Sunday, 29th July The End?

Woke up at 7:30am as we had told everyone to meet in the lobby for breakfast at 8:00am. We were going to enjoy this last breakfast together before heading back to the airport in Dar at 10:00am.  The bus driver had advised us that the journey would take about 3 hours and while our flight wasn’t until 5:20pm, Jackie had indicated 3 hours from Morogoro to Dar at that time of day seemed a stretch, so we had opted for 10am instead of 11am – much to the annoyance of everyone bar the over 20’s.

Breakfast was a repeat of the evening before.  Did anyone ever stay at the Kingsway?  If they did, where were they?  Here we were again, being fawned over by the head waiter and an army of staff who had prepared everything from juices and cornflakes to pasta, potatoes, sausages, eggs anyway you want them – you name it.  They even gave Dan a guided tour of the buffet!

Recommendations? Don’t go for the Baobab juice – tastes… uncomfortable.  Africaf coffee is not bad for an instant.  The bread was nice, the eggs are nice.  Sausages… probably not; and while you can get at breakfast the same chili side salad as we got at dinner, at this time in the morning I would avoid – probably hotter than the showers (eh, Dan)!  Also, don’t ask Thomas how to operate the toaster- while he may be able to do your accounts or work out a pension contribution for you based on a series of lifestyle factors – the kind of commonsense it takes to operate a 1970’s toaster with wind up timer is beyond the poor chap!  Technology-wise it’s probably worthwhile to appreciate the gadgets you have now, because one of tomorrows engineers came back to the table with untoasted bread also (what do you think, Zara?)

We checked out, had a team photo and got on our bus at 10:15am and off we went hoping that the journey didn’t take 3 hours as sitting around Julius Nyerere International Airport for 4 hours could get old really quickly.  It was put to me that the weather in Tanzania seems to be broken, as the last two days had been cloudy and here in Morogoro its raining!  Morogoro however is in the hills and the fields here do appear a lot greener than back in Dodoma, so maybe it’s a local climatic variation.  Back onto the single lane road that is Tanzania’s main artery, with its insane drivers and more 50km per hour sections bordering villages than is good for anyone’s nerves. 

We stopped 120km from Dar Es Salaam at the same service station as on our journey to Dodoma a fortnight ago.  I went again for the huge scone cum rock cake I did on the way to Dodoma and a coffee.  20 mins on, the coffee’s gone and I’m still only halfway through this monster!  Its now 12noon and we’re thinking it was as well to have taken Jackies advice.  Our latest prediction is between 2pm and 2:30pm arrival at the airport. 

2:30pm and we are in a traffic jam on the outskirts of Dar.  We are now thinking its going to be tight enough to get the flight and if we hadn’t taken Jackies advice, it would be 3:30pm and we’d be panicking.  However, the concern to my left is not making the flight but a more pressing matter of making the toilet!

A seemingly endless crawl through the suburbs behind large container lorries or fuel trucks (seems like everyother vehicle in Tanzania is a petrol tanker) and its now 3:00pm and situation critical. When asked to reach me the bin in the footwell in front of his seat and my companion to my left indicates that movement is impossible in his current state!  We reach another roadworks just before the turn for the airport which from the information sign was paid for from aid received from the people of Japan.  On the left I hear that “He wished the people of Japan would have decided to build their flyover on a different day!”.  There is a ginger beer bottle being eyed up with the sort of dismay that resorting to this means of relief would present but that it may be the lesser of two evils.  3:15pm and we are eventually at the airport – or rather at the queue at the entrance of the car park.  Is this the cruel twist in the tale?  Could the promised land be viewed but not reached?

We did eventually get to the terminal at 3:30pm – 5 ½ hours after we started.  Relief all around (yes – I did mean that!).  We did get through the vagaries of Tanzanian security, check in and passport control and got to the gate in time:  4:20pm for our 5:20pm flight.

Boarding the plane for our 6 hour flight and there is a howl of complaint as everyone sees we don’t have seatback monitors. What we will do?  Talk to each other?  Surely not?  Doesn’t matter to me,  I’ve got this to write….  Goodbye Tanzania!  Will I see you again?

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