mambo ? poa !

14 April 2010

Smaller, quicker posts will be on picasa and twitter. The density of events and experiences makes it tricky: I'll try to hit just a few the nails on the head and not bore you with my endless attempts to take pictures of geckos. Soon there will be Rhinos and Elephants and I'll probably forget all about the geckos.

I'm in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, preparing to take off on the road. Look at this:

It goes on like that for thousands of miles, turning into desert as hit the west coast and the kalahari.

Paul has stayed at this campsite / guesthouse for months at a time, so we're immediately at home with friends and connections. We drive through the town at night helping Issa find some late night fish for his wife, we spent yesterday with Paul's football team. Too much to tell, check the picture stream and comments.

We are directly next to where Livingstone first landed and set off into the African continent. He campaigned to end the slave trade in Africa, was a legend in the English and American press and ended his days by Lake Victoria in the far west of Tanzania. Throughout southern Africa he's honored with towns and statues. A reporter travelled 9 months from the coast, losing several hundred men to desertion and death and finally found Livingstone living in a village whereupon he swallowed his emotions and uttered the famous line: "Dr. Livingstone I presume ?" We'll be covering that distance in a few days in our Toyota, with 70s Afrobeat and Burning Spear wafting out of our mobile sound system and a few beers in the fridge.

This is also the primary exit point for terrified slaves leaving the continent in the East African slave trade (Arabs). In this very idyllic field of palm trees, WiFi and excellent food, this is the property where slaves were sold before boarding the ships.  Africa will do this a lot: present painful contrasts in the past and the present. (correction: its not necessarily this field, but the then again the Arabs were bringing slaves out since the 1st century)

Now its visited by Tanzanian officials on holiday (sitting a table away from me now), researchers at the neighboring Malaria research hospital (they are testing a final stage vaccination !) and some campers like us. Its going progressively upscale. The mosque is a bit loud, but the old guy this morning was a pretty good singer.

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