As a tourist, there are few reasons to go to Arusha. You might find yourself there for a night on your way to the many great Tanzanian National Parks, the grit of the city hidden behind some imperialist fantasy village of thatch-roof huts and lush coffee trees. But that is not Arusha. You will know Arusha when you see it. You will wipe Arusha off your skin at the end of the day, the dust and air sparing no surface. And at first you won’t believe that this is the real world. And then eventually, as you burrow further and further into it, you won’t believe that anything else is the real world. The pearl and chrome and vibrant colors you were once accustomed to will fade into a fantasy, and you will not be able to shake the understanding that Arusha—and the rest of the faded Arusha-like world that fills the vast spaces between the Manhattans and Tokyos and Abu Dhabis—is in fact the only real world, the only part that is universal in both space and time, and that everything else is just a lie we tell ourselves, for better or for worse.
Photos from Arusha, Tanzania, and the surrounding areas.