October 25, 2005 GMT
Britain's Stupidest Man.

2/10/05. Mbeya, Tanzania.

Nippers bunk off school to say hello

Being 6'3" is great. Y'know, calling anyone under 5'10" "Ronnie Corbett" and helping old women reach the medicated lavatory tissue from the top shelf; but there is a down side. The lumbar parts can be a touch flimsy, so Rule No. 1 for strapping lads and lasses everywhere is:


Oh dear! I am a fat buffoon. Consequently, when the 300 seater, 2 million ton ferry arrives back at Dar es Salaam, exactly four feet away from where it needs to be in order safely to disgorge my bike, I decide to help the five stocky dockers who begin to yank the behemoth into position with a rope. Amazingly it works. Fluffy reaches dry dock safely and we spurt off to the hotel in high spirits. The next morning I feel a slight twinge as I leave. By the time I get to Morogoro I'm screaming as I get off the bike.

One night turns into four before I can get back in the saddle. Thankfully, the hotel has MNET (a South African movie channel) otherwise I would now be mental.
"School Of Rock" with Jack Black is good. "The Skulls" with nobody you ever heard of is belly-wash.

Four days of woeful crippledom pass, enlivened by James, a Tanzanian who has decided to be an American. Sounds alright in theory, but you try having a 10-minute conversation with an African who's never been outside southern Tanzania, but insists on addressing you with the word "Yo!" and calling you "Nigga" in a heavily Africanized South Central L.A. accent. Mad as a chair.



Southern Tanzania is mountainous beauty where I expected barren scrub. I stay a night at the very nice but wildly-overpriced Kisolanza campsite on the way. When I arrive it's just me - but I've overtaken a busload of other guests on the way. Ahhh... overland trucks. I offer a cheery tootle as I pass. They stare miserably at the floor - all 19 of them. On arrival not one of them manages eye contact. I'm sure they're having a good time really.


Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at October 25, 2005 02:11 PM GMT

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