Travel Journal

Dar the best laid plans of mice and men

(Tuesday 25 January 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 160-161 1/12-13/11
We got into town about one o’clock and checked into the same hotel we stayed at before as we planned to catch a bus to Lusaka the next morning. I went to check on tickets at Scandanavian Bus lines as their website boasted an air condition bus for 60,000 Tsh with daily departures for Lusaka but the woman at the front desk said the company doesn’t exist anymore. Julie, meanwhile, checked on the airline tickets but the office was closed for Zanzibar Independence Day even though we weren’t in Zanzibar. I went out on a ticket hunt while Julie tried to contact the agents so we could get the tickets and leave the next morning. I checked with a couple brokers and the cheapest I could get was 105,000 Tsh. Julie finally got a hold of the agent who came to the office and we discovered the wait list didn’t pan out and it was actually a wait list for the super economy seats and that they were closed out but we could get the regular seats for 800 USD each instead of the 400 we thought we were getting.
We told the agent that was too much. It was getting too late to hope to catch a bus so we resigned ourselves to spending another night in Dar. Thinking it over that night, I changed my mind and wanted to visit Madagascar as I doubt I would ever be traveling in this part of the world again. Julie was hesitant to spend the extra money. The next day she checked on changing her flight to the Philippines to leave earlier while I was away so she wouldn’t have to wait for my return but to cancel her original flight came with a hefty cancelation penalty so she agreed to go with me. Because our friends at the travel agency did not take credit cards, we had been withdrawing the max from the ATM the past few days and now had to get even more out with the price increase. We finally went back with about 2,500,000 Tsh which is quite a wad of money – reminds me of Vietnamese money!
A taxi driver took us to a couple of more ticket agents which were selling seats for 75,000 for the journey to Lusaka but they were not air condition and they would have to stop at the border for the night before continuing the next day instead of driving straight through. We decided to go back to the broker I had talked to the previous day. He dropped the price to 95,000 and while he admitted there was no air con, he said that it was a nice bus, it was assigned seating and there would be no one standing in the aisle and that the bus went straight through to Lusaka so we paid him, got a receipt and he would pick us up the next morning to drive us to the bus station.
We got a good meal at an outdoor bar-b-que and stocked up on snacks for the bus ride before sleeping that night.


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