Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Journey and Arrival

Hello, and welcome to my blog on my Tanzanian adventure! This post has been a long time coming, but the pace of life is slower here in Tanzania… so when you factor that in PLUS the time difference between here and Canada, this post may actually be right on time…

As far as I can remember, the trek to Mwanza, Tanzania from Toronto was long. The first stretch was a redeye from Toronto to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, Victoria and I decided to head into the city and check things out because we had a 7-hour layover. We actually managed to get on the correct train into the city and we were able to explore for a few hours. We asked a lady at the station where we could find a map of the city so we wouldn’t get lost, but all she said was, “no maps.” About 2 minutes later we found a huge map. 

abnormally large map

 I assume this was foreshadowing for the more prominent language barrier awaiting me in Tanzania.

Amsterdam has so many bicycles it’s extreme. "Baiskeli sana."

bike sana

 In Amsterdam, we wandered around, took some photos, got some food and a Heineken, and found the train back to the airport.  

sunny Amsterdam

Next, we boarded our flight to Mwanza! After watching the same 10 minute video about Tanzania on repeat for at least 7 times, the flight attendants put in Just for Laughs Gags and I thought it was funny that a show from Quebec had made it all the way to Tanzania.  

Mwanza from above (I think...)

The first thing I noticed as I got off the plane in Mwanza was that I was no longer in Canada. The second thing was that it was really hot. The airport was really small and crammed and its layout didn’t make sense to me. People would just start walking away with my luggage and if I tried to carry it myself I’d get yelled at in Swahili. At first, I thought this was due to security measures, but I soon found out that they thought they could get money from me if they would wheel my luggage 20 feet from place to place. I think at one point there was a swarm of 6 people around Victoria and I, all trying to get in on the action! Fortunately, we found Missy as soon as we got outside and we were on our way.  

The taxi ride from the airport into the city was probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced. I think this was my moment of ‘culture shock’ and it was probably a combination of getting hassled at the airport in a strange language, being really hot, not having slept for the past couple days and seeing a scenery so very different than Canada. People were walking everywhere (not on sidewalks). Horns were blaring. People were yelling things into megaphones. Trucks were driving by with 1000 Watt speakers strapped to the roof pumping music into the streets. People were selling stuff all along the roadside. There weren't well-defined traffic lanes. Coco Cola had seemingly taken over the entire city with advertisements. Kids were running around everywhere. People were staring. 

Nonetheless, after arriving at the apartment, that spell of shock was over and I felt at home. 



  1. Yeah I can definitely relate to the initial shock of arriving in an African country! so different.. glad you recognized you were no longer in Canada too though lol

  2. Interesting to hear your arrival story and adjustment... it brings back my initial feelings. Get well soon and adopt a Deet cologn!