The place to be

coco-beach-topSundays, the beach is the place to be.

From late afternoon visitors start to stream in, coming from far and wide.

There are those walking in slippers and others driving big cars; some come to relax and hang around and others to do business.

There’s laughing and playing of kids next to a serious soccer match between local teams.

Drinkers enjoy the sea breeze and company at the tables set out under the trees close to the sea.

Orders of whisky, Konyagi and Cokes keep the waitress busy as she moves up and down crossing the road between the bar and her customers.

Small kids — barely able to walk — are dressed up in their finest from head to toe.

Others undress to underwear and run around chasing a ball with the big boys among the trees and around the tables.

One has a wind fan made of coconut leaves but just cannot figure out how to position himself to catch the breeze.

As the ladies with babies and more kids come to sit in the sand, the ice cream man on his bicycle and the peanut seller with handcart arrive.

A young lad balancing his coffee kettle, bucket of cups and a plate of kashata crosses the scene and manages to sell a cup and a bite or two.

In the meantime a football match between the reds and red-and-yellows has taken off.

The enthusiastic onlookers have their backs to the sea, some sitting on the heaps of sand left over from a road works project.

There’s a referee whistling and goals have been measured out. The large baobab is just part of the sandy pitch.

The boys give their best, supporters cheer.

Later when the sun starts to set and the mosque calls for prayer most people head off back home.

To leave behind a few tables of regulars who drink the night away on a fast darkening beach.

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About the Author

Josie van den Hoek

Josie first visited Dar es Salaam in 2000 and is still here. She writes about encounters on her daily walks and Tanzanian life.