Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Layover in Arusha
I'm back in Arusha after a wonderful safari! The Serengeti is beautiful, and Ngorongoro Crater is simply breathtaking. We've seen, among other things, 28 lions, 8 cheetahs (including 4 cubs!), a leopard with its kill in a tree, a few servals, an elephant 20 feet away from me in our campsite, huge male lions a few feet from the car, and heard the sounds of lions and hyenas in the night; one hyena even stole the camp trash can and dragged it up a nearby hill. Our driver, David, was great, and the cook, Jof(rey), made some delicious food. I've picked up a few phrases of Swahili, and David called me 'dada', which means 'sister'. We visited a Maasai village which, although much more commercialized in feel than we would have hoped, was still neat. I've been more covered in dirt and dust than I remember being for a very long time - but personal hygiene has a new definition when there are no showers available for a few days and everybody else is just as, if not more, filthy as you are. A few curio vendors have taken us for more money than their wares were worth, but I've still bought some beautiful souvenirs. Despite a few hassles, be it pushy street hawkers or a stubborn tent zipper, I love Tanzania and I can't wait to see more of this beautiful country. I still haven't seen Kilimanjaro (too cloudy), but hopefully I'll get the chance when we go to Moshi tomorrow, which is at the foot of the mountain. We head off to Gonja Hospital, the center I fundraised for, the day after tomorrow, and then I begin my climb in just over a week. More updates soon!