Saturday, 17 November 2012

A proper basi

Friday November 16th

I rose at 5am this morning, in Tanga, as I had purchased a ticket on the ‘Simba Mtoto’ high class coach that left at 6am.  I did approach this with a little trepidation as I had ‘googled’ Simba Mtoto, earlier in the week, to see if I could find a telephone number and the top two entries on the Internet were both from news reports.  One was 24th July 2012 and was headed ‘Dar Express and Simba Mtoto collide face to face’, and the other from 28th August 2011 headed ‘Five killed and several injured as bus hits lorry and overturns’  as an old hand now on the Tanga Dar run, I could well understand both incidents as the rules of the road as I understand them don’t really apply over here.

In fact, after Bob, bless him, had got up to run me to the bus stands for 5:45 am, I boarded the bus from heaven.  It cost 120p more than the standard fare but for this you got A/C, curtains at the windows, reclining seats, TV at front and also half way down the bus and, wait for it, the best of all, after people were seated and had stowed their luggage in the overhead lockers, the person in the aisle seat could press a button and their seat moved sideways about 10cm to create a gap between the two seats.  And to assuage my fears, there were seat belts on all seats.  

After an uneventful journey, I arrived well rested at Ubungo at 11:30 am to find the reliable Karim ready to whisk me sway from the maddening hoards.  I had planned to go back on Shillingi tomorrow, but on finding that Simba do a coach going  the other way at 6:00 am from Dar, I booked a ticket and will, if necessary, mooch around in Tanga for two or three hours and catch the Shillingi from there, when it catches up.

The clinic were as efficient and professional as last time with my blood test so I was in and out in 20 minutes and Karim took me to the hotel.  When I arrived to find the hotel bar, ‘The Oldies’ you might remember is now the ‘Past Onnies” as it is in the process of being demolished, in fact the ‘bed sheet’ big screen was one of the few things left standing.

Lack of electricity and internet had meant that I was way behind with everything so I found an Internet café and added the sparse entries for the last two days.  I did have a bit of a problem with my blog because Netscape Navigator was not one of its supported browsers!!  For those not in the know, that's the same as switching on TV and finding that Coronation Street has Ena Sharples in it.

 A lonely meal at a local Chinese restaurant on my ‘Jack Jones’ and an early night with another 4 am start to get to Ubungo on time in the morning.


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