Life of Bear

Survivor Dar es Salaam – Part 2

Part 2
Just because you wear a cowboy hat does not mean you will feel like Jeff Probst

Part 2 of my Dar trip saw the lack of arrival of our conference shipment from Cape Town. And by “lack of arrival” I actually mean “dirty pack of lies.” We had couriered over 800 kg’s via Air Freight from Cape Town over a month in advance. It was supposed to have arrived on the Wednesday. It went mysteriously “missing”  – missing being code word for the package being left in customs for an extra week so it could be pilfered by thieves.  Which it was. Ransacked.  Sigh.  Over the course of the week in which it was late, it was told various things – it had arrived at the hotel, but the hotel told them to take it away (hotel knows nothing about this); it is still stuck in customs; oh! The truck is on the way now (5hrs later); oh! the truck has broken down!; oh! The truck has been hijacked (serious). Sigh. We eventually got it back, after having 2 work two full conference days without all our stuff (read: Bear frantically printing out 5 months worth of conference preparation the night before..). Finally it all arrived, minus some hats and shirts (that are now proudly being sold on the side streets of Dar – because those cancer conference branded shirts are REALLY valuable and fashionable)

The same thing happened with our AV equipment – stuck in customs, never actually ever arrived! Luckily our AV crew had brought some excess baggage (R12,000 worth of excess baggage fees!) and we were able to make do with what few cables we had. It really was like, conference MacGyver.  How to pull off a conference with a pack of paper, a pen and a network cable – GO! Sigh


Other notable moments include:

  • Being viciously attacked giant sea crabs that rise out of sea, ly in wait for you to innocently walk past and then ambush you from behind a bush when you are walking alone at night. You could not even crush them with your foot because they were bigger than your feet (plural)
  • Hotel screwing up our accommodation booking so I had to share a double bed with my colleague. Not the end of the world, luckily my colleague is a heavy sleeper and my chronic sinusitis did not seem to bother her much. Although in all fairness, we were so tired, we could have fallen asleep on the beach and it would have yielded the same effect.
  • Having the Tanzanian President grace us with his presence, causing our programme to be delayed by 4 hours (the amount of time he was late). This means a programme that me and my boss had been working on for 18 months went completely out the window in the space of 4 hours. Sigh.
  • Having lunchboxes made for me to eat EVERYDAY for NINE DAYS. This is not so bad – what was bad was the hotel’s need to put EVERYTHING (savoury and sweet) in one box.. think fried fish, lying cosily next to a stale croissant, which is snuggled up to a piece of unpeeled banana. Everything I ate tasted like banana for 9 days. I never want to see that yellow skinned bastard again.
  • Coming home to our presidential suite to discover the air con making the most horrific noise ever. Too tired to call hotel to fix it, so turn it off. Lie down to discover it is dripping on our heads. Still too tired to call hotel. Turn heads and feet around so water drips on feet. Wake up in middle of night to discover drip has now turned into flood proportions. Colleague sleeps on couch in lounge. I turn my body vertically to avoid flood and go back to sleep. Fun times.
  • My uniform of my red t-shirt made me look like a petrol attendant. Someone actually said that.

    More to come later!


Survivor: Dar es Salaam – DAY 1

Hello all my wonderful minions,
Lord it is good to be home.

I have realised that if I want to give up my day job and become a full-time writer, I guess I need to spend some more time honing this blog thing……

Please find herein, Day One of my encounter in the African bush of Dar es Salaam. I was sent there for work on a cancer conference. The experience was.. very African. Please find details below.

NOTE: Excessive white female bitching below:

The past 9 days in Africa have honestly been pretty much the worst of my life. Not even the usually positive bear-attitude could even make things bright. For those of you who care; here is my summary of my experience – which I have fondly called “Survivor: Dar es Salaam.”

Day 1

The Tribe has spoken.

Started with a 4am airport pick up. To the airport. Where the new international departures terminal was opening. Fun times. Took 2 hours to check in. Everyone was grumpy and stressed. Again, it was also now 5am. Got stopped at xray machine and had a quick feel up. They also made me unpack my bag because they thought my pen was a screwdriver. Naturally.

6 hour trip to Dar. They forgot my veg meal. Nearly got arrested because refused to put my cowboy hat in stowage. Actually swore at air steward. Very grumpy at this stage. Watched in-flight movie. In-flight movie was stopped halfway because we landed. Couldn’t you have planned that better? Now I will never know the end to Night at the Museum Part 2. My life will remain eternally scarred.

Arrive in Dar. 40 degrees. Smelt like Africa. Badly.

Took 90min trip to 4 star hotel. 90mins turned out to be 2 hours. 4 star hotel turned out to be minus 4 stars.

Driving in Dar is quite an experience. There are no road markings. Cars feel the need to violently turn right whenever they feel like it. Goats roam the streets amongst the 5 (unmarked) lanes. Pretty much everyone just drives wherever the fuck they feel like it. (as do the goats). I had no safety belt. I was very afraid. My camera also did not feel like working, so I was forced to soak up the view.

Dar city is pretty much exactly like you would imagine it. People selling cigarettes, bananas and what I assume are drugs, litter the street. They have these rickshaw things (like in Durban) that weave out of the traffic. Deadly. Most of the places on the side of road in the city are mosques and shops made out of containers. They sell a lot of bottled water, goats, bicycles and lawn mowers. See picture attached. There are also a shed-load of palm trees. Unexpectedly.

We arrive at the 4 star hotel. Which, during the course of these emails as you will soon discover, was anything but 4 stars – but maybe back in the days before electricity was invented. This is said with a heavy irony. It was soon discovered that whenever I took a shower, it would trip the geyser, which would trip the generator, which would violently cut off the power between our 2 “presidential” (yes) suites. I actually ended up keeping a candle permanently in the bathroom. It also was discovered that the hot water was turned off after 6am and 10pm. Fab for the environment. Not fab for conference organisers who wake up at 5am and return at midnight (20hr day are the norm) and you can’t have a warm shower. I cried once and then became exceptionally grumpy and used the f*word A LOT for the duration of the trip.

Must go now, will continue tomorrow

Fun times.

More spam I am…

oooh; gotta to love these spam mails.. they TOTALLY brighten up my day 🙂 lol!

Greetings from Jenny Lee,

after going through your information over the internet i decided to contact you for friendship and assistance for distribution of my inheritance towards charity. My name is Jenny Lee; I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have for the good work of charity. I am 60 years old and I was diagnosed for breast cancer for about 2 years now.

I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to you for the good work of God, rather than allow my husband evil relatives to use my husband hard earned funds ungodly. They don’t care about man kind, all they care is how to rob some money from me and spend them ungodly. Please pray that the good Lord forgives me my sins. I have asked God to forgive me and I believe he has because He is a merciful God. I will be going in for a surgery soon and I want to make sure that I make this donation before undergoing my surgery.

I decided to donate the sum of $2,500,000 (two million five hundred thousand dollars) to you for the good work of the lord, and also to help the motherless and less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows and unfortunate mothers. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my husband’s relatives are always around me and trying to see if they can overhear my conversations and my health status as well.

I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others. I have informed my consultant about the ($2,500,000.00). it is true that I dont know you and you don’t know, but I have been directed by God to contact you for this. Thanks and God bless. I will direct you further after hearing from you.

NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished as I don’t want anything that will jeopardize my wish. Also I will be contacting with you only by email as I don’t want my husband relations or anybody to know because they are always around me.

Reply me through this my most private email: ( Regards, Mrs. Jenny Lee

Don’t be a dooce

how funny is this….

There is actually a term in the Urban Dictionary for “when you lose your job because of your blog.” Yup. Seriously.

To get “dooced” can mean: Getting fired because of something that you wrote in your weblog; to be fired from your job from talking about it on your blog,  to have all social hell break loose when people you know and/or family members finally find and read your blog.

wow… what facinating times we live in.. I wonder if you could get fired for chewing too much company band-width during working hours… ha ha.

i particually like how the word “dooce” sounds like my favourite word “douche” 😉

Spam I am

ha ha ! check this spam I got in my email box this morning – it’s a total WINNER! ha ha. these things are so entertaining – I wonder if some people actually fall for them?

How are you? i hope all is well with you, i hope you may not
know me, and i don’t know who you are, My Name is Miss Brenda khalifa  i am just broswing now i just saw your profle  it seams like some thing touches me all over my body, i started having some feelings in me which i have never experience in me before, so i became interested in you, l will also like to know you the more,and l want you to send an email to my email address
so l can give you my picture for you to know whom l am. I believe we can move from here! I am waiting for your mail to my email address above. (Remeber the distance or colour does not matter but love matters
alot in life) miss Brenda

Blogging and Jeffery Deaver

I was going to write a blog about my creepy serial killer neighbour (or the other neighbour, a lesiban wood-carver / pot-grower)… but I am hust too tired and want to go home and go to bed…

blogs about interesting neighbours to follow shortly once I get internet connection in my new place…

BUT; anyone who is interested in reading a good book; should try Jeffery Deaver’s Road Side Crosses… it’s a murder mystery thriller, written by the guy who wrote the Bone Collector, and its all about online blogging and social networking and the blur between reality and the online realm. Very VERY cool book. He also references REAL websites in his book; which you can then log onto and read along with the book; offering clues as to the how the book will unravel. what a cool idea – its a totally three dimensonial book; with clues from every angle. I’m still only half way through it – it’s awesome!

til then


moving upwards and onwards

argh; moving house is such a shelp. and I still have so much to do!!! but instead of calculating the amount of money I have spent on things like appliances and furniture, I will rather write a blog about it all! (how very un-bear!)

moving going well. I think we are almost ready to move in… bed however only arriving on Friday due to Mr Price 3 day Stock Take (grrrr!)… so we will hopefully be settled by Friday night… and by settled I mean surrounded by boxes, with still a crap load of well, crap still in boxes at my mothers! oh well..

for 2 people who have lived together for already 3 years, we a) have a surprising large amount of crap collected over the years and b) still need to spend money on a surprisingly large amount of crap..

I also have lived on Woolworths pies, Mc D’s breakfasts, Wasabi dim sum and the Italien’s Kitchen’s food produces due to only getting the microwave today… my personal trainer is going to kick my ass

more to come soon… tomorrow the fridge is arriving… it does not fit through the doorway so we have to take down part of the wall.. (my landlord does not know of this creative plan)… let’s see how this goes..

I also think the old grouchy man next door will yeild plenty of blog material… the Trellidoor people were drilling for less than 2mins and he already asked us to keep it down..!!! ha – fat chance old topie. Plenty of blog fodder here I reckon.. although I will miss my neighbour’s barking dog! <click here for the previous post> ha ha (not)

Back to my usual bear…

wow. today I LAUGHED for the first time since all this drama with my family and doggy of 2 weeks ago… like really, really LAUGHED! and I am not ashamed to say it was at the expense of someone else (who is a giant douche)..

my nemesis… who I could fill PAGES of my blog about; just on his daily ridicolous antics (he follows me around the gym; comes to Fish’s restaurant even though we’ve told him to piss off.. you get the picture) – he’s always around making an ass out of himself… but that would be immature and childish and I’m a bigger person than that.. it is a SHAME really, cause some of the stuff I could write is golden! but…i’m going to break my rule just this once…

So today, I was at the gym, and HE always follows me and my trainer around.. like if we go upstairs, he’ll come up stairs, if I am working by a certain machine, he’ll come a do crunches RIGHT next to me (even though I have not spoken to him for a year or so.. loser)..

now, he is such a lurker, he comes to gym with this manky backpack, which he carries around everywhere! and like, he never does any exercise, he just walks around the gym like a 14yr old girl lurking at Cavendish, smiling maniacally at people trying to make friends. I watch it from my treadmill everyday – hysterical. better than TV. but he never comes to gym to actually exercise.

so… today, he came and was doing crunches right by us (and said afterwards ” wow, that was like giving childbirth” – , I mean, bitch, please! – and then he got up and left (backpack in tow)…

Now to understand this joke, you must understand this turd’s hair.. it’s like Joey from FRIENDS, in 1991, with a truck load of grease from the movie GREASE ^2 x John Travolta in the 70’s kinda-greasy hair. And then he slicks it back.. I think he think it makes him feel like Quentin Tarantino or something (explains his usual 90’s get up of black polo-neck and leather jacket)…

In fact, his hair looks EXACTLY like this:

EXACTLY like this, but a bit longer, more mullet-esque

EXACTLY like this, but a bit longer, more mullet-esque

WOW, this was supposed to be a short post, but now I’ve opened up the bitch-fest I can’t seem to stop…. oh well, let’s continue!

So I say to my trainer… “I wonder what he keeps in that backpack that he carries around all the time…” and she goes:

“maybe it’s a giant comb for his slicked back hair”

OMG i laughed so hard, I fell off my stability ball and hit the wall!!! but it was so worth it.

<ok, I know it’s probably more hysterical if you actually know the guy (like some of you do 😉 – but I feel better anyway – and that’s all that matters ;)>

Maybe if I lose the moral high ground, I will share some more stories of my nemesis sometime 😉

lights out..

argh! I am falling asleep at my desk….

I gave up drinking coffee about 2 years ago, and if I do ever have a coffee, it’s a very milky latte and it happens only when I HAVE too do it (like when I go to Vida E and they actually DON’T serve ANYTHING but coffee). Which happened yesterday.

Milky Latte at 17h20…

…and at 02h45am I was still WIDE awake. I am totally exhausted. about to pass out on my desk for a nap. damn caffeine and my granny-complex…

Ambient Tea…

Today I am back at work. urgh, i have to pretend that I am able to function like a human being.

I was making a cup of tea in the kitchen, when I read the writing on the back of my organic honey bush tea…

“For the perfect cup of tea, ensure that you store in a cool, dry and ambient place”

My god, now, not only to I have a whole shit-load of other important things to worry about – like “life” – but now I also need to make sure that my tea is stored in a room with the correct ambience. and what would really be the correct “ambience” for a box of organic honey bush tea? I don’t know really.. wow. mind blowing.

fabulous. just one more thing to add to my list of growing concerns..