Saturday, January 4, 2014

First full day in Tanzania

All of our first full day in Tanzania was spent in Dar es Salaam. We eased into the day, taking into account the jet lag we were all experiencing. Highlights of the day included meeting our Tanzania drilling specialist, the carver's market (well-known for its beautiful ebony carvings), and dinner at a nice restaurant in Dar, on the shore of the Indian Ocean.
by Philip Gaffney

All of our first full day in Tanzania was spent in Dar es Salaam. We eased into the day, taking into account the jet lag we were all experiencing. The schedule for the day started by meeting our Tanzania drilling specialist, Castor. Castor was supposed to meet us at our hotel, the Wistor Chalet, to take us to a number of suppliers and show us some of the equipment that he used. This meeting was supposed to start at 10 a.m. but didn't take place until about 10:45 am because of traffic that slowed Castor down. Traffic, as you will see, is a trend of the day.


After Castor arrived, we all got into our tour bus and headed to a pipe and pump distributor in the city. Because of the heavy traffic, it took us about 2 hours to get to the distributor. At the distributor we were able view different kinds of piping, wiring, and pumps that would need to be used if we were drilling to put in a submersible pump.


From the distributor, we intended to go to Castor's office in Dar to look at some more equipment. Because of traffic, we decided to skip this in favor of lunch. Lunch was eaten at a local place and was served to us buffet style. The meal consisted of cooked rice, roasted goat and fish, potatoes, and a corn mash called ugali. All of the food was quite good.

Tanzania traffic.JPG

From lunch we headed back into traffic and eventually made it to the carver's market. The carver's market is well-known for its beautiful ebony carvings. Carvings ranged from small animals to masks to large sculptures and everything in between. The carvings lived up to the hype, but the experience of the salesmen was tiring. To their credit, the salesmen were very persistent. They really wanted to sell their product. I literally was pulled into stores so that I would be able to see the carvings, even if I had no interest at all in seeing them. Transactions were done by bartering prices and it seemed that the salesmen always started at ridiculously high prices. The salesmen definitely had their salesmen scripts and strategies down and were not above talking about their poor families and their need to eat. These guys, however, were not malevolent. They did need to put food on their plates and take care of their families. I personally found the situations kind of confusing because I wanted to help the artisans, but I also did not want to be taken advantage of.


The result of the bartering was that the things that most people bought were purchased at a significantly reduced price from the original offers. The hope is that the artisans still made a good amount of money.


Dinner was eaten at a nice restaurant in Dar, on the shore of the Indian Ocean. Meals were ordered individually. I had seafood kabobs with calamari, tuna, and shrimp with some french fries and salad on the side. We then returned home and went to bed shortly after to try and recover from our jet lag some more.


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