Biking, bussing and commenting
I wasn’t feeling too great yesterday (and no, for once that was not because of a hangover), which resulted in me missing today’s Dar es Salaam Cycle Caravan 2010, organized by UWABA, which seeks to promote cycling as an alternative to more typical forms of urban transport here in Dar, while highlighting the relative challenges of cycling in this metropole.
For one, I’ve so far been hit a handful of times, by cars, on the roads of the city. Nothing major, but still.
What’s funny is that UWABA chose to highlight their pleas on the quietest of moments; downtown on a Sunday morning at 8am…
Dar is significantly fresher than when I left it. Not too unpleasant, although it also means I now shower in lukewarm water instead of cold.
Dar has reasonably effective and reasonably well organized public transport. Buses, though often overcrowded, run the length and breadth of the city. Buses are color coded and carry the names of their starting and end points.
A pity no map of all the routes exists. Oh wait, once it did.
One of my colleagues at Twaweza mentioned that, once, she had seen a paper based map of the bus lines crisscrossing the city, but that it had disappeared into obscurity.
Now, my new housemate Leslie managed to somehow get hold of a copy. It was put together by Celtel, what is now operating as Zain, a Kuwait-based cellphone group operating in some 25 countries.
Interestingly, though about 60% of Zain’s customers are currently in Africa, the continent contributes only 15% to the group’s net profit.
The map is not totally accurate, though. There’s one line which both stops right at the airport and right infront of my house here. Extremely convenient, as the line avoids the city center, but not on the map.
In other news, I made some tweaks to my website. For one, I moved old comments to the Disqus commenting system. This required some investigation. First to find keys, with which Mikkel Hoegh helped, and then the DISQUS API wrapper by Rob Loach, followed by some tweaking around with the RESTful API Disqus provides and some help from the Disqus Google group.