Sunday, August 20, 2017

I Bless The Rains Down In Africa...

You just can't be in Africa without thinking of Toto's song by the same name, and I can't resist offering both the original and a very moving chorale version:


Now that we have that accomplished, let me say Jambo to everyone from here in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania. I got in last night, and to adjust to the time zone (7 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time), I've done my usual brief walk-about. (I have to admit that it actually did rain today, and I was rather disappointed by the rain, as it made me decide not to take a boat-ride to the nearby island of Zanzibar. Oh, well.)

Dar is a large city, the capital of Tanzania. It is somewhat similar to Accra, my only other personal reference point within Africa, but there are some profound differences. You may recall my comment that Accra contained throngs of people. People everywhere! Milling about, selling stuff in roadside or sidewalk stands, and so on. Now I haven't seen that much of Dar es Salaam, but what I have seen is much different. Things are much quieter, there are far fewer people on the streets and sidewalks, the traffic isn't quite as congested. I'm not sure what to make of this, and perhaps it will gel as time goes on. My initial thought was that Tanzania might be a wealthier nation due to tourism, but it turns out that the economy is mainly agrarian, and tourism has not yet been effectively tapped. Tell that to the vast majority of folks on my flight from Amsterdam last night who got off at the Mount Kilimanjaro airport to go on safari. Ghana has far more natural resources, according to the Wiki, so I'm probably missing something.

Unlike last time, I'm staying in a hotel rather than the hospital guest house. The Aga Khan Hospital is undergoing major construction and expansion, and no one was sure if there even are any guest rooms on campus at the moment.

So I'm staying in the Marriott Courtyard. Here's the courtyard of the Courtyard:

I hit two of the highlights of Dar on my little trek, the National Museum and a waterfront area called Slipway. The Museum is quite near the hotel, located in an area full of government buildings. As I walked by the Prime Minister's office, a monkey dashed across the street directly in front of me. That's something you don't see in Washington, D.C. No comments, please.

The small but fascinating museum had a nice display of artifacts, fossils, and replicas thereof from Oldavi Gorge, the birthplace of human-kind (which I might get to see over the weekend). I found an old your great^1,000,000th grand-daddy, Mr. Hominid:

Do you remember hearing about David Livinstone, the great explorer ("Dr. Livingstone, I presume...")? Here's his writing desk:

Slipway is a nice waterfront area with several restaurants, shops, and a craft market. Here I am enjoying a libation, which you can't see in the photo, but rest assured, it was only bottled water:

This was my first view of the Indian Ocean from its western shore; I had the chance to stick my foot in it from the Australian side when I spoke in Perth in 2010. Dug-out canoes are ubiquitous near the shore:

The craft market featured lots of paintings and wood carvings, as well as bright fabrics and clothing:

I was quite taken with the carved birds. Might have to go back to get a few.

I did stop at the hospital to say hello on the way to the National Museum. I was able to speak with the ER physician, but apparently the Radiologists (and Nuclear Med physicians) are not in-house on the weekends, and come in on call. How often that happens, I don't know, but I'm already wondering if they need more rads. I'm sure some of my colleagues would be interested, although I wouldn't trust them to drive on the left side of the street. (I don't trust some of them to drive on the right side of the street.)

Tomorrow, I hit the ground running. The plan is to give lectures and see if there is anything I can do to help with workflow in the Nuclear Medicine department. But if this trip turns out to be anything like my last mission, I'll be the one who learns the most.

As I found in Ghana, one is greeted here in Tanzania with "You are welcome!" which I think makes far more sense that saying it after being thanked as we do in the US. However, the word for "You are welcome" in Swahili is Karibu, and the first few times I heard it, I wondered if the speaker was directing me to look at some wildlife that had wandered into the hotel lobby. Hopefully by the end of two weeks here, I'll catch on a bit better.

But in the meantime, I'll bid you kwaheri.

Stay tuned!

No comments :