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Jackson's trip to Africa takes a nose-dive

Pop superstar Michael Jackson arrived in Tanzania's port city of Dar es Salaam on Monday still holding his nose _ an antic that has already struck a bad chord on his non-singing African tour.

Witnesses said Jackson ran from his private jet and dived into a waiting car clutching his nose with one hand.

Hiding his face behind a tiny hand bag, Jackson ran past Tanzanian Foreign Minister Ahmed Diriye, who was waiting to welcome him.

In near farcical scenes, the portly Diriye ran after Jackson and introduced himself.

Jackson arrived from the Ivory Coast where his five-day visit narrowly skirted a public relations disaster because he kept touching his nose, which cosmetic surgeons have remodeled over the years.

Ivorian newspapers have suggested that Jackson, on tour to shoot scenes for his new Return to Africa video, could not stand the smell in the land of his ancestors.

But Tanzanians countered with their own jibes.

"Is that really a man?" one police officer at the airport asked.

Staff at the hotel where Jackson will stay _ the run-down Kilimanjaro _ said he had no alternative but to put up with it.

"Otherwise he can go and live on his private jet," said one waiter.

Jackson aide Bob Jones on Sunday described the nose habit as a "nervous twitch."

"Under no circumstances would we be here if we thought your country smelled. You are our roots," Jones said.