Tanzania - Mwanza
Wed 8 Oct
A lazy start - the plan for the next few days was to enjoy relaxing in Tanzania’s second largest town - maybe there’ll be a camera shop selling spare batteries for my new camera (dream on).
I was concerned that I was unable to lock the bathroom window of my room and when the waitress rearranged the sausages on my breakfast plate using her fingers I decided to have a look at the hotel recommended by the guidebook. It was nicer and cheaper and there were fewer things that weren’t working.
I went to check ferry times. The weekly service across Lake Victoria to Bukoba was cancelled this week - I could go in eight days time if I was prepared to hang around (at least one bus a day does this in four hours). So I wandered on around the lakeshore to another harbour area and got talking to the Asian owner of MV Juliana. This was departing the next morning at 0900, stopping at lots of islands the furthest of which would be a four hour local boat ride on to the "mainland" and a motor road where I should be able to get a lift. Alternatively if it all looked too difficult I could stay on the boat and return. Mwanza had already failed to impress me. One more night would be OK and 0900 departure would mean a civilised start.
I wandered back into town, found an ATM, bought some provisions and other things that had been on the shopping list for a while - soap dish, lip sun stick, shopping basket, Swahili phrase book and some books to read. The second-hand book stall also had two editions of National Geographic magazine, one from October 1959 and the other from July 1968. These collectors’ pieces were going for US$1.20 each - I was very tempted but decided they’d be too heavy to carry across the rest of Africa. I moved my luggage to the better hotel and then walked down to the shore and along the waterfront - more of those giant pebbles - lots of waterfowl - mainly egrets and some herons; and some local boys that happily posed in silhouette.
Found an internet café and started making enquiries about northern Uganda. The British High Commission website was very negative. Also caught up with a few people, although annoyingly I lost 20 minutes typing when the town had a power cut.
Tanzania - Mwanza