Sunday 26 August

Our last day in Tanzania. A rather stern notice in the hotel lobby yesterday informed us that no more breakfasts would be served after nine, so we allow ourselves a generous lie-in but make sure that we are downstairs in time to catch the end of breakfast. But the service is incredibly slow and we wonder if the waiter is trying to avoid serving us altogether by not getting to us in time for the cut-off deadline. He seems a little confused as to who has already received their order and one couple accidentally receives a second helping. We eventually get our omelette and bread but give up waiting for coffee or juice.

Walk down to the botanical gardens. It is quite small, secluded and peaceful, but nothing special. Make a return visit to the fish market where R buys some spices, then on to Steers/Debonairs, a western-style fast food café on Ohio Street for some ice cream.

It’s time now for church and we head over to St Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral. Seeing the holy water at the entrance R follows protocol by crossing herself. It is the first time I’ve been to a Roman Catholic mass and no one has ever taught me the correct way to sign a cross, so I just pause momentarily in what I hope is a suitably reverent manner.

Harbour Master’s tower

The building is very echoy and it is hard to understand the words, even though they are in English. The sermon is something about conversion and salvation being a continuous process that demands our participation, not just something that happens once and is then done and dusted.

The music is not quite what we had hoped for. It is lead by a quiet electronic organ (with Leslie speaker effect) and a group of about three singers. The selection of music is certainly eclectic, including “I have decided to follow Jesus”, “Precious Lord take my hand” and “All to Jesus I surrender”. The song book also includes titles such as “Come, now is the time to worship”. (I try to imagine what that would sound like in the present company and immediately wish I had not.)

(magnify) View from the Lutheran Cathedral

The service could not have been more different from last weeks! Very set Catholic but a busy service, approximately one hundred and fifty people, mostly of Asian (Indian) descent or that area.

After the service we decided to pop into the other Cathedral (Lutheran). Sadly the service had finished but we were given an impromptu tour of the tower – ace views from the top.

For lunch we try the Alcove Restaurant on Sokoine Drive but it is closed. Finally we resort back to Debonaires for a pizza. When half an hour after placing our orders at the counter there has been no sign of food, I return to the counter to ask what is happening. With a shrug, the assistant turns round and identifies two pizzas on a shelf. I carry them back to R, wondering how long they had been sitting there. We depart without leaving a tip.

We pass an hour or so at the National Museum, which houses a few old motor cars and a couple of marine creature exhibits in large tanks of very smelly preservative. R wants to buy a shuka, a traditional Maasai shawl, but there is no gift shop, so we decide to try the Kariakoo Market in the African quarter about two kilometres away. We still have plenty of time before we need to prepare for our journey home, so we walk.

Kariakoo Market

As soon as we cross Bibi Titi Mohamed Street, which divides Karaikoo from Mchafukoge, there is an immediately different feel with more street life. The busy market is full of fruit, vegetable, spices (R buys some more), but no shukas, or other souvenir-type things for that matter.

Was enjoying wandering around until some crazed Tanzanian man tried to burn my arm with his cigarette butt and tried to trip Ian up. I was very annoyed and to be honest quite flabbergasted. Nothing like that had happened before and it put a little down-note on the day. I think other Tanzanians who witnessed the event were surprised too.

(magnify) Kariakoo Market

On the way back, we recognise the junction we had reached in our search for the New Africa Hotel yesterday evening. We had not even been heading remotely in the right direction!

We return to the Lebanese restaurant for dinner, but it is closed. In fact everything is closed. Back at the Jambo we try to get a sandwich and fruit juice but neither is available so have to settle for a Fanta and a Seven Up. Manage to persuade the receptionist to let us have a room just to shower in for Tsh10000. She is very concerned that we do not mess it up and we promise to leave it looking spotless after we have finished.

As we leave the city for the airport by taxi, the orange glow of dusk is just settling over the rooftops. We are very early for our flight, but this gives us the chance to get some food in a western-style café (also with western-style prices) at the airport before we check in.

We take the opportunity to change our surplus schillings back into dollars. Once checked in we make a final tour of the duty free where R finds the shuka she had been seeking and I buy a very cheesy compact disc that includes the Jambo song that Liberate taught us on the way down from Kili. With the remaining Tsh6650 we procure a packet of mini Toblerone, leaving Tsh150 over – not perfect but pretty good going.

Our flight leaves slightly ahead of schedule.

In Schipol went for a walk to find a bathroom to wash, then found the elusive ‘tired luggage’. Quite funny. After went and rested on comfy chairs for an hour before walking to the gate for the Birmingham flight.

At the gate I discover that I cocked up the seat reservation of our connecting flight and while I am in row 5, R is still in row 15. The woman at the gate spots that we seem to be together and queries our seat numbers. When I explain my mistake she kindly offers to put us back together again, on row 27. The irony is that the seats originally offered by the on-line reservation system on row 15 were actually the best ones on the plane. Note to self: the computer knows best.

And that is more or less it. A holiday to remember and to treasure in so many ways.

It feels strange to be going home. I’m looking forward to some things like my own bed, water from a tap, being clean, but I will miss Tanzania.