|Ticket to ride|
Tue 15 Jul
I arrived in Dar es Salaam and after a short taxi ride made my rendezvous with my friend Barry who’d arrived 30mins earlier on an overnight flight from UK. We kept the taxi, calling at a café for breakfast, and then on out to the TAZARA railway station on the edge of town. We arrived about 11am, five hours early, plenty of time to sort out the minor matter of the missing tickets.
The ticket office knew we had booked and the tickets had been paid for but as they had been collected there was nothing they could do. Over the hours that followed they were very helpful with advice, the use of their mobile phone and questions. Questions like "Who collected them?" "Where are the tickets now?" and "Why didn’t you simply ask for them to be kept at the station?"
We devised a rescue plan. If we could get a police statement confirming the tickets had been lost then the station-master would be able to prepare a letter "to whom it may concern" permitting us to travel against the original booking.
There were still three hours to go and the police station was "just up the road". I walked, I smiled, I explained. The duty officer rang the ticket office and then understood. He took me to a side office, found a piece of blank paper, a biro and a ruler. He ruled a side margin and a line across the top. He then proceeded to write out in long hand a statement, copying style and essential details from the pile of statements on the desk. He wrote slowly and carefully. He was taking a long time. I was wondering what else would be involved, where else delays may come from, but decided there were still a few hours to go, so not to worry.
Eventually the police officer finished writing. He seemed pleased with his work. He called a colleague and handed him the paper. A second opinion probably? No! He asked him to go and type it out; the whole thing had just been a rough copy.
|Ticket to ride|