A Bit of The Blahs…

Riding from Burundi into Tanzania was a rather indifferent experience.  I had decided to skip the more interesting ride down the western border of Tanzania since the rains would have made the roads brutally difficult and then I would just have had to backtrack across the country to meet up with my cousin (a cool young guy with his girlfriend doing the backpacker thing around Africa) in Dar es Salaam.  I was also back in a country used to tourists and so the police were happy to stop you looking for any minor infraction that might elicit a bribe.  But really, I just felt that I had miles to make without much to expect for them: I’d done the safari, I’d climbed a mountain, and I just didn’t see Tanzania as offering much anymore.
As it turns out, I wasn’t far wrong.  The long ride from the border to Dar was a study in ‘been there, done that’.  The same rolling savannah,  the same petty haggling over life’s daily necessities, even the same clumsy attempts at bribes from the innumerous police officers stationed along the road.  Close to Dodoma I got a couple of punctures and stopping for them even followed the sad cliché of spending more time dealing with the locals trying to riffle through your gear than fixing the punctures- the inevitable result being bad patches that had to be fixed again a little further down the road.  By the time I hit Dodoma I was a rather cranky rider.
Dodoma is about as sleepy a city as you could imagine, especially considering its the country’s capital.  It’s also a great place to wash off the road dust- physically and mentally.  I found a great hotel at a good price, a tyre place that could fix my patch blunders in minutes for pennies, and a Chinese restaurant whose szechuan beef was still properly crispy under the sauce.  My short stay did wonders and I left again, full of love for the road and the country.

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