10.21.2005

Naaa Checkenyaaa va va vichi va va

No idea how the song goes, but where the Lion King starts, I just was. I'm pretty sure I found Pride Rock, as well as Timon and Pumba's home. It has been an awesome (and much needed) vacation this past week. I have millions and millions of pictures that I'm planning on posting on Sunday or so, so for now I'll keep it brief.

Friday was a national holiday (Nyerere Day). We just found out about it (as it seemed so did everyone else. Like national holidays are a surprise or something) the day before, so we mostly just relaxed and played.

Saturday, Jenny, Aiofe and I woke up early to catch the 6:30 bus to a little mountain village called Lushoto, about a 4 hour bus ride away. We all woke up late and almost didn't make it. Thank goodness nothing runs on time in this country. As it turns out, we didn't get on a bus but a daladala. This meant much less comfort. As I've mentioned before, daladalas have NO LIMIT to how many people they can cram on. On the last leg of the trip, the part that actually climbs up the mountain, there were no less than 13 people in the front row alone. Me, Aiofe and 3 other gentlemen were facing backwards on a makeshift bench. Facing forward- a girl about 11 (wearing an enormous down parka. NO idea why since it was about 95 degrees in the van) and a little handicapped boy who kept sucking on this gross orange juice packet. Then Jenny and a couple of other people. Then in the aisle, not a wide aisle mind you, they had a huge pack of flour and 4 people kneeling, crouching, or somehow balancing over the edge. Highlights of this lovely trip:
-When we make pitstops, swarms of young men sell everything from hard boiled eggs and biscuits to cell phone covers and muslim hats. they don't take no for an answer.
-The girl in the down parka pukes out the window.
-Jenny's reaction to everything is just hilarious. You must know that Jenny is extrememly concious of safety and admittedly paranoid about danger in any form. At one point a bigger man actually inched over and sat on her lap. She looked just appalled that he would even consider it an option. She went through a few minutes being angry at the situation. I have to admit she had the absolute worst seat on the entire bus. At one stop, as a few people piled on or off, she looked at me and said flatly, with just a hint of panic in her voice, "Kami. The door just fell off." Yes it's true. Somehow though, they hit it with a rock or something and it closed. Sort of. As we made our ascent up the hill, I was glad she couldn't see the cliffs I swear we drove a little too close to. About 45 minutes into the last leg of the trip, when the number of passengers peaked, she looked at me again, this time with no fear or anger but simple acceptance, "This just isn't safe anymore." I was crying I was laughing so hard. I had also had about 3 hours of sleep the night before.
-The bus ride, which should take just around 4 hours, took 5 1/2. Lucky us.

Jenny and I spent most of the rest of Saturday recuperating from the drive. The 5 other volunteers who had come had to get back to Tanga before the weekend was over but we were in no rush. We hadn't even booked our safari yet, so we had no definate plans.

Sunday, everyone else left but me and Jenny stayed and hiked around. We had (and bought) homemade cheeses and jams and saw some very cool (and terrifying views). Lushoto was a lovely little town. At one point we realized that the cell phone we bought the day before in Tanga didn't work at all. One lady not only tried about 10 things to make it work, but walked us around town trying to get us help. It turns out we were scammed by the guy that sold us the phone. I'm hoping to have a few angry words with him when we get back home. Our guide was also really awesome. He helped us with everything - buying a bus ticket for the next day, navigating the market, and even buying a kanga (sarong-type thing) that proved to be extremely useful in the next few days.


Okay, Thats at least the first part of the week. I don't think I have the mental strength to write anymore right now. Later this week, I'll write about what I'm sure you're most interested in - safari!!

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