Saturday, 5 December 2009

From Dar

We had to be at the bus station by 8 a.m. on Friday morning and the taxi driver told me it would take an hour to get there, with the traffic. It was arranged that he would pick me up at 7a.m.

In order to finalize my bill, I was down stairs by 6.30 (far too early for breakfast - the restaurant opened at 7 a.m.) The taxi driver was there already so we headed out right away. The traffic… well there wasn’t any - we got to the bus station by 6.45 for a 8.30 departure! I knew I had a wait. Fortunately Allen was there early also, so we at least had each other for company.

I had read on the internet that Scandinavian Line was the best service, but started having my doubts when busses started arriving. Allen assured me that these busses were going elsewhere, but the Arusha bus would be better. We spent the time watching literally hundreds of busses departing for all over the country, and other countries as well!

The time was progressing. 8.30 arrived and passed with no bus for Arusha. However, I was ready for this. You just have to “chill out”. There is nothing to be gained by getting excited. At about 9 a.m. The bus turned into the yard and we left by about 9.15 - only 45 minutes late, so that was not too bad.

Regardless of Allen’s claims, I could not see that this bus was ANY better than the others I saw, but it was comfortable and with all the windows open, it was not too hot. Apparently the air conditioning stopped working many years ago.

We are doing pretty good for about an hour and a half when the driver stopped to check the vehicle. He announced that there was a puncher, so there would be a short delay. Most of us got off the bus to see the free entertainment and after a while the offending wheel was off. So too were half the studs (the bolts that hold the wheel in place). This was not just a flat, if we continued we would be in real danger of loosing a wheel! Phone calls were made to headquarters, but to no avail.

Finally it was decided to remove one of the other back wheels, take off some of their studs and put them on the offending wheel. This they did with the willing help of a number of young men and the free advice of most of those who had gathered to watch. We were in a small village and entertainment of this sort does not come by that often.

After about 2 hours the studs were swapped and the wheel replaced. The driver did not look too happy, but we headed off anyway. Apparently there was a mechanic headed our way, so we would have help if we needed it.

We drove on for about an hour or so when the driver stopped to check the wheel. He announced that it was getting very hot because of friction and we were in danger of loosing the rest of the studs. The wheel was the wrong sort and the nuts would no tighten up as they should. We were in REAL trouble.

I had an idea that they could swap the offending wheel for in inner wheel on the back of the bus. This would save the friction problem as the outside wheel would hold it firm. I was sure they did not want advice for a muzungu (white man) so I left them to work it out.

Eventually that is just what they did and after another 2 hour wait we were on our way. The mechanic did turn up eventually with the wrong studs, so he was not much help really, though he was able to do some of the heavy work and save the driver and his conductor.

We were finally off again and we had no other mechanical problems. Unfortunately we were still only about half away to Arusha.

It was about 6 hours of hard driving to go through some beautiful country, but also through some torrential rain. I would like to be driving! About 11.30 p.m. We finally arrived in Arusha. The bus dropped me at the apartments and I was ready to drop into bed!

Everyday in Tanzania is an adventure and I thank God for his care and goodness.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Paul had it easy. At least with a shipwreck something happens, but when you're waiting around for a bus wheel to get fixed, there's not much you can do. Seriously though, I hope that it isn't too frustrating. Just think of Zanzibar ;)

Did you see what I'd put up on your Facebook wall about your blog?