20 min walk or something. I’d say more of a stop over to get to the Safari.

  4. Haha please get a photo of one of these safari outfits from the 1800s. I’m just imagining everyone in those beige shirts and shorts…

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