Thursday, December 05, 2013

Boys Will Be Boys

After roughly 32 hours in airports and airplanes, Amanda, my parents and I walked into the warm night air outside Kilimanjaro International Airport. We cleared "customs" and met our driver from Tanzanian tour company Good Earth Tours. This company was great. More about them later.

For the record I think there is an inverse relationship between the low per capita income of a country and the number, size, and intricacy of the required passport stamp. If passport stamps could have epaulettes Tanzania would require them.

Our driver loaded all of our crap into the van. A random guy picked up one of the bags and handed it to our driver. He then turned to me for a tip. Pretty out of it, I turned to my Dad, who gave this guy a dollar. We'd been in the country all of 15 minutes and the expected tipping for "services" and all of the complications that come from that had begun.

As we drove off into the darkness (something Lonely Planet Tanzania strictly forbids), I looked out through a fog of jet lag and excitement and naivete and hoped a lion would cross our path.

After a sketchy shortcut down a rough dirt road and through a random village, we arrived at Planet Lodge, a very upscale if somewhat out of the way cluster of bungalows tourists going to or coming from the airport.
 There are tons of different kinds of bananas in Tanzania. Even small ones

The next morning Amanda and my mother headed out to begin their trip to Zanzibar, an island on the Indian Ocean. My brother, my dad and I were on a recommended rest day before beginning our attempt on Kilimanjaro. We decided to go into Arusha, a town of 1.2 Millionish people (Fun fact, less than 16% of Tanzanian births are officially recorded so no one really knows how many people live anywhere. Hakuna Matata).

After a quick self guided tour through Arusha we hired three dudes with motorcycle taxis called boda bodas and headed up a dusty ass road to investigate a waterfall. This was incredibly fun and super dirty. There was so much dust on the "road" that our drivers had to be very careful not to sink into the fine sand pits on both sides of the road. Incidentally no one stops for pedestrians. I often saw cars thoroughly dust down a group of school children waiting to cross the street. We saw a waterfall and a really cool Colobus Monkey and then returned to Planet Lodge in preparation for tomorrow's departure to Kilimanjaro.

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