Dar Es SalaamEasyjet have proven that it is possible to squeeze someone into a space 25% smaller than there body size - our "luxury" bus to Dar Es Salaam took this to a whole new level. We were levered into our seats with a crowbar before the seats in front were hydraulically reclined to squeeze the last breaths from our lungs. Believe it or not this did serve to benefit us - as it kept us in our seats as our typically suicidal bus driver who refused to slow down for anything, threw the bus round sharp corners like he was in a game of Sega Rally.To keep us distracted and remove us from our thoughts of death, he played a DVD with the sound turned down, presumably so he could concentrate on the job at hand. However we soon realised our presumption was wrongand in hindsight it was probably justIceCubes pitiful acting that he didn't want to listen to, as once the movie had finished it was replaced by, you guessed it - crap East African pop music, being belted out at decibel levels only exhibited by fighter jets. It was painful, even my Ipod couldn't drown out the sound.We finally arrived at Dar Es Salaam and were jimmied out of our seats. The bus station was strangely orderly, busily packed with psychopathic bus drivers driving psychedelic buses, but seemingly organised in contrast to chaotic Kampala.Dar Es Salaam is the biggest city in Tanzania, and although its not, it may as well be the capital, - just like Sydney back home (I can hear the Mexicans wailing as I write this). We jumped in a cab and checked ourselves into a budget hotel in the centre of town. We had heard bad things about the place, that it was hot, dusty, smelly, and chaotic and perhaps it was because we wandering the deserted Sunday streets and had a chance to ease our way in to Dar life, but our first impressions were that we liked the place. It was not nearly as big as we expected, and it wasn't great, but it was ok.There was no barbecued goat on offer, so we settled for a Chinese banquet for tea. The restaurant looked authentic enough, red walls, gold dragons and some of those goldfish with the bulgy eyes that look like they've been squeezed too hard. We were seated at a table, complete with lazy Susan (I love these things although they are a bit pointless for 2 people) and opposite some rowdy pissed Chinamen sculling some sort of clear spirit. There was of course the quintessential Chinese lady shuffling hurriedly about barking orders at her staff, and we got a genuine sort of feel about the place. In fact, had there not been African waiters, we may have thought we were in Beijing, or Hang Sings in downtown Blayney. The service was slow, but the food was excellent and by far and away the best Chinese we had had in Africa - although when I think about it the only other time I can remember eating Chinese was when I got food poisoning in Mozambique, so that doesn't really do it much justice.The next day we wandered aimlessly about town. We stumbled along some obviously lost Masaii that were as intrigued by us as we were by them, and enquired at the Zambian Embassy about Visas. We strolled down to the local fish market for lunch in the hope of finding some freshly cooked seafood, but like everywhere the only cooked food was chicken and rice or chips. It was a crazy place, there were masses of people, piles of fish, guts and scales everywhere, prawns as big as your arm and squid that would take out a submarine - I loved it. It was so interesting watching the people bid and barter, but we were devastated there was not a cooked crustacean to be seen.We wandered to the market across the road and to a place that looked like something out of the industrial revolution. Giant boilers, smoke, flames and men covered in black soot deep-frying masses of fish to a crisp. The conditions would have been unworkable to most, and even the heat walking past was almost unbearable. We did manage to find some marinated octopus to curb our hunger but left the fish market thoroughly disappointed but only because we didnt have a kitchen at our hotel to make the most of the fresh seafood on offer.We returned to the Zambian embassy later that afternoon to submit our visa applications, only 30K Tanzanian Shillings (<$30) at the embassy compared with the $50 at the border. Although applications weren't due to close for another hour or so, we were met with a cold reception from the Embassy employee, typically unenthusiastic about having to deliver the application upstairs that day and wanting us to return the following. After plenty of pleading, he stated " Ill see what I can do" and sent us on our way. In complete contrast to the steely worker inside, the overly friendly young security guard at the gate was so super-friendly it almost freaked us out. He was genuinely nice, always greeting us with a big smile and salutation, and when we returned the following day to collect our passports he asked us "will you be my friend" and even gave us his details to write to him. Digressing a little - This is not so uncommon in Africa, random people you have met for five minutes asking you to be their friend like back in the days of pre-school, and giving you their details so you can contact them when you get home. Its all a bit strange at first, especially considering most wouldnt be able to afford a stamp to reply, but you get used to it and just have to accept it with a smile. What i feel bad about though is when they ask if youre going to write them - I always ask myself what the best response is here, and although Im often thinking "I dont even know you, why would i write to you" through better judgement I usually just nod politely, smile awkwardly and walk away muttering "freak" under my breath. As I was saying, we returned the following day to the embassy and when we approached the same staff member he started shaking his head and mumbling something we couldnt understand. I was preoccupied with my phone that had started ringing and when I returned to the moment Karen indicated that his whole demeanour was a gag. I felt a little bad that the whole thing went straight over my head, old mate looked so proud of his acting skills that in truth he'd probably been rehearsing all morning (as you could imagine things in the Zambian Embassy in Tanzania never get too hectic), but on this occasion his audience wasnt giving him their undivided attention. We thanked him repeatedly, and as Kaz reiterated the joke I laughed belatedly. Thankfully he was pretty pleased with himself at getting the job done as we wandered out of the embassy and turned to wave we noted the big smile across his face, like a kid who had just been applauded for completing his homework.The rest of our time in Dar was split between wandering the streets, the internet and another street side tandoori chicken bbq where we became repeat customers.