Rowan Atkinson, a preacher and 12 hours on the road

Posted on June 24, 2015


After a teeth-rattling tweleve hours on the road my bus pulled into Nyegez in darkness. The journey was very tough going. I was wedged into a window seat next to a fat mama and her child. Mama was so fat the poor child had no space for his legs when sat on top of her. The only way he could sit comfortably without the blood circulation being cut off was to sit side saddle with his little legs stretching out under mine. Half a day of being kicked by a sweet but equally irritating African child tested my patience. Is this karma for something??? That plus I was starving, a bag of peanuts, an apple and a banana to sustain me for half a day made for an extremely grumpy Asha Tanna. 


Three hours in a preacher got onto the bus and was wailing for Lord knows how long. What I found most amusing was the fact that the bus had a small TV at the front that played non-stop episodes of Mr Bean and a Thin Blue Line. Who knew that Rowan Atkinson is big in Tanzania?!! 

En route the bus ran the jaunlet through various towns. It hovered for just a few minutes as food was paraded by hawkers infront of passengers to learn out of windows to grab.

Nyegez is an area 20 minutes outside of Mwanza. As soon as we pulled in I could feel the difference in vibe from Arusha. More edgy, lots going on, a tad seedy. Reminded me of parts of Kampala. The moment I alighted from the bus flycatchers were tugging at my arm jostling me and dangling taxi keys in front of my face barking imperatives in Swahili. I had managed to arrange a lift while on the bus. Thankfully a short minute later a tubby young man wearing a tight t-shirt and an old Nokia phone from the 90s clamped to his ear appeared. He bounced into a jog, seeing me looking lost and weary and outstretched his hand.

“I’m Davis,” he said carrying on his other conversation on the phone.

“Mambo poa!” I replied feebly.

He took my bag and we pushed our way through the throng of people to the car park.

I’m here because this is my first visit to Tanzania and I couldn’t come all this way and not make a trip to the city where my father was born.

Dad hasn’t given me any information about his childhood because he left more than 50 years ago and his memory is not the best. All he knows is that he lived on India Street, which Davis seems to think could be in the Indian district – makes sense.

I booked my cheap digs online and wasn’t expecting much, but the promise of wifi in all areas swung it for me. It is a new hotel. Opened this year, this i did not know. In hindsight if I’d known It probably would have affected my decision. To say there are teething problems is an understatement.

The wifi is actually non existent on all levels including reception. The waiting staff in the dining area makes Fawlty Towers look positively Michelin-starred. Only one girl is capable of taking an order but the other two numpties insist on chaperoning her to every table. The food was baaaaaaaad. It is not even worth going into how bad. The front desk is manned by a tall, skinny woman with no personality whatsoever and a big useless guy with glasses.

You pay for what you get I suppose. But even my cheapy digs in Aursha were better than this. They’ve tried to make the hotel, called The Pigeon Hotel, look grand. But it looks bland and cold and unfinished. Fluorescent lighting, big ugly brown leather sofas sit oddly on the faux marble titles on every floor by the lifts. The walls are an off white/yellow. I was annoyed at myself for wanting to upgrade my budget.

After two hours of trying to get onto the net, I decided to check out. I need to book flights and respond to work emails and I simply can’t do it here. I’m now at another place down the road which the Rough Guide recommended. Hot shower, bed and tomorrow time to hit the streets and Lake Victoria.