Tanzania - Ujiji
Took a minibus to nearby town of Ujiji and walked a further 15minutes in light rain down a long dirt track towards the lakeshore. Today this is a Moslem area with shacks labelled "Scud Café" and "Osama Bin Laden". Unwittingly the local kids greeted me with "Goodbye" all the way along the road - I wasn’t sure if they were trying to give me a subtle hint. About ½km before the present shoreline was a building with walled garden under an enormous mango tree. This was where the lakeshore had been in Livingstone’s time and the tree marks the spot where Stanley, the willing correspondent of the "New York Herald" sent by the son of the editor James Gordon Bennett junior, famously uttered "Dr Livingstone I presume?". A memorial stone had been built and placed by the Royal Geographical Society in 1927 - the curator was keen to have their address so he could write and ask for their continuing support. I happily obliged. He also proudly told me that this place was also "famously" visited by Michael Palin for "Pole to Pole" in 1991.
On the way back, I went past an old cinema and very nearly asked to be let out. The idea of making a coffee table book of old African cinemas has been growing on me. Sadly I let this one slip away.
Back in Kigoma, I went to the market, bought bread and water, mosquito coil, a nylon shopping bag and looked at lots of "kitenge" (dress making fabric) from Congo, Nigeria (!) and Tanzania but managed to resist the urge to buy. Rather boringly I had lunch in the same restaurant and then set about copying photos to a CD. This took a lot longer than I’d have wished mainly because there was a power cut and the shopkeeper had to borrow a generator and then workout how to connect it. Just how do you connect these things up? Obvious once you know, you turn off the mains switch, then you make up a lead with a mains PLUG at both ends. You plug one into the socket on the side of the generator and the other into ANY mains socket in the circuit! Of course the crucial thing would be never to touch the plug connected to the generator.
Back at the hotel I managed to organise a 10 minute taxi for 0430 the following morning for almost the same fare as the 12 hour bus to Mwanza. Not impressed but there didn’t seem to be any alternatives.
The power went off again later that night which meant the hotel’s tacky fluorescent lighting around the grounds went off and I could appreciate the "necklace" of fishing boat lights strung along the horizon - I counted more than fifty.
I enjoyed Kigoma but the hotel was shoddy despite its lakeside location and I was happy to be moving on.
Tanzania - Ujiji