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#firstworldproblems in a third world country

February 15, 2013

This has been my bathroom while in Dar. Actually, the first night, I had a different room, but it looked the same. That room had an issue with water drainage which is not good when your “tub” is also your bathroom floor!

See that thing attached to the shower head? Yeah, it’s a hot water heater. I was relieved to see that when I checked out the space before booking my room. I didn’t, however, test it out. This thing has two settings — ice cold or 3rd-degree-burn-hot. And there’s little water pressure. I spend my time showering turning the knob back and forth frequently and trying to catch the water when it’s moving from hot to cold or vice versa. Never a dull moment in Africa — strategic showering included! 🙂

Oh, and it smells something awful in there. Not a “bathroom” smell at all. The strangest lingering smell I’ve ever smelt! Imagine rotting ginger. That’s the closest I’ve been able to come to explaining it. It’s bizarre.

I had a long day out with the team yesterday so I decided to stay at the hotel last night. A few days ago I picked up peanut butter, jelly, and bread. The bread is a bit gross and I refuse to ruin my impression of the greatest sandwich on Earth. Therefore, I’m having a more literal pb&j by dipping my fork (because they were the cheapest cutlery item available) in the peanut butter, licking it clean, and then doing the same with the jelly (red plum jam, actually. In a can, not a jar). You’re welcome for that visual! If detritus from one of the two items ending up in the other’s container didn’t totally disgust me I would dip them together. Alas, I still love a good pb&j combo, so all is well.

Yesterday I bought myself a Tanzanian soccer jersey. I had my backpack on and camera around my neck and was sweating more than I ever have in my life, so rather than attempt to try the jersey on over my shirt, I took everyone’s word that it would fit. I was skeptical and for good reason. Yeah, pretty sure this thing was made for a child. And they don’t really do returns in Tanzania, so I’m likely stuck with it!

After dropping the tour participants off at their hotel in the city center we made our way back to the office. What took 20 minutes the day I arrived from the airport took close to an hour and a half yesterday! Traffic in this town is insane. Seriously, we couldn’t have driven more than 10 miles. At one point, the driver immediately turned his car off after pulling up to a stoplight, suggesting that he knew how long we’d be sitting there!

Just a few recent examples of life in Africa!

And just because I want a better record of this than on my FB timeline (where it will be lost in a matter of days), this conversation took place last night with my bajaj driver:

Me: Can you pick me up at 9 tomorrow morning?
A: I will. How was your day?
Me: Good. Was with Investours all day
A: I saw you
Me. Oh yea? Sorry I missed you
A: I miss you too

Since his English is a bit limited I’m thinking I have to be more careful with my word choice! Today he asked to get my email address before I leave and was sad to hear that my luggage won’t fit in his bajaj so I will have to find another mode of transport to the airport!

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