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Dar: Fond memories of bewitching ‘Sin City’

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Namtih58, May 11, 2009.

  1. N

    Namtih58 JF-Expert Member

    May 11, 2009
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
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    It has been stated that it is easy to get into Mombasa but difficult to get out on account of the allure of life there. But *Nick, an NGO worker recently returned from Dar es Salaam, thinks this statement is overrated.

    Compared to Dar, he swears, Mombasa is kid stuff. "It is near impossible to get out of Dar," he says. "It has a magical spell that is irresistible. It mesmerises foreigners until they forget where they came from."

    He counts the many men he saw irredeemably going round the romantic bend with local women in the two years he sojourned there.

    Many male visitors to Tanzania are torn by a desire to leave and an even stronger urge to remain. [Photos: Jennifer Wachie/Standard, posed by model]
    Nick attributes this to the unpretentious attitude of Tanzanians who make it their business to mind other people’s welfare with their undugu concern. "The city also has the right climate especially for beer drinking and a culture of open-mindedness that dwarfs Nairobi’s and Mombasa’s," he says.

    Dar has none of the xenophobia that characterises Nairobi with people banding in tribal bars and entertainment resorts, Nick says. "We were truly multicultural with many nationalities represented in the pubs I frequented over my two years’ stay!" And not once did the word tribe feature with the many Tanzanians from all parts of this large country.

    According to Nick, the first port of call for many Kenyan expatriates in Dar is the Riverside area, near Ubungo where they are likely to meet their compatriots. The staple food here is chips and chicken or kiti moto, fried pork that has the magical power of fighting hangovers and of course the ubiquitous Kilimanjaro lager.

    scant presence

    As the hot and steamy weather and friendliness of the locals take their toll on Kenyan expatriates, they slowly come out of their cocoons and venture out into the night. Often things are never the same again, Nick insists. "The first thing that anybody from Kenya realises is the scant presence of police and muggers in Dar. Consequently, Dar is a truly 24 hours city and the fun goes on till dawn," Nick says. The beer of choice is Kilimanjaro lager, the equivalent of Kenya’s famed Tusker.

    Granted that Kenyan men always make a fast philosophical and drinking switch, they explore the many bars in Riverside and especially the good-natured waitresses and female managers.

    A saying in Dar which goes that wakenya wana hela, Kenyans have money, does not help things much. "I remember seeing several bar waitresses fight over one particularly charming and moneyed Kenyan bloke who could have sold all his family’s property in Riverside!" Nick says.

    Nick has every reason to think that unlike Kenyans, Tanzanians have no mortal fear for graves. "At a local cemetery in Mwananyamala, it was usual to see used condoms on the flowers and tombstones, testimony to the enthusiasm with which some Dar resident approach their nocturnal activities."

    keen eye

    Nick adds that many excited revellers would "finish their thing" in many seedy pubs while gyrating, one sitting on the other, to Taraab and Congolese music!

    With a keen eye on the Dar social scene, Nick confesses that the Tanzanian city is way ahead of Nairobi in catering for expatriates’ tastes. Thus the city’s nightlife is generously spiced with the presence of Oriental and Eastern European women, who mingle freely and lend the place exotic flavour.

    "In Nairobi we only hear of exclusive clubs and places where such foreigners are available, just like I left it," Nick observes.

    And as is wont to happen to anybody in a new city, Nick confesses to a little roving and discovering while in Dar es Salaam. "In the upmarket Msasani pubs they have taken strip-tease dancing to new and dizzying heights that would make Nairobians turn green with envy!"

    Now back in his old haunts, Nick admits that in Nairobi, dancers are often hurried and amateurish in their act. "In Dar the strip-tease dancers are not in any hurry. Their movements are fluid and eerie and in tune to the common Taraab numbers. There is more suggestion and sneaky preview in their movements, which makes it immensely worthwhile and riveting. Even when it comes to the bare essentials, the conclusion is already foregone to the mainly male revellers that this is the direction things ought to go," Nick says and adds. "It all looks natural!"

    But he thinks that many Nairobi strip-tease artistes are a little artless by showing too much too soon and in disregard to the rhythm and tempo of the music!

    immense wealth

    Nick admits that unlike Nairobi, in Dar they have taken illusion and deceit to the level of art, making life infinitely interesting. In his socialising in the myriad Riverside pubs, Nick remembers developing an acquaintance with one *Charity. She at first said her mother was Kikuyu and her father Danish. This man had left them immense wealth in Nairobi before flying back to Denmark, as they always do.

    This girl, working in a hotel in Nairobi had requested a transfer to Dar and which was granted. Disillusioned with her work, she had resigned and was whiling the time awaiting her visa to be processed so that she would fly to America.

    On subsequent days, Nick made some discreet inquiries around. Charity had never worked in the hotel where she claimed to work. "I saw her deteriorate in character from a gallant and apparently learned woman to a common topless dancer, and you can imagine a big busted one as such, in Riverside pubs within five months!" Nick recalls.

    Endowed buxom figure and a prominent backside — a hot selling point in Dar and most of Africa — Charity would draw both admiration and envy in equal measures. "As was usual in Dar’s social circles, her pleas that she was HIV-positive were often dismissed by many zonked expatriate men who included some Kenyans."

    Indeed, this obsession with huge backsides and the thought that bigger women were safe from HIV/Aids would play itself out on many occasions to Nick over the two years.

    "It was common for women in my neighbourhood to take a go at each other on account of their sizes," Nick remembers. A common question in ordinary banter was, "Wewe mwanamke gani huna ****? (What kind of woman are you without any buttocks to boast of?)." And a newfangled saying in social places was, **** ni muhimu (a prominent backside is all-important).

    levels of deceit

    "The penny about Charity dropped when a new expatriate joined us from Mozambique," Nick says. Charity disappeared from the scene upon seeing this man. "The girl had fled from Maputo following the death of her lover from Aids!" Nick says.

    During his stay in Dar, Nick would be amazed by the levels of deceit and craftiness of some local women. He recalls that in one particular locality of Sinza, Makaburini some married women were especially notorious for their romantic escapades. The area was derisively referred to as Sinza the capital of sin or Sinza ya usinzi in social circles.

    Typically, local men would take their wives to some beauty salons and leave them there on the understanding that they would pick them later. But some of these salons had secret love nests where the women would meet their male lovers for hot, illicit love.

    After such stormy sessions, the women would be spruced up by the beauticians before their husbands returned for them.

    From the foregoing, Dar might come across as the sin city of East Africa. But Nick observed that some Tanzanians who choose the Lord’s way do it in a great way. "These people can be totally selfless, like a colleague who would take the bulk of her salary to a children’s home," Nick says. "If I’m ever to point to a saint that I know, then she would be in Dar!"

    Nick, who firmly believes that we go through hell and heaven right here on earth, says he has not seen the last of Dar. He will go back immediately his employer in his wisdom deploys him there again.

    *Names changed