The train from Mbeya to Dar Es Salaam was to take around 22 hours... all the literature I read about the train advised to allow an additional 12 hours, just in case of delays (this is pretty common in African countries).
Walking through the carriages of the train when we boarded, I began to have flashbacks to James Bond's 'Goldeneye'- and particularly the Nintendo 64 game in which I used to spend hours tackling enemies on a very similar train layout. Although this time, I wasn't carrying a magnum, proximity mines, or a N64 controller.
Our cabin consisted of 4 bunk beds, 4 bottled waters which leaked, one soap, one roll of toilet paper, and a power outlet that didn't work (much to Lukas' disappointment). All meals were eaten in the restaurant, this was also the best viewing point for wildlife when we went through the National Park. On the day we passed through the national park, Tim and I spent an hour craning our necks to see an animal... we were proud as punch to spot a few buck... a couple of hours later whilst playing bao we started spotting hundreds of buck, Zebra, warthog and Bamboo's - we found out we had JUST entered the park!
Nighttime came, and I was first in bed - I drifted off to sleep and was rudely awoken by a jerking, clunking, wrenching, and spasming from our train carriage. I had an image of my carriage hurtling down the tracks away from the others, and sending me into deepest, darkest Africa. My wild imagination (as my mother would say) was soon interrupted by Tim checking I was OK (we had stopped at a station, and some 'routine' maintenance was being carried out apparently). Arriving in Dar was much the same as anywhere else in Africa, as I Leant out the window for a better view a man started to run alongside and shout out to me "Sister, Sister welcome to Dar... I am taxi at your service". I warded him off with the little Swahili I had learnt on the train ride. The taxi we did end up catching had it's radiator blow up half-way into the city, I realised I should have gone with the enthusiastic, proactive driver who sought my attention on arrival - not the lazy one who sits back and lets us seek him out (and who clearly doesn't service his car!)
Welcome to Dar my friend...
(An un-suspecting staff member who is about to run into the proximity mine I just planted... hehe... 007 style!)