If you can believe it, we were kidnapped and robbed within 24 hours of arriving into the country.
So… let’s begin the tale.
The night before the ‘incident’ took place, one of my best mates and I touched down into Dar es Salaam (the biggest city in Tanzania). As soon as we arrived we did what any proper backpacker would. We rushed from the airport to our hotel, check in as fast as humanly possible and then went to find some beer. Unfortunately, the only place that was open was a tiny, cockroach-infested shop/bar. So instead of drinking outside we grabbed a six pack each and headed back to the hostel to toast our soon to be ‘African Adventure’!
Even though we woke the next morning with fuzzy heads, we headed out to see what Dar es Salaam had to offer.
We mainly stuck to all the tourist trappings our guidebooks suggested. Which involved the botanical gardens, the main high street and the museum. We ended our morning tour of Dar es Salaam at some local fast food joint for lunch.
Even though it was fun walking around, ‘human ticks’ constantly harassed us. If you don’t know what I mean – these are what I call people, who follow you around all day, pestering you with offers of taking you to unnamed bars, city tours, mammoth bus journeys etc…
Anyways… that first morning we had a grand total of 3 ‘ticks’ who followed us around ALL morning and afternoon. The first one’s name slips my mind, the second one called himself ‘Mufasa’ (of course he did – what a LAD ) and the 3rd called himself ‘Steve’.
Each ‘tick’ had a great idea of a club to go to in the evening and some of them were even lovely enough to offer us a free lift – which we obviously turned down ever so politely, being the lovely Brits that we are.
Even with that said, for god know what reason, we actually thought Steve was a nice guy. It was probably because he had brand new Nike shoes and a sparkling new iPhone.
God – I feel like a right plonker now I’m putting my story down on paper.
We met Steve for the second time, while we were having lunch, and had a good chat to him about life, football etc. We liked him enough to take down his mobile phone number and agreed to call him later.
After our lunch with Steve we went and bought our bus tickets north. We then went back to our hotel to chill for a couple of hours. Once the night came, we put on our party pants and headed out in the pursuit of beer and food.
The first place we managed to buy a beer from was genuinely cool! In order to buy a beer we were ushered to the back of this tiny restaurant where we were able to smoke and drink outside their kitchen. It was an idea setting for our first brew.
The next place was a bit grimier with iron rods surrounding the bar in such a way that it looked like either the customers were in prison or the bar staff were… just a little bit dodgy eh?! But who doesn’t like that kind of bar when you’re travelling?!?
So to keep the next 7 hours brief, as I don’t want to bore you, this is how we were ‘kidnapped’ and robbed in Africa.
After a couple of pints with Steve and his ‘Uncle’, they told us that they were heading to a club/bar about 10minutes out of town and wanted us to join them.
This was coincidentally where we were heading to – after being recommended the bar by other travellers (The Mango Garden).
Seeing as they were driving they offered us a lift. However, we were still quite hesitant to get into a car with 2 guys we had only just met. So we told them we needed to go back to the hostel, get changed and then we’d see them there.
Even with that said, they continued to offer to wait for us… and because you don’t kick a gift horse in the teeth, we agreed to go together once we’d showered and changed.
As soon as we arrived back at the pub we all went to get into Steve’s Uncle’s car. As I was trying to open the door behind the driver the handle came off in my hand! And for some unknown reason it didn’t faze me in the slightest. Without delay I was at the passenger side getting in.
I really should have noticed the blacked-out windows in the back!
So it was Steve’s Uncle driving and my buddy and I in the back seat. After about 15 minutes of driving I piped up by saying, “Mate… I’m sure the club was only about 10 minutes away from the bar”.
In which, Steve responded by saying that he had to go and drop his keys off with his girlfriend first. This ‘short side trip’ lasted about 45 minutes. The first place they took us to was a local bar in the arse end of nowhere. Once there, Steve talked on his phone for a while, but nothing actually happened. We then drove quite far into the real shanty part of town until Steve got a mystery call. After which we turned around and headed back to the main road.
At this point I am starting to get kind of worried, but we’re heading back towards the centre of Dar es Salaam … or so I think.
As we are driving along the main road we stop at a random place and wait for one of Steve’s mates to join us. Apparently he was also really keen for the club.
So… Steve’s mate arrives.
And oh my good God, I have never seen someone so enormous as this man in my entire life. It was like the actor Michael Clarke Duncan from the ‘Green Mile’, but on steroids. I swear to god this man was so big he had to double over just to sit in the back seat of the car.
So here’s the situation in the back seat. Hench motha fker on my left, my buddy on my right and the broken door on his right. The only way out of the car now was the front doors… because once ‘Michael Duncan’ got into the backseat there was no chance in hell of us squeezing past him.
As you can probably guess, instead of driving to the club we started driving back towards the real backend of Dar es Salaam. As the road light’s started disappearing and the corrugated iron roofing started increasing, beads of sweat started appearing on my forehead.
After driving for nearly 30 minutes into the darkness we stopped.
And then shit got nasty…