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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life and Culture

I have been here for three weeks now and man how time flies! I am starting to get used to living over here, but I don’t think I will ever get used to it enough to live over here forever! I love America more and more everyday. You don’t realize how or how easy we have it until you go to another country…particularly a third world country.

Something that I never had to think about until I got over here was Internet. In America we go buy a modem, or a router..hook it up and we are set. We pay a one-time fee for our Internet, or we pay monthly for unlimited searching, downloads and etc. Well over here, you pay BY the download/Megabyte. I didn’t realize how many things were downloaded. I mean, I know what a download means, like when I download music, download a movie or a pictures, but I had no idea that opening a page was a download, conducting a search is a download etc (I don’t claim to know a whole lot about computers anyway, so Im sure you are not surprised by this).  If the website has a lot of moving parts and pictures, then that uses a ton of mega bites, download a picture from a email is a lot, and skyping uses a ton too! That is just one of the things that you do not think about until you get over to a foreign country and since this is my first time overseas, I am learning so much. I know that when I come home I will have a greater appreciation of everything from the price of honey and Oreos to the Internet.

On another note I have been able to experience some of the culture here in Tanzania as well as make some friends! I went this cultural event with two girls I met and it was so much fun! They had traditional music, and fashion show, as well as some dancing! I wouldn’t say it was traditional Tanzanian dancing because the music was from American artists  like LMFAO and Usher, and they were breakdancing, which is known to have started in the Bronx…. but still, it was very entertaining! Below is a video of the music over here!
   (sorry, I cant put anymore videos up, takes to many MB and the internet is so slow! :) )

                                                       Fashion Show!
                                                        Tanzanian Band

My new friends! 
Left: Elizabeth Right: Amber

These next picture are some other friends I have met while here! We went out and had dinner at sunset. 

Being a tour guide by trade, I jumped on an opportunity to take a city tour of Dar this past week. I wanted to get a feel of where I was, what the buildings were, the history of the city etc.…Well, first off it was no Holland America coach, I am in the back of a Van squeezed with two other pleasantly plumb people and the AC barley reaches me. The driver does not speak English, so we are not getting told anything about where we were or where we were going. We stopped at the Museum of Tanzania, which was very interesting. Large building…very small exhibits. But it was neat to see. Then we went to the botanical gardens, lets just say my backyard is nicer than it was, so we cut that stop short and they took us to the nicest hotel in the city. We went to the roof and were able to take some pictures (see below) that was really cool because we got to see the entire city and the port. We ended the day with a buffet lunch from a different hotel. All in all it really was a great day and I was very thankful to the people who set up the tour and allowed me to go. I  really did enjoyed seeing the city and the main tourist attractions, but my snobby tour guide self was a little disappointed. I did get some great photo and some wonderful conversation from the plump people next to me.

                                                Somewhere down town
 This is all that was left from the 1998 American Embassy bombing. It is on display at the museum.
                                        The very first ATM machine in Dar.
                                     A wooden bike from a village somewhere
                                     A view from the top of the Hyatt of the port.
                                I think these are apartments. Notice the rooftop drying rack


I have done a little shopping as well this week..the fun kind of shopping! I went to the market for souvenirs! I bought a few pair of earrings hand made my African women…very cute and super cheap! I bought them for about $1.50 each. Not only is the jewelry hand made, but all the wood statues, masks and animals are hand made too!  I am 100% sure I am going to come home with way to much African stuff, its all so beautiful!! The good thing about shopping for souvenirs here is, most of these things are relatively inexpensive but you still get a pretty good quality product. You can’t beat $10 for a hand carved mask of a giraffe or $5 for a wooden hippo and since I several people to buy gifts for really helps my wallet out.
Side note: My brothers both want weapons…so Ross and Ryan, don’t you worry I found some AWESOME weapons for yall…I will ship them home before I leave because I’m pretty sure you can’t take a spear on an airplane.
I really do love buying things for people, especially when I know they are going to LOVE it. So hopefully if I bring you something back, you will be just as excited to get it as I am to give it to you!! Here are just a few pictures of the items I bought so far.
(ps, if you have any requests of something for me to bring back to you, just email me...and then send cash. Jk jk)

       My little Vanna White helped me hold the items I have bought for friends :) Thanks E!
                         The content of Africa carved with the animals you can find here

                                    I know someone who is going to LOVE this:)
                                       or the thing below, I haven't decided.

I dont really like the ones with people faces, kinda freak me out, but the animals ones are way cool!

I also have been taking language classes to speak Swahili! It has been so much fun. I never thought I would say this…but I actually enjoy taking classes, learning and studying!! (I have got to stop saying I will never) But there is a little thrill and joy of speaking the language of the locals and seeing their faces light up, or often times for me they laugh, when you actually ask for something or say hello in their language! Their whole demeanor changes and they are so willing to help and be kind to you. Now some of you reading this are thinking geez Emily where have you been? Or thinking how insensitive I am by not learning another language sooner, but you have to remember, this is my first time overseas…and I have never had to learn another language. Now I do, and I see the importance of it, and how the people really take to you for at least trying. A little bit goes along way!

I tell you what, I am going to come home knowing how to do so much, cook, drive on the other side of the car on the other side of the road, speak Swahili, change a diaper, color inside the lines, and appreciate EVERYTHING about America, even the smallest of things J

Have a great week, and remember don’t take anything for granted over there!


1 comment:

  1. em-dog!!!
    just caught up on all of your blog posts while enjoying my delicious smart one frozen pasta lunch - not. lol. but i did love reading about your adventures in tanzania!!
    the insane price of groceries over there is just like in london! $14 for a box of cheerios!! sooo crazy! i remember katie telling me that a tube of mascara was like 18 bucks -- yikes! i love america! haha.
    glad to hear you are doing so many interesting things like making new friends and learning swahili! and i am super jealous of your beach time!! i am PASTEY PASTEY!
    when are you hiking the great mountain?!
    aren't the african markets amazing?! i bought "the big five" (the carved country of africa with the animals) when i was in south africa! it hangs on the wall in my room! i also got some amazing earrings there for super cheap!!
    you are really making me want to do something adventurous in my life!! things are way too boring here in bham right now!
    love you ho-bag!