Category Archives: Europe

Back to ‘Blighty’

I sit here in the lounge of my parents-in law watching Wimbledon – the Ladies Semi-Finals (Kerber vs Williams). It’s almost like we’ve never been away.

It’s our first day back in England (Blighty is an old-fashioned term for Britain / England). It was a long and somewhat stressful trip back with Turkish Air / Fast Jet.

It all started back in Mwanza with a lengthy conversation  with a ‘jobsworth’  Fast Jet official who insisted that although on weight – we were only allowed one bag each on the plane – this was neither on the ticket or clearly described in the small print – we almost missed our flight!

In Dar Es Salaam – we discovered our 3 am flight was delayed by six hours – resulting in a sleepless night in the Airport. The reason for the delay was never fully explained though attributed to technical difficulties. The result of all this delay was that we would miss our connecting flight from Istanbul to London. Thankfully but after a hour long, 1 – 2am wait in the airport we were re-scheduled for a later flight.

The delay was almost 7 hours in the end and got us into Istanbul with a little over an hour to spare before check-in. So a quick taste of European culture (Café Nero) before boarding our Heathrow flight. Arriving back in the UK about 9pm we realised that of our 7 bags, 3 were still in Istanbul. One of the three belonged to Anita who had no clothes, one to me who had no other shoes but sandals, the other to my daughter.
These were subsequently put on another flight – but one bag only has arrived thus far – the others having taken an even later flight back and expected late this evening. Although all these will be couriered across – things are still very frustrating.

I’m told this is the perils of long-haul travel – just hoping our journey back to Mwanza will be less of an ordeal.

 

Out of Africa

By the time this is published we will be Out of Africa on route to Europe, back to Britain.

We return with anticipation and expectation and just a little trepidation. For the first time we will be in the UK as visitors. 

We are of course looking forward to seeing family and friends back in our former home – but Tanzania feels like home two years on. 

How much has Britain changed in these past two years? The events of the past fortnight makes us wonder how much Britain has pulled up the drawbridge and turned it’s back on the world. We are definitely (as most expats here) Internationalists and  have been shocked by the Brexit from Europe. There’s no intent to get political here – just a statement of fact.

The weather is somewhat uninviting to us, the rain and lower temperatures are a challenge. We are hoping for a heatwave in the UK!

Then there’s the cost of living which will be significant as we will need to exist on Tz Wages. An example Is such that a good meal out for 2 here is about the same as a couple of Costa Coffees. 

The pace of life will be faster than we’ve gotten used to here and two years away from most TV means we’re gonna definitely be out of touch.

We are looking forward to 

Cinema – the nearest to here is in Kigali (Rwanda) or possibly Kampala (Uganda).
Cheese – this is expensive here and limited in both variety and quality.

Wholemeal Bread – white is common here and fresh baked bread by our house worker is good – but I miss good brown bread.

Pork / bacon /sausages etc – available in places but very expensive in the main. Good Lincolnshire sausages are definitely on my list. Chorizo sausage is a definite miss – no such thing here. 

Coffee / Coffee Shops – although an expense we miss Costa Coffees and their ilk. Good ground coffee is available in Rwanda and Arusha/Moshi but is quite difficult to pick up in Mwanza. 

Good chocolate – though we have now found panacea that sell reasonable chocolate here – it tends to be the Cadbury’s variety. We used to indulge in the occasional trip to Hotel Chocolat back in the UK and enjoy a higher quality of Chocolate.

Italian Food – not easy to get here – Pizzas bought locally are dreadful (lacking cheese and containing carrot it avocado). There are no Italian Restaurants, probably our favorite food type. 

Last, but not least family – a chance to catch up properly without the vague ties of Skype and FaceTime

The major change coming our way is in our family as we are leaving Tanzania as four and will return here as three. My eldest awaits examination results, but all things well, will be heading to University in the UK in the Autumn as not returning back.

We have spent some of the last few days visiting some favorite haunts in Mwanza. Yesterday we visited Tunza and spent a morning there having breakfast and then playing Mah Jongg. 

Our journey out of Africa has not been smooth – from the FastJet jobsworth in Mwanza who nearly cost us our flight to the six hour delay which meant a 3am flight became a 9am take off.

In Mwanza the issue was that inspire of the fact our bags were the correct combined weight the aforementioned jobsworth insisted that we were allowed only one bag each – this resulted in a lot of discussion before a superior let us through.

In Dar we arrived to see that technical problems caused a 6hr delay and a long, sleepless night in the airport. Just hoping the rest goes more smoothly.