June 11, 2012

Everyone is watching the football match England-France. In Europe and in Tanzania. People this morning told me that Italy yesterday tied the match with Spain. Some people at the pub invited me to watch the match with them tonight, but I don’t like to go out when it’s dark (and here it gets dark at 6.30).

At first I wasn’t particularly impressed by Lindi. This morning when I woke up I went for a short walk on the beach and some fishermen I photographed from far away (can’t see the faces in the pic) invited me to get closer and once I was there they asked for some money for the picture. 100 Tsh, so 5 eurocents. It was more a joke than a true payment, but it annoyed me a bit. Then I went to the station to have breakfast (near the bus station there are always the cheapest restaurants) and finally I had my chai and chapati that I missed so much. And while there I spoke to a nice guy. Basically in 10 minutes I had already seen everything there is to see in Lindi. The beach with the fishermen, the German Boma like in Mikindani, but abandoned and falling down. The main crossroad. The two restaurants recommended in the Lonely Planet. Because I didn’t know what to do, I went to one of these for a second breakfast. With coffee this time. Nothing compared to the coffee at Africaf√© in Arusha, a normal Nescaf√©, but it satisfied a need I had. I spent almost one hour there.

When I went out I wanted to go back to the hotel to spend some time on the web, at least during the hottest hours (tea and coffee had made me sweat a lot) but I passed by the cops pub with a nice beer poster and I felt the urge to have a beer. At 11.30 in the morning. There was a guy, Cuthbert, that while I was drinking my beer started talking to me. I sat at a table and to read my book when the waitress brought me a napking with Cuthbert’s phone number written on it. Then I got a beer offered by him. And after some time here he comes as well. At the end the beer went to his “brother” (I was already tipsy after the first one) and they offered me lunch (guess what? Chipsi mayhai, potato omelette). We spent a couple of hours talking of nothing. He told me he’s a businessman. Here almost everyone is an “agent” or “businessman” if they are not employed somewhere. Cuthbert must really be a businessman because he was wearing shoes. He was a bit misterious about it, but at the end he told me he sells coal in Dar Es Salaam. There’s something illegal in it, because he bribes policemen and this is why he is often here at the policemen pub. While we were there an old men approached us selling watermelons; he asked someting in Swahili, went away and came back with two cigarettes, one for him and one for Cuthbert; he sat at the table with us, but Cuthbert sent him away. But I believe he offered him the lunch, and the cigarette. After a couple of hours Cuthbert got tired and told me he had some business to do. He went to the other table to finish his beer with his friends. We agreed to meet at 6 in the evening to do I don’t know what.


So I went back to my hotel. I rested there for a short time, just to let the heat pass. At about 3.30 I went to read at the beach. In the shade, because all dressed up I can’t stand the sun. A girl came asking for money, but didn’t insist. A boat docked and from nowhere came a crowd to take part to the usual fish auction. After a bit Francis arrived. As he didn’t want to leave me alone reading, I asked him to walk with me on the beach. We walked a lot and it was nice because he speaks a good English and he told me about the school system in Tanzania. Apparently public schools are free for the first 7 years (primary) and they are quite cheap in the secondary years. But if you don’t pass the exams of the 7th year, you can’t go to Secondary School. You can only go to private schools, that few people can afford. There are also public colleges, with few students admitted, only the best ones, and he is one of these. He studied Medicine and now works at Lindi hospital. He hopes one day to be able to get a Master Degree abroad, it would be great for his CV, but it’s very hard to get a scholarship. We passed by a group of people I saw at the beach last night, when they had invited me to pray with them. Francis explained that they are doing their singing rehearsal. At the beach because with the noise of the ocean they have to sing louder and their voice becomes stronger. Or something like this. At one point I had to say goodbye to meet Cuthbert.

More people invited me to watch the match with them, everyone is very kind, the ocean is just feet away (the sound of the waves cradles me in the night), the guesthouse is nice and at a good price (today they even cleaned the room, changed the linen and added a clean towel and soap; only toiletpaper is missing)… I am thinking of staying one more night. Let’s see how I wake up in the morning.

I don’t think I’m going to see the second half of the match, I’m half asleep already.