30.10.2017 32 °C
This was us several years ago when we watched A380 super-jumbo jets being built at the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, and today we took our first flight aboard one from London to Dubai. It was pure pleasure – spacious seating; more than two thousand movies and TV programs to watch, (including live U.K. Arabic and U.S. channels): and abundant refreshments for the 600 or so passengers.
Dubai airport was equally impressive and after a few hours wandering among some of the world's ritziest fashion, jewellery and food emporiums, we boarded our next flight to Tanzania.
The arrivals hall at Dar-es-Salaam airport has none of the glamour of Dubai but we have seen worse. The sparsely manned visa section was besieged by a lengthy snake of hot and cranky foreigners eager to gain an entry permit, while we simply sailed through with visas previously obtained in Canada. The ancient baggage belt could barely cope with a plane load of returning locals weighed down by enormous bags and boxes of everything the Middle East has to offer and we had to wait awhile for our puny 13 kilo suitcases. Once they had arrived we cleared customs and set off in our hotel's minibus through the city's clogged streets.
As in most third world countries, almost anything can be bought on the street in Tanzania and as we inched our way from one set of traffic lights to the next we were importuned by a procession of hawkers - a meandering mobile department store, weaving its way on foot through the slow moving traffic with an incredible range of goods on hand. Sellers of hardware, haberdashery, cleaning products and small electrical appliances were interspersed with a plethora of food vendors laden with bags of nuts, crisps and snacks of all kinds, while ice-cream merchants pedalled their wares up and down the traffic lanes on trikes – if only we hadn't left our camera in the luggage compartment of the minibus!.
However, we are now in our hotel in the heart of the city, (watching CNN as the first of Trump's band of villains does the perp walk), and we can show you the view across the city and harbour from our room...
There are no lions, elephants or giraffes in this thoroughly modern city, but tomorrow we fly to Arusha on the edge of the Serengeti to begin our safari, Things will be different there!