Thursday, August 31, 2006


Some of you might recall from my post about a week ago that I left my hoodie in a taxi cab in Nairobi on the way to the airport because I was so distracted by controlling my nausea. Well, the lack of hoodie hasn't been a problem in Tanzania, but as I am heading to Ethiopian highlands, I thought I should remedy the jacket situation before I left.

I looked around some of the little stores near my hotel, but as anyone who has ever been to these places before can tell you, it's not like I can just walk into a GAP. Defeated, I asked the hotel front desk manager where I should go, and she gave me one. dreaded. word.


Kariakoo is a particular area of Dar es Salaam, but she was referring to Kariakoo Market, a place where sensible muzungus (remember your swahili, everyone!) fear to tread. Why should we fear to tread there? Well, it's not a typical tourist stop, so the appearance of one muzungu is cause for much comment - lots of being yelled at, including my favorite, "Hey whitey!" from those who think that being from elsewhere means you know absolutely no swahili words.

But, to Kariakoo I went. The last time I was there, I was in a large group, so it wasn't so bad. THis time, by myself, it was much worse. This was compounded by the fact that it is extremely difficult to get a jacket in a place that's about 5 degrees south of the equator. This was even more compounded by the fact hat I was specifically looking for western-style clothes. They aren't difficult to find in Dar es Salaam, per se, but it's hard to find things that are tasteful.

You know your stuff that you give to goodwill? A lot of it ends up here, and in other African cities where it is sold to people. This means that much of the western style clothing for sale has been given away for a reason. If I wanted a red and blue fuzzy button up jackt, I could have had that. If I wanted a jean jacket with faux fur around the neck and arm, I could have had that. I could have had a shiny brown trenchcoat if I wanted. There was even a shop full of ski jackets. But a simple hoodie? More difficult.

I finally found a place that sold a series of sportswear outfits. I picked out a tasteful Nike hoodie with blue accents. According to the tag, it is size XXXXL. I put it on, and I would estimate it's somewhere between a medium and a large. It's made in the phillipines, so maybe it is a 4x there, but it certainly SHOULDN"T be here. The zipper doesn't work so well, and they made me buy the pants that came with it (which are also marked 4X, but would likely be a tight fit on La Blonde Parisienne), but I had a hoodie once more.

Of course, by that point, I was also hopelessly lost. And, far be it for them t put anything as useful as SIGNS on STREETS! I finally found someone who know where I was going and was able to point me in the right direction ... only after I had someone point me in the wrong direction. I think this is karmic payback for the times I've accidently given people the wrong directions in New York.

But my mission was accomplished, and I can keep warm!

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