Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tanzania 2011, Day 1

I'm sitting here in my room at the Southern Sun Hotel and although Dar es Salaam sits at sea level not far south of the equator, I can't help shivering a little. The shivering is no doubt a result of sitting 9+ hours on an overly air conditioned airplane followed by a 20 minute ride in an overly air conditioned taxi, followed by an aggressively air conditioned hotel room. Perhaps the tiredness doesn't help either. So just as soon as the bellhop left I found the air conditioning controls, turned the temperature dial up & the fan down and waited for things to warm up a bit. When they didn't, of course I started looking for the heater. No heater, no heater whatsoever anywhere in the room...

Ah. Of course, with a location like this, who (besides me) needs a heater?

So instead I have made myself a cup of tea & wrapped a big bath towel around my shoulders & gradually I am warming up a little.

This is my second time in Tanzania & because I was here just a year ago, things don't seem nearly so strange nor exotic this time. The the city scent, the right-hand drive, the traffic congestion, the swahili signs, music out on the sidewalk outside my window, even the bellhops at the hotel all seem vaguely familiar. Our work, however, will be different this time: last year we were conducting some fairly straightforward workshops related to competency-based training & curriculum development, while this year's assignment is related to the establishment of digital libraries, computer labs, and distance learning. At this point it's still rather vague so we must plan without a plan & feel our way around until we understand the specifics.

But not tonight; after 20 hours of solid flying we are TIRED. I had hoped to get on the internet tonight to simply check email & post this entry before heading for bed but I don't think that's going to work. The wifi indicator shows a strong signal but the laptop can't do anything beyond telling me that there's 'little or no connectivity'. I should have guessed when the hotel staff gave me the internet access information & I noticed that the wifi password is "Pole" (swahili word for 'slow').

So I will have a quick shower (a HOT one), pull up all the covers & climb into bed.

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