The Other Side

It is Saturday morning and I improvise on my new routine to get ready for my Yoga class. I get out of the house and there they are, the rays of the sun beating down with the force of a knife [Ryszard Kapuściński, The Shadow of the Sun]. Walk a few meters and look for a colorful three wheeler Bajaji to free myself from the persistence of the sun.  Five minutes in the Bajaji provide the much needed breeze to evaporate the drench of sweat my body released to cool itself. In here, moving air is a luxury. If you want it, you have to pay to enjoy that delicious breeze that caresses your skin. For those who don’t, well, they suffocate in the ground floor where the air is heavy and motionless.

With its muddy streets and flying dust, the coastal city of Dar es Salaam is embellished by the archipelago of islands in the eastern shore. Bongoyo and Mbudya islands sit on the Indian Ocean at only a 30-minutes boat ride. Beach, breeze, nature and fresh fish. Sounds like a good idea. There we go, look for the colorful three wheeler Bajaji and all set to go. To my surprise, I arrived too early and had to wait for about 40-minutes for the ferry.

I strolled around the nice “Slip Away” area and saw a rather unusual scene. A Rastafari looking Mzungu (white man) with his kid smoothly moving in circles with their skateboards. I was fascinated by how precisely the young fellow followed his older and more experienced father. I quickly started taking a few frames of their moves and once they stopped to catch a breath, the guy with the dreads decided to sit down right next to me. He introduced himself with a low tone voice, very calmed even after a few hours of non-stop skateboarding. His name is Kyle, an expat from Seattle. He is a professional designer who builds furniture out of sustainably sourced wood and also owns a gallery here in Dar. His 12-year old California looking son was born and raised in Dar es Salaam. He has never left Africa. Out of curiosity I asked: “Why Dar? To which he replied “My wife is from here. We met in college back in Seattle and after graduation decided to move here.” That cleared the gray area and the blocks started falling into place. We exchanged some thoughts about humanity, about the world and the future. Turns out that after 12-years in Dar, Kyle and his wife plan to move to Hawaii to provide the waves they want for their future pro-surfer son.

At last, the ferry arrived and I headed to Bongoyo Island. Below are a few pictures of this journey.

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How foreigners ride on the ocean
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How Tanzanians ride on the ocean

 

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Net fishing

 

-Gerardo

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