Saturday, June 14, 2008

African Adventure: From Zanzibar to Arusha and a broken shock absorber! (April 24-26)

Current Location: Arusha, Tanzania
Highlights: A bus ride from Dar es Salaam and a broken shock absorber
Upcoming: Entering Kenya and the Island of Lamu.

As planned we left on the first ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, and got a taxi (after the usual bartering over the price) to the Safari Lodge Inn (cheap accommodation for 12 000 TSH = US$15 for a double room) then went straight to an Internet Cafe (Web World) where I could make an Internet phone call to the USA for the incredible price of US$1.20 for 15 mins. So I phone Gena and my parents (in the UK). The line was incredibly clear, it was amazing as the usual cost of calls to the USA from Tanzania is US$3 per min!

The next morning (having bought our bus ticket the night before for 8000 TSH each = US$10) we headed off to the bus station to catch our bus back to Moshi where the Landy was sitting at the Springlands Hotel. The bus ride was uneventful compared to my ride to Dar from Moshi, once we arrived in Moshi we caught another taxi to Springlands and unlocked the Landy. The smell from within almost knocked me for a 6! I had left a bunch of vegetables and a small plastic container of soup in my hurry to leave and they had gone rotten to the extent that maggots had already started to grow in the mushy mess. It had also rained a lot in Moshi and the Landy had leaked quite a lot. So we spent the next few hours cleaning up the mess and headed off to drive the 100km to Arusha. As I drove the road to Arusha we had a clear view of the mountain (Kilimanjaro) and it brought back floods of memories of our climb and the time I spent with Gena just a few weeks ago.

On the drive to Arusha, I noticed a dim but worrying noise coming form the rear tire. When we arrived at the Masai Camp Site in Arusha I took a look at the rear tire only to find that the rear shock on the drivers side had completely broken in two. Now just 4 months ago, these were brand new Gabriel Safari shocks. The Landy had really taken a pounding over the past 30 000 km, and I think the terrible roads to the Ngorongoro Crater and my driving too fast on these roads and in the Crater bottom was just too much for them. So we went into Arusha to see if we could find a replacement. I thought this would be easy as there are loads of older Landys here, but today was holiday and most of the parts stores were closed. However, we were directed to one place called Wilson International, just outside of town. This was an import and export business run and owned by two Brits! It was comforting to see two British faces as the locals here see you coming and immediately triple or quadruple the price! They had some old shocks lying around from a Defender of a Range Rover which we could use until we could find a newer one. I asked how much it would cost and Nick, the owner, looked at me and asked where I was from. "Barnehurst, near Bexleyheath in Kent" I replied. "I'm from Hastings" he said, "you can have it, pull in your Landy and we'll put it on for you". So I pulled in the Landy and they fitted the shock for me. What an incredibly nice couple of guys!

We got back to the camp site and did some tire changes to put the new spare on the rear together with another new tire we got from General Tire here in Arusha. One of our tires had begun to separate form the ply which was a manufacturing defect so General Tire here in Arusha sold us a new one giving us credit for the tread (50%) still left on the old tire. This was a great deal as the old tire was an 8 ply and the new one a 12 ply! I adjusted the brakes and found that one of the front wheel cylinders was leaking badly. That repair will have to wait until we get to Nairobi tomorrow.

So tomorrow we will hit an Internet place and send this diary entry, then drive the 280 km to Nairobi crossing the border into Kenya.

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