Africa – nature’s bounty!

Oh, this is really a beautiful country! In Africa today – Alyona and I landed in Nairobi early morning and quickly caught the flight to Dar-es-Salaam, formerly known as Mzizima. It’s the largest city in Tanzania. The weather is so much like Mumbai’s – humid! Anyway, we were welcomed with a small performance at the airport after which we reached the hotel, rested and got ready for the day, post lunch.
Got a chance to explore the city starting from the Forodhani Gardens, also known as Jubilee Gardens and more recently as the Forodhani Park. The gardens are located along the main sea walk of Stone Town, just in front of the most famous buildings the House of Wonders and the Old Fort. It was crowded no doubt, as I was told, that as the sun sets, street food does brisk business and people actually lay out blankets and enjoy their meals. The air was already filled with freshly grilled fish and lobster, even sweet potatoes and cassava – I actually saw kebabs with chapattis selling like hot cakes from one vendor.
If this was leisurely, then the rest was rushed! Next destination – the Askari Monument. This is a memorial made in the honour of the Askari soldiers who fought in the British Carrier Corps in World War I. It is located at the centre of roundabout between Samora Avenue and Maktaba Street, a place that reportedly also marks the exact centre of downtown Dar. The British sculptor James Alexander Stevenson realized “The Askari”, a bronze statue of a soldier which is the main feature of this place.
Sight seeing continued. Next in line was The Dar-es-Salaam National Museum located in Shabban Robert Street, next to the Botanical Gardens. Originally a memorial museum dedicated to King George V, this museum was established in 1934 and had been open to the public since 1940. One of the vintage cars of the King is still on display alongwith a small special collection in the plaza between the main buildings, including the Rolls Royce which was first used by the British colonial government and later by Julius Nyerere and the original East African Community Mercedes Benz.
The day passed by in visiting these historic places and getting to know and taste the local foods. The evening that followed had a special live cooking demonstration as a part of the Fund Raising Dinner for the Tanzania Heart Babies Project organised by the Lions Club of Dar es Salaam. This project is pioneered by Dr. Kanabar and is conducted under the umbrella of the Lions Club of Dar es Salaam and Regency Medical Centre and is the noble initiative to treat children who are born with congenital heart defects in Tanzania. Till date, over 1300 children have been successfully operated upon, which is a great achievement and I would like to thank the Lions Club, Dar es Salaam for letting me do my bit for this humanitarian cause. All in all, was a great day!
Day 2, that is today, has begun really early! Time for only a quick breakfast as we are going to see the Fish Market –   see the much heard about fish auction in person!  Pretty excited about the whole thing as I’m going to witness something really unusual – only heard about this place and now I will be witness to the action. Then proceeding to Kariakoo Market – a lively, colourful and authentic market where the local people of Dar buy what they need for their daily use –  kitchenware, utensils, electrical goods, baskets, food, etc.  Also in my plan is a visit to Mama Lishye, Artisan Village…and then back to the hotel for our meals…
Back in Zanzibar on Wednesday, where I wish to catch fish from a dhow and also see the Ngorongoro Crater. As of now, this is it – more will be coming as and how I discover this multifaceted, stunning and mystic land!
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

 

 

 

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