Few photos remain from the final days in Tanzania because I lost my phone on the way back to Vietnam
Joakim and I woke up at roughly the same time and we made coffee with Jonas’ french press. Mikyong had already departed for her offices and left us gentlemen to our own devices. We sat at their beautiful living room table with a large window open to their private view of the beach, and we drank coffee. Jonas, who would go to work in the afternoon, and so he walked us to a swanky Lebanese cafe in his neighborhood. The place had a lush green patio decorated with young black and white professionals working on their laptops and reading. The peninsula that Jonas lives on, Masaki, it very fancy, gated, and beautiful enclave.
After Jonas left for work by Uber, Joakim and I Ubered downtown to the National Museum, which like many public institutions was underwhelming. It was cool to see the maps and photos that chronicle Tanzania and Zanzibar’s history.
I learned something interesting from the museum exhibits about the Arabs who settled on Zanzibar and used the island like a parasite to poach slaves from mainland Africa. The Arabs sold the Africans to the Europeans and made Zanzibar wealthy doing so. The next part that interested me was photos of white colonialists having their bags carried by African porters. Seeing this stung me a bit. The mostly-white Kilimanjaro hikers, myself included, also had African porters carrying their/my bags. A photo of Tanzania’s first president visiting Chairman Mao and another photo of a Chinese Development Project from the 1960s intentionally emphasized the long relationship between Tanzania and China.
The museum also had a USAID-funded memorial to the 1998 terrorist bombings at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. It was interesting to imagine what a menace Al Qaeda was in the late 1990s and how minor it is now.
After the Museum, Joakim and I walked for twenty minutes around downtown Dar. We were briefly bothered by some panhandlers posing as down on their luck artists. We decided you Uber to the grocery store near Jonas’ house in Masaki and buy some wine and snacks for a dinner Jonas and Mikyung were hosting that evening. After a long ass ride in traffic, we arrived at the large import grocery to buy some breakfast foods, drinks for dinner, and some snacks. I bought Mikyung a set of hair ties because she mentioned that it was so difficult for them to get them in Tanzania, because Africans didn’t regularly use those common elastic hair ties. When I eventually gave the hair ties to Mikyung she laughed. She had struggled with her health and patiently put up with an awful lot of my curiosities throughout the trip. So I was happy to make her laugh. After shopping Joakim and I hailed an auto rickshaw via Uber from the grocery store back to Jonas’ house.
With a few hours before Jonas and Mikyung would return from work Joakim and I sat at their private beach, had some drinks and snacks, and looked at the bay. We briefly spoke to a Swiss woman who was walking her dog on the beach…. ok, you can tell we were staying in an expat colony.
Jonas and Mikyung returned from work and each brought a colleague with them. Fia was another Swedish woman working with Jonas and Lily another Korean woman working with Mikyung. The six of us talked and had delivery pizza in the living room. It was interesting to hear about how they each settled into their temporary lives in Dar es Salaam. As the evening wore on Jonas started unpacking his shipment of things from Thailand that finally arrived after four months of bouncing between ports in Asia and the Middle East. It was interesting to see him place pieces of his Thailand apartment around his new house in Masaki. Some of the things he unpacked were books and cards I had given him. He even unpacked a card game I had played with him at my farewell party and again when Brandon, Trinh and I visited him in August 2018. Joakim and I played and sang from stupid pop songs with the that drifted around the house ukulele and then we went to bed.