27 febbraio 2007

tanzania tips

Here are some travel tips about Tanzania collected in my recent trip. I used a lonely planet guidebook and I wrote some note only in case of lack or inaccurate information. Because infrastructures for independent travelers is quite limited, I guess these informations are suitable for other guidebooks too. Hope this helps.

Dar es Salaam
Is not so easy to find places serving beer. A good one is a bar near the fish market, on the seafront.
Jumheri Street is the road to go to eat. Sonny restaurant have good and various grilled meat. New passion restaurant serves beer and a meat-with-bananas stew. Kadri tea room is great for lunch with a llunch with a lot of Indian snacks (about 300 shillings) served with crushed coconut sauce.
I slept in safari inn, 20 USD double room with bathroom, good.
At Scandinavian bus station it is safe to take a free pickup to meru house inn, the hotel is good too, it costs 10000 Tsh (the price listed is little bit more, but it’s easy to have a discount), but avoid Victoria Expeditions (ground floor) for safaris (car breakdowns and program shorted). Since Arusha at night is quite scary, near meru inn there are a change and an internet point.
Near there, Arusha backpackers hotel costs 5/10/15 USD s/d/tr, looks better, but restaurant is expensive. Meru house restaurant is cheaper but serves backpacker food.
For Tanzanian dinner style (grilled meat eaten by hands, waiters coming with hot water for hand washing before and after dining) go to Pama bar in Wachanga road (better by taxi).
During safari, other safari operators as Sunny Safaris and Safari Makers looked better. At least they have better equipment, newer cars and gave essential tips to our driver to repair our car.
Shorting programs affects all guided tours in Tanzania, cultural programs too (healer is not here, knife maker went at market, and so on).

For accommodation, moshi backpacker hotel (ex Deville) looks good (4/8/12 dollars s/d/tr).
I went to a&a accommodation, 12000 tsh, good, no breakfast.
For food, East African Pub Inn have Tanzanian grill, lot of atmosphere, same road of a&a.
Hill restaurant serves cheap snacks for lunch (no beer, they are Muslim), if you don’t want to lunch with fruit in street stalls (pili-pili mango is great).
For sunset views of Kilimanjaro, take a beer at kindokoro hotel’s roof bar. His restaurant looks expensive, but has good atmosphere.
Is a very small town.
Tumaini hotel, good location, 17000 tsh, decent. There are two restaurants; one inside serves tourist food, one outside serves Tanzanian food, none of two serves beer.
Lushoto sun is not so good, but lets you bring beer from outside.
The best option to eat is near the bus station: at Checkpoint bar (where of course you can have all drinks and sit at table) there is a butcher/cook serving grilled beef for 2000 tsh/half kilo). In front of this, you can buy (and bring) mishikaki at 200 tsh and Tanzanian food like ugali.
Irente viewpoint: easy walk, don’t need guide, it takes 1 hour and half one way. You’ll meet villages and many people, luckily few cars. Irente farm’s picnic lunches are a good deal (3000 tsh), it’s worth to buy cheese (2500 for a 350 gr. piece).
Near catholic church there is a football court where it’s easy to join locals to play (from 4 p.m. to sunset)

Ocean breeze hotel was full, so I went in malindi hotel (12000 tsh double with bathroom), quite good.
Patwas restaurant have very good juices.
Kurutu camping’s restaurant is expensive (dishes from 10000 tsh), but is worth at least for various shrimps menu page. If you want to dine there, consider that you’ll have to add taxi fares to reach restaurant from downtown Tanga to restaurant bill.
Mary Nice Place is an example of how a guidebook mention can be a fortune for a place and a ruin for each other: not so nice, not so cheap (15000 Tsh per double room), far and in the middle of nowhere, has dilapidated rooms (no mosquito nets). Breakfast is not included, costs 2500 Tsh per person. Thanks to lonely planet they put many signposts in town and they are building more rooms.
If you have lp guidebook (this means you don’t have other options for accommodation), the best option is to go at tourism school information office, and buy a town map (actually is a photocopy of bradt guidebook map) for 2000 tsh (expensive, but includes an offer to the school) where you can find at least other 10 lodges.
Other hotels are on the seaside but sea is not very clean in the strip from mission to kaole ruins.
For local food, New Top Life bar restaurant serves ugali with fish for about 2500 tsh.

Union beach decent bungalows with sea views cost 30 USD.
“Mama restaurant local dishes” is basic but serves good ugali with chicken for 1500 Tsh
Beach restaurants for dinner have all same price (8000/10000 seafood main course):
Baraka has small menu and slow service;
Fat fish has wide portions, quick and attentive service and large menu (most grill) and real sea view;
Moose goose pub: quick and wide, Zanzibar cuisine dishes (if you can see the difference);
Langi langi: not extended menu, don’t serves beer, decent quality, quantity and waiting time.
In 20 minutes walk south you can reach kendwa, highly recommended, no danger of muggings as many people do it, virtually every spot is great for swimming.
Kendwa beach is more beautiful than Nungwi but atmosphere is different because there are many expensive resorts (insistent sellers).
From Nungwi walking north, behind dhow harbour, there is a lighthouse and a turtles aquarium (entry 2 USD or 2500 TSH; often staff mishandle turtles in order to show you better, ask to not do) and a very hot water beach (beware of small jellyfish).
For beach football at sunset, the best places are the two beaches just south of cholo bar.
Cholo bar, with hammocks and other weirdness, is the place where all tourists, and all locals wanting to interact with tourists, go to drink. To find local people's bars, follow the music and/or lights.
Transport: if you book a shuttle bus from stone town to nungwi (5 USD) ask if some passenger is going to kendwa (in this case the trip is 1 hour longer as road is horrible).
Stone town
Accommodation: victoria, florida, malindi, flamingo hotel are all about 30 USD double with bath.
I slept at pyramid hotel, 25 USD double with bath. Traditional Zanzibar style rooms and beds, good breakfast with fruits on the roof (not panoramic).
Monsoon restaurant has attracting menu, atmospheric site, sitting on pillows, good food, is worth for a luxury dinner (10000 tsh main course), of course you’ll not see locals dining there. Note that side dishes are the most part of main course (nevertheless are good too).
House of wonders is worth a visit, for views and expositions.
Street food: are available mangoes, jackfruit, cassava, coconuts, corn.
In forodhani gardens, food is various and attractive, until you’ll not realize that is the same for days and days (is already cooked, by the way).
Beer is very expensive, 3000 tsh and there is no way to bargain.

19 febbraio 2007

da Vicenza

Sono rimasto a Vicenza fino a domenica sera, e ormai tutto quello che c'era da raccontare è già stato raccontato.
Posso solo aggiungere che la manifestazione è stata effettivamente grandissima, tanto che più di metà di cartelli e striscioni di cui si parlava sui giornali di domenica, non li ho visti dal vivo. Non avevo visto ad esempio lo spezzone dei centri sociali, il gruppo dei parlamentari e neanche i famosi striscioni di solidarietà agli arrestati.

Ho anche scoperto che Kelebek è famosissimo. Appena uscito sul piazzale della stazione di Vicenza ho sentito urlare "Miguel Martinez" e si è formato un capannello di gente intorno a lui per salutarlo.

A Vicenza si è parlato al lungo di un'altra brutta storia, quella dei 113 aerei da guerra Joint Strike Fighter che il governo italiano comprerà dagli Stati Uniti, per la modica somma di 13 mila miliardi (quasi mezza finanziaria), che saranno assemblati vicino a Novara e che, nota per i sostenitori del "porta occupazione", daranno lavoro a regime soltanto a 200 persone. Ma ci sarà tempo di parlarne, perché questa storia non può finire così.

Nelle foto (cliccare per ingrandirle), dall'alto in basso:
1 - l'applauditissimo gruppo di manifestanti americani contrari alla base;
2 e 3 - manifestanti creativi (in italiano e veneto);
4 - panorama di vicenza (patrimonio mondiale dell'umanità) da monte Berico: in alto a destra si vede la basilica palladiana, al centro c'è il duomo e in alto a sinistra, l'area verde con una striscia di cemento in mezzo è il sito dove si vorrebbe fare la base di guerra.

14 febbraio 2007

qualcosa di sinistra

«Sarebbe bene ricordare le persecuzioni fasciste contro le minoranze slovena e croata e la repressione italiana contro la Resistenza jugoslava dopo l'ignobile aggressione fascista a questo stato. [...]Dico questo non certo per giustificare lo scempio delle foibe ma per pronunziare eque condanne[...]Onore a Napolitano ma non sarebbe male che visitando Trieste, onori le Foibe, onori la Risiera di San Saba, e non dico vada, ma almeno mandi un fiore alla lapide in ricordo dei giovani d'etnia slovena in provincia di Trieste fucilati da un reparto delle forze armate italiane per aver rifiutato di prendere le armi contro la propria gente».

Si potrebbe pensare (sperare) che queste parole, piuttosto equilibrate, siano state pronunciate da un politico di sinistra, oppure da uno storico.
Invece no, le ha dette Cossiga, il picconatore. E per la prima volta nella vita mi tocca pure dargli ragione.

13 febbraio 2007

a Vicenza

Perché a Vicenza, già adesso, 1.586.000 metri quadri di territorio della città sono occupati dall'esercito americano.
Perché in Sardegna, alla Maddalena, l'acqua è radioattiva in quanto nel 2003 c'è stato un incidente a un sottomarino nucleare americano, incidente negato finché non ce n'è stata l'evidenza.
Perché le stragi (impunite) di Ustica e del Cermis sono state provocate da militari americani partiti da basi in Italia.
Perché la guerra in Irak ha causato 600.000 morti.
Perché gli Stati Uniti d'America sono governati fino alla fine del 2008 da un presidente guerrafondaio che è in grado di iniziare altre guerre in giro per il mondo.
Perché in Italia esistono già 113 basi militari americane.
Perché nel programma del governo in carica, perso tra le 200 pagine, c'era l'impegno a ridurre la presenza delle basi militari in Italia.
Per tutti questi motivi, sabato prossimo sarò a Vicenza.

09 febbraio 2007


“Con questa riforma noi attentiamo proprio all’ordinamento della famiglia”. Rutelli, Casini o Mastella che parlano dei PACS ? No, Stanislao Monti Guarneri, parlamentare cattolico, nel 1919, riferendosi alla proposta di estensione del diritto di voto alle donne.
Le donne hanno potuto votare solo a partire da ventisette anni dopo, nel 1946.

Molti diritti umani, che al giorno d’oggi sono acquisiti e assolutamente indiscutibili, sono stati contrastati e negati al lungo in nome della difesa della famiglia. E senza che nessuno abbia mai messo in discussione il diritto di formare una famiglia tradizionale.