Thursday, May 21, 2009


In a country where sixty hour work weeks are the norm, Sundays are the faint, but comforting light the horizon. One glorious morning to stay in bed until noon, eat a quiet breakfast on the terrace, or, on the more ambitious days, run away to one of the fantastically convenient islands that pepper the Dar es Salaam coast. For the bargain price of 18,000 shillings (16$ American), it’s a short ride on a ramshackle blue and white fishing boat (seaworthy, so long as you ignore the suspicious clouds of smoke that occasionally escape from the engine room) to an isolated stretch of unspoiled beach. It’s a chaperone-free haven where you can collapse underneath a grass-roofed hut and forget your frustrations (western standards, merciless schedules, and family politics aren’t allowed on the island).
It wasn’t a particularly sunny afternoon, but the tides were high and there’s always a fantastic collection of disposable treasures to be found washed up on shore. It’s strangely wholesome that the sea spits back everything that doesn’t belong – including Huggies wrappers and green bell peppers.
With marginally violent swells ripping up the shallows, we spent most of our afternoon sweating it out in the sand and frequenting the tiki-style, ant-infested canteen for drinks and fried food (they specialize in chips and freshly skewered and grilled seafood). It’s may not sound like the most thrilling way to pass a weekend, but the sun, sea, and a stereo, are good enough for me.

Next year’s Christmas decorations:

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