Bomba !!!

We’ve been having Internet problems at our hotel, so this is a bit late.  On Tuesday, the four of us ventured out to the Central Market in Arusha.  Not a place for the faint of heart, or anybody who values personal space or privacy.

Bomba !!!!

I wore a T-shirt from a place called Bomba’s Surf Shack on Tortola, British Virgin Isles.  Bomba’s is renowned for its rum punch, made with very special ingredients (probably a myth), and I picked up the shirt while visiting there in 2009.  There are two local Swahili greetings, both casual.  They are ‘jamba’ and ‘mamba’ (my guess at spelling).  The first means, how are you?, and the second means what’s up?  Because they are so close in pronunciation to Bomba, I thought I should ask at the hotel, before I left for the day, if Bomba was also a Swahili word. Being the considerate guy I am, I didn’t want to offend anybody unintentionally. Turns out it is Swahili. It means roughly, ‘good’, or ’ it’s all good’.  So I left wearing the shirt.

That was a good idea.  I had many smiles and unsolicited greetings on the street: ‘Hey, Bomba’, ‘Mr. Bomba!’,  etc. accompanied by numerous fist bumps.  Everybody loved seeing this white guy with Bomba on his chest!

Arusha Central Market - Stalls

Arusha Central Market - Street

I only shot these two market pictures due to personal equipment security concerns (see next para), but they give a sense of the street scene bordering the market and the stalls inside.  You can match up the building with the white pillars in both pictures to correlate the shots.  Bob bought a coconut, which they cracked with 1 inch square steel tubing.  He shared it with us, but I didn’t much care for it.  It was too dry for my taste.

We were immediately and constantly accosted by locals offering to be our guide and show us the market.  This is a culture that values politeness in conversation, so telling people to simply go away is not a good idea.  Even if it worked, you would immediately be enveloped by another group trying to do the same thing.  In all fairness, they are probably only trying to get tips out of you for their proffered services.  All very entrepreneurial.  I feel a bit paranoid because all I can think is that I’m being set up for a pickpocket or robbery, but that may be the American in me – or it may be common sense.  In any case, I’ll take the internal embarrassment as long as I come home with everything I left with!

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~ by robotthom on July 22, 2010.

One Response to “Bomba !!!”

  1. Cool shirt, Thom! The market looks just like the ones here in Mexico. Yup – use common sense when perusing the markets, keep your wallet in your front pocket; I stopped carrying a purse….

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