Dar es Salaam to Malaga
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam was an experience not to be missed for these two weary travellers. Dar is an African super-city. It is huge, bustling and busy, and massively, massively interesting. Perched on the last bit of land this side of Zanzibar, in the space of a short walk, it can feel like the Caribbean, India, the Middle East, or of course, lots of other African cities such as Kampala etc. It has streetlights, a lot of electricity, and lots of sophisticated, great food.
We were based in an Indian quarter and it reminded us greatly of Kathmandu…it even smelled like Kathmandu. Just the thing for sinuses filled with dust!
We had freedom to walk around at night and sample local food and street life. Something we had missed a lot in Malawi. It felt safe and familiar.
Nevertheless, we had some work to do in preparation for Europe. We tried to get bike boxes, but had no luck. In a city this size, not a single box could we find. Also, it appears that there is no culture in Dar of corruption, so our normal approach of financial incentives, had zero effect here.
Eventually, while I stripped the bikes down, Annette got a load of cardboard from a furniture shop, and in true Blue Peter fashion, we set about building bike boxes out of tape and cardboard. The results were surprisingly good.
Actually, on reflection, they were surprisingly just about scraping “not terrible.”…just!
We celebrated with a good old Nepali Dhal Bhat, and deliberately stopped worrying about whether our boxes would be too obviously home-made to pass the eagle eyed scrutineers of Kenyan Airways.
The flight we thought we had booked with KLM, and they just booked us on random flights was appalling. The food was the worst we have ever had in all of our years of international commuting between three continents. The service was even worse. We would ask for things and the staff would just ignore us. It was a shocker!
When we got to France, we were booked on an airline we have never heard of and on arrival at Malaga we saw our luggage being unloaded, and looked on with horror as the bikes were thrown onto a trolley and loads of suitcases thrown on the top of them. when we got to baggage reclaim, Annette’s luggage was still in Paris. To cut a long story short – the bikes were badly beaten up, as was Annette’s luggage when we got it the next morning.
There was too much to list that was bashed about, and working late into the night, I managed to get Annette’s bik on the road, but mine was touch and go whether the frame was too badly damaged to fix.
Nervously, we took it to a local bike shop in Malaga, HG bikes (Hilario Gomez). At first they said “no possible,” after we explained what we were doing, they said that they would give it a shot but at our own risk. We had no choices – it was a shit or bust situation and of course we were happy for him to do what it takes.
A few hours later, we had success!
A big shout out to HG, they did a great job, and charged us very little…we were delighted. We headed for the food supermarket, took a feast back to the hotel, and packed up our kit ready for an early departure at first light.
We were very sorry we didn't get time to look around Malaga; it looked very beautiful. But that is the nature of a trip such as this one, the plans don't hold together for too long.