Thursday, December 18, 2008

Infrastructure, Germs and Steel: Moshi and Vicinity

This entry is just a mishmash of observations from Moshi from the last couple of weeks.

Restaurants: they usually have a sink located in the corner of most sit down eateries for you to wash your hands. Right before you eat. The really good food here is Indian, Italian, Mediterranean fusion, Chinese food. Most of these owners are asian, indian, arab. Especially the bigger joints, you don't see owners that are native. The merchants are all expats. The panda chinese restaurant is run by a chinese family from Sichuan, China. It was nice to see some of my own people, finally after 2 weeks here. Sichuan is where they had that horribly large earthquake in China this past year. I ask one of the girls what she thinks of living in Tanzania. She says it's half - half. There are advantages and disadvantages to living here, but china can be equally bad. The competition is less here in east africa, because they are ahead, but they also miss being in their own country even the business here is good.

Internet: There are least 10 competing internet cafes or internet holes in downtown moshi. Whatever you do, avoid the one at the kindoroko. there are tons of viruses. best ones are the one next to The Coffee Shop and Chez Deli and behind the Kindoroko near buffalo.Best deal is the place next to the Coffee Shop (not lounge). It is run by an Indian guy 3rd generation here in Moshi. The place is air conditioned, has plenty of space and the equipment is decent. For every half hour you buy he actually tacks on an additional 9-10 minutes for service. cost is 1500 TSH per hour. The guy speaks perfect english, educated in the USA. The Place near buffalo is called Malaika Internet. Cost per hour is 1000 TSH and the keyboards are a bit sticky but otherwise ok. I tend to write everything in text pad and then copy paste to save time. Lots of computers have viruses, so be on the lookout if you are going to use your USB flash drive. I was able to get it cleaned at Malaika and at the Indian guy's internet.

Chagga/Masai tradition: We learn from Oscar on coffee tours that the Chagga give the youngest born son all the family land inheritance. The youngest will live the longest and should continue it, instead of the oldest. The Chagga live on the hills, closer to the mountains. The masai live on the plains, herding a lot of cattle, wearing really colorful red, blue draped clothes. I did not get a chance to visit a masai village but they wander all over town I saw plenty.

Dalla Dallas: I've gotten a lot braver taking these. I'm taking them every day. In town, the stops can sometimes be comical. The thing chuggs along for 200 meters and then stops. On the highway though, it can be scary. As long as you don't look out the front you're ok.
Advertising: Bulletin boards are a bit misleading, some are posted in the city centre near the roundabout, but the businesses are really far away. A lot of signs are shared with a coca cola ad. The top half is coke and the bottom half the name of a school, for example.

Shops on Mawenzi street: Mawenzi is the main 2 lane street in Moshi. Lots of the shops are own by multigeneration families from India, and Arabs. Many of them of proud of their Tanzanian citizenship; they don't consider themselves citizens of India. I don't know the details about history, but something bad happened about 70-80 years ago that created this immigration to east africa.

Road to Marangu: CCS took the entire house of volunteers out to Marangu for a day trip. Even though my feet were massively swollen, I still went. Didn't hike to the waterfalls but went along. Marangu is the last village stop to the "coca cola route" for those crazy people who want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Ok, just crazy in my mind. I'm not a climber. The last mile to Marangu is off the main arusha highway and is all dirt. Houses along this road are marked with an X to indicate demolition but that won't happen until next year. That's how fast things move here. The market here is amazingly colorful, busy.

Store Supplies & Equipment: A lot of imports from South Africa, Middle East and Asia. Even wine is imported from South Africa. Lots of prepackaged goods are from the Middle east, especially Dubai. Other stuff is imported from mostly China, Japan. A lot of people here seem to know about Shanghai, China - my people! Many of the bikes are imported from Shanghai. They even know how to say hello in Mandarin, although unfortunately I can't speak it.
Power: Electricity can be sporadic. Most Electical is supplied by South Africa to most countries in East Africa and paid by tax payers in South Africa. How weird. How would americans feel, if they had to pay for all of Mexico's electrial needs?

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