Sunday, May 30, 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

The hot topic of the week is: how to get to Dar es Salaam.

Of all the places the Korean volunteers get dispatched to, Mtwara is notorious for providing the tough life.  Infrequent water, electricity, and the lack of things to do have made Dar es Salaam the second home for past Mtwara volunteers.  As the student vacation approaches, we are all planning to head to our second home.  Some are physically ill, all are mentally ill, and some just want to have a dang shower.

The problem is that the KOICA office has now designated Mtwara an unsafe place to travel, and thus, all bus transportation between Dar es Salaam and Mtwara is prohibited.  The decision is in fact rather just, as it takes 15+ hours to cover just 450 km after rain.  Sometimes, a bus gets stuck in the muddy road, and the passengers have to spend the night until something larger comes along to pull the bus out of the ditch.

Here are some of the options that we've discussed so far:

1. Take the plane (expensive, but the most likely option)

2. Go up to Kilwa, then take a boat to Mafia, and then to Dar.  It'll take two days, but at least you'll visit the hotspots of the "Swahili Coast," or whatever.

3. Go to Songea via Tunduru, and then take a bus to Dar.  It'll take two days as well, but the cheapest legal option.  It's also a rather stupid idea.

4. Ask a lift on a cargo boat.

5. Email a cruise ship company to plead our case, and hope it drops by Mtwara port on its way to Dar es Salaam / Zanzibar.

6. Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

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