One month in Africa, in the Land of Serengeti and Kilimanjaro. One month on tour by sailing boat, bus and jeep. Great sceneries, fascinating wild life and weird contrasts! A night in a safari lodge is about same as the monthly income of a local employee.
Those travelling to Tanzania should know that most hotels and loges are often priced in USD rather that the local currency – Schilling. Beside those places, everything is paid in Schilling Personally, I prefer to deal in the local currency, and I could always pay in Schilling, however it is recommended to ask for an appropriate exchange rate. Bargaining usually helps a lot to lower utopist prices for taxi, bus and hotels. To quote my friends statement: It’s a good deal if both parties start to cry upon the negotiated price.
- Category: Tanzania 2010
We reach Mbulu after a really bumpy ride over the rain washed dirt road and a beautiful sunset beside rainstorm clouds. Back in Silvios place, we lit candles. Yes, there is a power cut, but at least the meat in the freezer is still frozen. Chapati from the gar cooker and warm beer for diner.
The following day, Urs and I go to the local hospital to invite three Danish volunteers, friends of Silvio and Ethel for BBQ. It isn't very difficult to find three blond girls in the hospital, a kind nurse leads us straight to Line's office. Line is running a project in Public health, trying to set up a sort of family planning in the hospital. She is both surprised and happy about the invitation. Asks, if we were somewhat literate about computers since the hospitals internet was down for the past two weeks. We enter the computer room and detect a loose contact on the power supply of the main switch. The responsible guys are all happy, and we are happy for the kind invitation for lunch with the girls. BBQ turns out lovely, too. When the soul goes traveling without notice.
It's raining a lot these days, at night time and in the morning, yet it is fairly hot around lunchtime. Colorful birds are singing in the sun. Urs and I spend the good hours of the following days exploring the surroundings of Mbulu on Silvios mountain bikes.
It takes us three splendid days and candlelight nights and lots of beers to to finish the thawing meat, and then the electricity is back. We bake bread and listen to Nancy Sinatra and the Puppini Sisters. Africa...
No matter whether it is raining or not, there are always pedestrians on the roads, and cows and donkeys and goats, walking somewhere. Few bicycles, even less motorbikes and hardly cars. And yes, there is moments when it sucks walking down the bumpy roads and hear the same English sentences from the kids over and over again: “Good morning, give me my money”. Yet there are the lovely moments too, with real smiles in the faces of the kids in the outskirts.
On the way back to Arusha we wanted to go via Dareda instead of Karatu. The first attempt fails due to miserable muddy roads and a puncture which takes almost the entire afternoon to be fixed somewhere in town. Next day we're more successful, reaching Dareda, an even smaller town, and even more desperate town than Mbulu just below the escarpment. Silvio has some business in the hospital that looks somewhat like after an air raid. Urs and I go for a walk along the only road with a few shops and stands. The top of the densely wooded escarpment is in clouds. A few old buses wait for customers, and some donkeys carry sacks of goods around. A pack of street dogs enjoys free love. Luckily, Silvio can finish his accounting business in the hospital very quickly, and we're on the way to Arusha just after lunchtime. From Babati to Tarangire, the Chinese are building a big motorway, or lets say they administer to locals doing the work. A wide cut of even gravel road goes straight through the steep. We see flocks of zebras close by, and a rainbow ending in a mud house settlement. Mount Meru's peak glooms above the clouds in the setting sun before we reach Arusha. Lovely Indian cuisine for diner. Silvio and me pay a short visit to a disco to celebrate the end of the holiday. There are only Blacks in the building. A young women keeps dancing and talking to me, a few boys seem to surround Silvio in the smoking room, talking weird stuff to him. Strange days. We take a taxi back to our hotels. Streets are flooded. What a night!
Next day - Arusha City Airport. Just a two store tower and a barrack with a single Check-in counter, a few expensive souvenir shops and a coffee bar with a broken coffee machine. There's only tiny single-engine propeller airplanes on the runway. “You're sure this is the right airport?” Just at our planned departure time, a slightly bigger airplane arrives that brings Urs and me to Dar for the connecting flight to Zurich.