Salama Condom. Irigna.


Another dust bowl market town in Tanzania but the difference with this particular place was that the local people were much more friendly, we could walk around after 7.00pm at night without being mugged, the local restaurants produced some of the best food we had eaten since being in Africa and a gin and tonic cost 2 Australian dollars from our hotel bar. We were on the way to Malawi and had heard that Iringa was a good stop off point to chill for a couple of days and see some of the local scenery. Hasty Tasty Too became our favourite place to eat. The chicken masala came with a pile of chips, grated steamed vegetables and spinach. The portions were so big that we shared. Cost 4.50 dollars each. Up the road at Shai Villas we ate huge plates of Indian food whilst looking at a great view of the distant hills and town. Behind the Greek Orthodox church we found a cafe serving moussaka, spinacotta and other great greek dishes. There was a cafe run by a charity and staffed by deaf and disabled people, where we ate cake, drank pots of tea and made use of the rarely found reliable wiifi connection. The book shop over the road served up pies and pastries and the small cafe behind the Massi market served cheap coffee. But it was hotel’s local bar where the staff religiously watched pop idol every night that was the place to be after the streets emptied and it did become dangerous to walk out. Three judges huddled around a small round table, the wannabe singer gyrating no more than 2 metres in front of them. Unlike their western counterparts there was no high tech sets, no glittering back up cast, no screaming audience, no dress up, makeup, video films, or any of the rest of the glitz that goes in to make one of these shows. But although Tanzanian Pop Idol was basic the format was the same. The false compare, the judges ripping into each other and the singers, the contestants simpering and smiling their thanks at the cutting remarks dispensed to hide their disappointment. That is until right at the end when the compare summed up and signed off “Salama Condom” he said. Having become almost catatonic by this stage (no it did not have anything to do with the gin and tonics) and thinking that temporary deafness would not have been a bad thing whilst wishing I had the balls to insist that as a guest I had the option to change channels, I perked up. . I stared at around the room – no one batted an eyelid. “Did I hear that right or does Condom mean something else in Swaheli ?” I asked One of the men grinned “It means Stay Safe”. He didn’t need to explain, I got it immediately. So to all my readers – have a good day and Salama condom.


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