It's a two day safari getting to Dar. Just before arriving, all passengers
were given an "Ebola Health Form" to fill out to determine if anyone had Ebola like symptoms. According to this form, I was exhibiting 2 of the 7 early symptoms - coughing (which is normal for me) and nausea (my stomach revolts when a descending plane experiences turbulence and increasing heat). The bottom section of the form for "official use only" had 4 categories - healthy, suspicious, victim under surveillance, put under isolation. The fear of falling into one of the last 3 categories resulted in an instant recovery and all boxes on my form were firmly checked no! Julius Nyerere airport was eerily quiet. Hardly a tourist in sight. The fear of this deadly virus has stretched it's frightening tentacles across this vast continent.
It is always a huge relief to finally land in Dar, run the gauntlet through immigration and customs, retrieve our voluminous luggage and walk through the opening karibu (welcome) doors into a balmy Tanzanian night. Welcoming Tanzanians were leaning against the barrier holding up signs with people's names in bold print. We quickly located our names and after piling our luggage into our hotel's van, the driver walked away for several minutes leaving the car and us stranded in the middle of the road. No problem, he eventually returned and drove us to the Sea Cliff hotel in record time!
After sitting outside and enjoying the tropical evening air and a Kilimanjaro beer, we finally retired to our room where I discovered my backpack containing a camera and computer missing. Panic attack! In the wee hours of this morning the front desk hotel staff calmly retrieved the information from my jet lagged brain and together we discovered where I had last seen my pack. The hotel driver was called and sure enough it was still on the van's back seat! Later in the morning this very grateful traveller had her backpack returned to her by a thoughtful and very honest driver.
After a delicious tropical breakfast beside the shores of the Indian Ocean we walked to a nearby shop to purchase sim cards and phone time for our Tanzanian phones. The sky suddenly darkened and a tropical rainstorm ensued with walkways and roads quickly becoming streams and rivers. By the time we left the shop the water was almost ankle deep. Taking off our shoes, we made a dash for the hotel entering soaking wet and barefooted.
A delicious curry lunch gave us energy to shop for local materials for the sewing and craft school in Mufindi. Then back to the hotel for dinner - another spectacular curry.
Our first 24 hours in Tanzania left us wondering what's next!