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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Monday 2 February 2009

by Suzan Abrams
There is no electricity in downtown Dar today so out come dozens of hardy little generators with their whirring noises for the richer shops, restaurants and wholesalers. I feel I've slipped down a time machine...so ancient is the old world charm that beguiles me. Dar has preserved its British colonial history very well and I walk briskly amidst its treasured heritage of achitectural ruins and buildings and try not to knock over any crate carrying passengers or ladies bearing heavy baskets of vegetables and fruits with clever dexterity upon their heads. In between the lot of us, are honking cars, buses, vans, motorcycles and bicycles that speed by from dangerous angles. I go to take tea in Mr. N. Ali's popular tearoom...the haunt of businessmen who all crave a moment of leisure from dull dusty offices. The charming Mr. Ali with a few wives -all reputed to get on like a house on fire - serves me his best tea in his best cup and leads me to his best chair.
Having come from a Dublin winter, even earlier trips to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore could not subdue me, I sweat profusely, my perspiration betraying the clear fact that I am very much the foreigner and stranger to this land.