Stilgherrian (@stilgherrian)

Wentworth Falls NSW AU

The below is an off-site archive of all tweets posted by @stilgherrian ever

June 2009

There’s the fifth pair of eagles circling near the road.

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18km to Morogoro. Much greener: mountains catch the rain.

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First casualty: me. Photographing an abandoned sisal farm. Result: 6cm scratch on arm. Plus a photo. Of sisal.

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Drought effects: none of the maize seems to have reached harvest. Passing thru Chalinze.

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Piss stop. Sorry, “traditional medicine stop”. Lame advice to watch out lions. Cellphone towers line the road.

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Good 2-lane highway. Heavy lorries, plus people walking between villages or on bicycles.

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Kibaha region. West, rather than north. Small farms: bananas, coconuts, cassava, cashews, others I don’t know.

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En route to Dodoma. Lonely Planet says “There is no reason to go to Dodoma”. We are going to Dodoma regardless.

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This will clearly be a long road trip.

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Albert complains that we didn’t tell him we had interests other than cloves and cassava.

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Lena complains loudly that Albert failed to tell us Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar.

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Driving north-east out of Dar es Salaam. Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean”. Discussing our SEKRIT investigation.

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Oh, and for the police with AK-47s.

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Stop at mall for videotape. Same as any other anywhere, ‘cept for the occasional Masai in full tribal garb.

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One lane each way. Traffic slow. Fuelling and water-buying stop: four young women to operate the pump for us. Dusty.

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Wondering whether to introduce our new Tanzanian bloggers to @TheBloggess. Maybe there IS such a thing as too much culture shock.

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@micktleyden I thought IMAP would help resync back to my MacBook Pro when I return, but it’s causing too much grief here.

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In hindsight,changing my email from POP3 to IMAP was a mistake. Too much network overhead. Srsly.

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Noting that everyone sending their last email all at once is killing at office’s 512k/128k link.

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Watching people finish frantic emails before we hit the road for hours… days… to the end of Time itself.

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0815. Avoiding the traffic jam by detouring down a very rough back lane.

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Should I be concerned that “Born to be Wild” is blasting out as we cruise intn town? Yes, Thomas was waiting for us.

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0745. Breakfast done. On safari for 4 days now, Dodoma and Nzega. Updates as we’re rolling. I bet Thomas is already waiting for us.

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45 minutes left for breakfast, final re-pack for the road trip, checkout, “urgent” emails. That view looks nice. I’ll try to look.

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@mrsnickhodge Every hour there’s four things which could all be 400 words. Ever single hour.

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@mrsnickhodge It’s not the 140-char killing me. It’s that a post takes an hour or two. W e never get them.

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@SnarkyPlatypus Our shared human creation of bureaucracies is also universal. ;)

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@mrsnickhodge Kilimani village on Zanzibar wasn’t distant in space, but certainly in culture. And yet… ah, I’ll write later!

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@mrsnickhodge The “culture shock” isn’t about what’s vastly different, but what’s almost-the-same. There’s an essay there!

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@archielaw @Mark_Chenery It’s clear that the longer-form writing will come once I return to Sydney and can reflect.

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Tue plan (D5): Drive to Dodoma (5 hours), see… something; continue training on blogging. Long day.

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Emerges. 0608 in Dar es Salaam. Pre-dawn sky over the ocean. We leave in 90 minutes.

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I can’t believe I’ve been in Tanzania for 4 days without knowing “wanaume”.

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It’s approaching 7pm. Kili Time has been declared. Dusk falls on a dusty Nyerere St, Dodoma.

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They’re still discussing tomorrow’s itinerary. A photographer to be collected from Mwanza before Nyega. How many km?

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Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the Fair was over. However, we did get a nail in a tyre. Mechanicals proceed.

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So, we’re going to talk our way into the NGO Fair at Parliament House without registration. I detect looming Fail.

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Eating goat and rice, in company with a concrete antelope while “Falling in Love” croons.

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Kidia Vision Hotel, Dodoma, where Jesus Loves You, it says. There are large, prominent Bibles. 3.40pm. Lunch.

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In Dodoma. “There is no reason to go to Dodoma”, it said. Except it’s the national capital. And dusty.

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Did I mention lots of baobab trees? Oh. Another question.

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I don’t know why I’m asking questions. I’m in the middle of Tanzania.

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75km from Dodoba. @Nickhodge, are you timing this journey? Dry, dry, dry.

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The sunflowers are heartbreaking: drought-tattered. Everything grey, dry.

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Semi-desert now. Stunted trees, prickly pear, dusty farm towns, sunflowers, goats, cell towers. Kibaigwa.

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Passing thru Gairo, noted for it’s maize markets. 123km short of Dodnma.

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Passing Keyangaya mountain in Morogoro region.

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The cellphone transmitters live in better huts than 95% of the farmers here.

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Local transport is Chinese motorcycle, quarter the price of a Honda. Used heavily, they last 6 months.

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We don’t enter Morogoro, we turn north. But we pause to buy the freshest bananas ever. A dozen eagles overhead.

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My confusion re the newspaper story. It’ll be published when my photos to accompany it get uploaded.

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@maverickwoman All tweets yesterday (Sunday) were from Zanzibar, then the flight to Dar es Salaam. Today, Dar all day.

via Twitter Web Client in reply to maverickwoman

@ericscheid Tanzania is East Africa Time (GMT+3), so 7 hours behind Sydney.

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@SnarkyPlatypus Thank you. Though reconnecting to the Twitter firehose is a tad overwheming all at once.

via Twitter Web Client in reply to SnarkyPlatypus

@kcarruthers I was met by ActionAid driver at the airport on Saturday, yes, been “minded” ever since.

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Lots of beeps at the UPSs kick in during a power outage. Second time in the hour I’ve been in the office.

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@neerav This is not a “peaceful holiday”. There’s hardly been a moment without intense information overload.

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@jpoh Thank you, yes, I now have Google in English.

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Um, Dear Google, can I please have you in English and not Swahili? Like, I appreciate the effort, but…

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Ploughing through 3 days of email. Some things seem remarkably unimportant from this distance.

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Ahem! Just been told the office here will get fibre soon. In Dar es Salaam! DID YOU HEAR THAT, CONROY?

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I have internets in the Dar es Salaam office, thanks to Davis. 512kb ADSL. Damn, email to respond to.

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Thomas says there’s no trouble. “When you get money, ynu wamt everything in its place.” Ah, symbols!

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Security is tight. Walls with razor wire, electric fences, guards in military garb. iMac ad on roadside.

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Tuktuks! Lots of them, as we drive south to the city. No! Turning inland.

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Where are my bags? Thomas already has them! He’s enthusing about US vs Brazil in the football.

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No, we’re not waiting for the driver: Thomas, in a shirt way more fashionable than mine, is waiting for us.

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Almost 0900. Organizing Wi-Fi for the room tonight, and waiting for our driver.

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Have also just heard that I’m in the Sydney Morning Herald today. Is this old news? Not in TZ! Breakfast time.

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“Social media” is the social: human connection. I can show tools, but thoser in TZ will find the uses.

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Mon plan (D4): ActionAid office, Dar es Salaam, planning the week and introducing social media concepts.

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Notation: D1 Fri departure. D2 Sat arrived Dar then Zanzibar, briefing. D3 Sun Zanzibar touring projects. @toto

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Those postcards with an orange sun rising thru pink-grey clouds over a pale blue ocean? They do not lie.

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I’m afraid to describe how magnificently beautiful this is: if I do, you’ll want to kill me when I get home.

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Two young security men, in uniform, take advantge of the quiet, kicking a soccer ball, laughing.

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Hear: Nothing. Wait. No. Waves. Waves rolling gently on beach. Two ever-present crows croaking. Not seagulls.

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See: Clear flat ocean in clear dawn light. Two dhows move quietly out near the small island on the horizon.

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Emerges. Apartment in northern Dar es Salaam overlooks Indian Ocean. Red sun rises through a distant cloud layer.

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But enough for now. Only hours left in Dar es Salaam.[exit]

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The schedule is intense, but the forewarned “culture shock” isn’t there. The project goes well, Lena and I agree.

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Our driver Thomas collect us 0745. We go to Dodoma (capital), then the next day to Nzega.

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0040. Images send to newspaper. Graphics created for website. Anything written? No. Sleep needed.

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@clutterbells Oh the ISPs seem reliable enough. It’s just the hotel Wi-Fi. I’m right at the end of the complex.

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Yes! The Man With Electronic String haveth fixed mine internets! Wi-Fi FTL! Ugly long wire FTW!

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Reviewing today’s photographs. Provided bandwidth behaves, will upload some with a blog post in a few hours.

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@sirexkathryn The “paper blogging” exercise sounds good. I’ll look at that shortly, thanks!

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Can has internets at the hotel! They’re very dodgy interrnets, but nevertheless they go ping (mostly).

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6.30pm, work over for the day. Afternoon of training began with “What is a blog?” Yes, I am the alien.

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I WANT THAT TWO-METRE CONCRETE GIRAFFE FOR THE GARDEN!

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New companies get tax concessions for 5 years, so every 5 years they’re bought out by “new” owners. Restart!

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Walking Kivukoni Front, Dar es Salaam. K = Ferry.

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Noticing how many of my tweets via TXT have appalling typing mistakes. I am detaching from accuracy.

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@maverickwoman Yes, my first visit to Africa. A long blog post tonight DAR time.

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Program for the week mapped out. 4 days of travel around Tanzania starts tomorrow. But for now, lunch (almost). Awaiting transport.

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Ah! Meeting starts! I’ll have more on the plan later.

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@kcarruthers Oddly enough, people seem to appreciate my sense of humour. I, um, THINK they’re laughing with me, not at me. ;)

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Precision Air is completely misnamed. Just be warned.

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Replacement replacement tickets arrive. They’ve been double checked as correct for the 2050 flight. 3 hours to relax.

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Replacement tickets are issued. 2 out of 3 are for the wrong flight. Try again.

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Actually, “stuck” in Zanzibar is a fail full of win.

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The 1700 flight has gone we were not on it. Boarding pass confusion. Stuck in Zanzibar. Comprehensive fail.

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Loud argument in Swahili ensues.

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Zanzibar airport. Alive.

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Still alive. Bonus. That, though, is what I’d call overtaking on a blind crest, with ox-cart.

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Chickensgoatsbananatreesscootersfarmersmosquechickensgoatsmanwithmattressonbicyclechickemsgoatsit’sablur.

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OH: “You know, he is going to get us killed.” That was the guy next to me.

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That mudbrick hut has a 2m satelite dish.

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Fark! Um, that village speed hump seems to have served its purpose. No-one hurt. Did I mention: this minibus has no seatbelts.

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Eating fresh charred corn while not-speeding to the airport. I’ll explian the drunk village policeman later. Maybe.

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I agree, the crows at this fishing village are the fattest, happiest crows ever.

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Erm, we’re going to look at the fish markets? WTF?

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We have an hour to get to the airport, 5pm flight to Dar es Salaam. We are not, I repeat not, driving too fast on a rural road.

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The entire school sang a welcome. Then we met the village chief, proud of the new school.

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Avoiding the ox cart, turning off to visit a nursery school.

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Passing farmers with produce on their bicycles. No faster than the speed limit, no Sir.

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Driving north again, very fast. Because we detoured to a clove farm and ate fruit. I am sure we are not speeding.

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I have a magic Zanzibar clove ball which will “improve relations”.

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Mud huts, thatched rooves. Cows rest betweem banana trees beneath coconut palms. We have arrived.

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Police checkpoint. Waved thru. Brown and white cow cow pulling a cart.

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Our driving speed seems no slower than before.

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Um… pulled over for speeding. Watchmen chat with sergeant. Tells us to drive safely, waves us on.

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Black cows graze on an empty soccer pitch carved out of the bush.

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North out of town, market stalls, donkey carts, chickens, abandoned half-finished homes.

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Winding thru streets of Zanzibar Town, avoiding old men on motor scooters, children, bicycles.

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In a minibus, passing vegetable farms, battered concrete flats, an immaculate white mosque, tethered cows grazing on roadside.

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Breakfast done. Zanzibar’s masala tea is a delight.

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Zanzibar tip: coff

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Meanwhile I’ll sit on this balcony and write up my notes, until the sun rises over the Indian Ocean. Without internets.

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We spend Sunday touring Zanzibar projects, meeting those on the ground and who they work with.

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0415 Can’t sleep now. Being phone-interviewed by Sydney Morning Herald 0600. Can’t get any photos to them yet.

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Erm, that was twin-prop. And as soon as I have real internets I’ll post some longer bits and photos, as respond.

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Then Cessna Titan tion-prop to Zanzibar to be briefed by the ActionAid team here. PowerPoint is a universal curse.

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Met at airport by Reza, an ActionAid Tanzania “logistic assistants”, or “watchmen”: driver / translator / protector….

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Yesterday was a blur of travel. Sydney to Bangkok to Nairobi to Dar es Salaam by commercial jetliner, then…

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It’s my second day in Tanzania, but I still has no internets… at least not on this balcony at the, um, beach resort.

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Emerges. Not quite 4am local time in Zanzibar. Half-awake from jet lag anyway, I’m fulley wopken by a sudden rainstorm.

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Starting to unwind, finally. Tomorrow: my turn to fill their heads with too much weird shit. [exit]

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I’m really wondering what this mad bunch of tweets looks like from the outside. With no feedback it feels weird.

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Tomorrow (today) it’s ActionAid office. I’ll worry about internets then. Our driver Tom collects us at 0900.

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No internets for more than 2 days. It’s nearby, but no time to organise it.

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Whoever imagined there’d to time to reflect, let alone write (including me!) had no idea how packed the program would be.

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Midnight. Brain exploding. Seen enough in one day for a month of writing. Weird, just this one-way thoughtstream.

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11.45pm. How tragic, another apartment overlooking the Indian Ocean. I’ll wake to the sound of waves at dawn.

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Roadside video odverts for painkillers.

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“Everybndy Everybody” by… Rozalla, was it? This is on Choice FM, Dar es Salaam.

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Our driver takes us into Dar es Salaam for the first time. The Bee Gees “Staying Alive” pumps.

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Touchdown Dar es Salaam.

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Hurrah! A twin-engine turbo-prop, high wing. 5H-PAR. We’ve boarded. Transmitters off!

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Who needs Twitter? A man imagines he sees something in the dark. “it’s landing now!” Words ripple around the room.

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The Man in the Green Shirt says we’ll have an aircraft in 20 mins. Precision Air, huh? Everyone looks very tired.

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The boarding passes are OK. I guess. How can tell? Also, ddpart time is in 6 mins, but no sign of an aircraft. Am I fussy?

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Reading boarding passes carefully.

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Ah, I remember this airport. And these security people remenber me. We’re old friends now.

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I can thoroughly recommend the local blend of sugar cane juice and ginger.

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We are all now ignoring Albert’s “plans” and following Lena’s orders and full of octopus.

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This fail is full of fresh seafood from street stalls at dusk. Also, some tourists.

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Do I need to explain again why I’m only communicating one way via SMS? I’m in Zanzibar with no Internets.

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The summoned watchman has arrived. Headed to Stone Town for sunset and dinner.

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Boarding proceeds… slowly and haphazardly. Transmitters off.

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Oh. Boarding. A Boeing 737 which today is KQ480 to Dar es Salaam. Tarmac walk.

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Through another security check. If I’m going to be bored, I might as well have a view of a misty cloudy morning over Nairobi airport.

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I’m not responding to tweets ‘cos I have no internets. Sending by SMS only.

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The highest concentration of duty-free booze shops is by gates servicing Virgin Atlantic and Amsterdam. How surprising.

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There is a cybercafe, which looks dodgy. Packet-sniffing and keystroke logging FTL. Also, lt sells Converse sneakers.

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Why are white South Africans always so fucking rude?

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Only one Wi-Fi point, locked. :( It is called “giraffe”, however.

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2 flights down, 2 to go. For today. Now. Huntimg Wi-Fi so I can see things…

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Touchdown Nairobi! It’s not even 6am and it’s still dark! Africa is COMPLETELY INVISIBLE!

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I still have no internets though.

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Oh. Apparently it works now. I’ll try to summarise an amazing and disorienting day in Zanzibar soonish.

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I’m still having SMS to Twitter failage.

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That little aircraft has two, um, propellors I thik they’re called.

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My last SMS toTwitter was made of fail. Will this one get thru?

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Sparrows. Everywhere I go there are sparrows.

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Changed USD 300 into TZS 393,000 in ragged notes. They’re not into giving a docket, it seems.

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I have a visa and I have cleared customs. I wait for the others, and a crow watches me.

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The stern lady smiled at my name, but she still took my passport and USD 150. I wait patiently with a gaggle of travellers.

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Touchdown Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Filling in visa applicatiƶ.

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Did I misread that in my tiredness? Kenya Airways KQ0887 departs Bangkok for Nairobi at 0035, not for 40 mins? Damn.

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Also, I’m not responding to anything ‘cos I can only tweet by SMS, and that’s pretty dodgy.

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Sturdy airport security woman in black uniform and beret, but hot pink radio.

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Grrr. Bangkok airport is enormous, and once you go thru to the gates there’s no drinking water. Or Wi-Fi. Fail.

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Touchdown Bangkok! Rather blurry. That’s 1 flight down, 3 to go. Waiting to exit aircraft.

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Announcements made. Transmitters off. Next stop Bangkok in about 9.5 hours.

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Boarding a Boeing 777.

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This camera is full of 1. Fail 2. Shoddy no-name batteries 3. Photos of The Veronicas in concert.

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Powering down the netbook to save electrickery. Also trying to understand why the Nikon Coolpix P50 is being weird.

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@Ryan_Mitchell This is the first day of netbook use. My fingers are too fat. The small screen is… something to get used to.

via Twitter Web Client in reply to railami

My whole itinerary is over at http://bit.ly/jVDL8 somewhere. Except for the being chatted up bit. That’s off-plan.

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Whoever asked, I’m flying Thai to Bangkok, then Kenya Airways to Nairobi, same to Dar es Salaam, and a local airline to Zanzibar.

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Gate lounge, gate 39, insanely early for 1530 departure but all’s going smoothly. Time to catch up on tweets and email.

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Being chatted up by Thai boys before even past the Chanel counter, let alone on the plane. I have his card, for some reason.

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Advice re forex correct. In CBD an AUD buys 0.77 USD. Airport 0.75. Once past security 0.73.

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Cleared Customs amd security.

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Thank somebody for Bar Coluzzi being at the airport and making a decent soup. About to go thru Customs.

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Bag limit 20kg. My case 22.7kg. “That’s fine”, says the clerk. I won’t see my underpants until Dar es Salaam.

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@sylmobile I did Internet check-in. Window seat 70A.

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The gentle but energising chatter of the check-in queue. Some eager to embark on adventure, others tired and heading home.

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Sydney airport. International terminal 3.

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