The East African coast is full of mystery and history, the guys here have been trading as far as India and Yemen for 4,000 years according to my guide book and I love looking at the sea and dreaming of the past lives and traveller adventures. Work has been too much to go far during the last week, but Sunday the rain let up and I put on running shoes and headed east, ending up for the first break at the peaceful botanical gardens, admiring the quiet tranquillity, the smooth lawns and beautiful trees and almost tame peacocks striding around, or hopping over the wall to head across the road and check out the pavements opposite.
Further East I hit Ocean Road and turned north past greenery and palm trees, past the Gates of Eternity (how did the two stone posts get that name?) and past crowds eating fresh coconuts. A Chinese girl gave me a beautiful complicit grin as she tucked into an icecream. Tanzanians are invariably friendly, welcoming and don’t make you feel like a stranger even if you are behaving strangely (jogging for instance).
After the bridge I ran out of steam and walked along Kenyatta Drive, past the high commissioners and ambassadors’ residences, admiring their views of skyscrapers 5km or so south with the breeze drifting off the sea. Then on to Coco Beach, crowded with fun seekers including mother and child groups with ladies fully covered in black clambering down the coral rocks to the sand to watch their happy children, saw 2 happy African dads snapping small daughters with neat hair in front of the waves, the beach restaurant full of life and soccer fans going wild at the final goals.
Getting lost on Haile Selassie road was a drag, the road signs have given up by here and few of the poeple walking along the road knew the street names or places I was asking for. Eventually I was back on track but it was dark and time was running out so had to negotiate a bajaj back to town, the wind helping to dry some of the non-stop sweat. Starting to feel more at home.