Posted by: marthacoolcat | October 26, 2008

“African Lion Safari – The people are coming, the people are coming”

Okay, so last I posted was from the Amsterdam aeroport.  In an attempt to get some acidopholus, I exited the nebulous limbo lad that is the airport-post-customs area.  The didn’t have any, but I now have passport stamps certifying that I spent 15 minutes in Holland.

Hating Homestyle

I spilled my orange juice on my pants.  Usually I like my juice really pulpy, but the bits looked like I had barfed on my calves.  The light supper had just arrived, so I was kinda ensconsed in my seat, and extracting myself was a bother.  I did my first in sink laudry of the trip in the bathroom.  The plane flight was long but fine otherwise.

First Imprsessions of Africa

It smells like gasoline adn barbaqued corn.  There are bats here.

Those were my exact thoughts as I stepped off the plane.  We had pulled up in front of the airport, and we had a ground exit, which i would say was primitive, if I hadn’t had two other ground exit this month in Edmonton and London.  The first time it happened I felt all shwanky, like Pierre Trudeau or something.  It’s still fun, but slightly waining. 

Yep, bats flying in the lapposts.  Angie says Kenya always smelled like barbequed corn too.  She liked it so much that she’d collect cobs in a paper bag and sniff it like glue.  Chaque on son goute!  It only smells like gas near planes.  It is hot.  I lost the cashmere turtleneck pretty quickly.

I had to get a visa.   I had done all the paper work in Canada, and brought the required passport photo, but they webcammed me, and the guy didn’t want it.  I said, hey I am a pretty girl – why don’t you want my picture?  African security people laugh at lot more than American ones.

I was pretty pleased to see the Martha and Angie sign.  We have a different driver, Rapheal.  They drove us to the office to talk to us b/c we/ Erla was unhappy they didn’t give us Abdul like they had confirmed and promised.

I had a teensy scary moment after the sign was put away.  In all the confusion, of carrying my two bags,a dn leaving, I got outside and there were lots of safari-dressed guides walking towards safari landrovers.  Yeeps!  Which one was mine!  I followed Ang, and she followed Raphael, and we got to our big big vehicle sae and sound.

Yes, our vehicle.  Well kids, it ain’t no Smart car.  It is a eight seater Toyota Land Rover, and I have been at some precarious angles in it.  The roof pops up, which gives us shade and lets us stand and look around.

So after the airport, Raphael drove us to Moshi, and the YMCA.  It was dark dark at 7:00, which confuses me.  We are 600 km south of the equator.  I thought it would be uncomfortbably hot, but I like the warmth.  I like it a lot.  Yah, so it was dark, and there were many people walking on the road.  Some home from teh bar he said, but just so many people walking, and some on bikes.  I took a bit of time to adjust to Raphael’s accent.  I used to think S Africans sounded bewteen b\British and Australian, but now I think Tanzanian English is its own accent.

They lock the grounds of the YMCA.  It only has a roof over the rooms, and not in the middle of the resedential trianle.  Erla says when it rains in it pours doen to the main level.  We ate Erla’s avadcado, and I ate my puffed wheat square.  I was tired.  Many very large ants on our room.  All part of the experience.  We killed them.

I woke up at 3:30, but it would be just going to bed time in Ontario, so that doesn’t make sense.  My circadian rythums have been more roller ocoaster than foothills of late. 

Moshi morning Oct 25 Sat

Saturday is a work day, and a market day, so as we drove through the country side and then teh city fo Arusha, there was a lot of life.  We went to four pharmacies aka Duka la Dawa, to get me some Acidopholus.  The Kochs bought Amarula – a south African fruit cream liquer for night-sipping.  Have I said I have great travel companions?

There appear to be no traffic lights in Arusha, the third biggest city, with 500 000 people.  Many round abouts, but mostly, uncontrolled intersentions.  They bother me in Saskatoon, but the Saskatoon uncontrolled intersentions now seem suitable for a daycare playground!  People just drive into the intersection which is full of people going the horizontal way and make a space for themselves.  You know that critique of anarchism – you can’t have a society without traffic lights, well that’s not accurate.

Chris B would hate the way people pass on the road here.  They start on the crest of a hill, and get sillily close to the oncoming traffic.  You knwo they drive on the British side of the road, hey?

So Saturday morning we were doing errands till 11:00, and I felt hungry.  I opened my box lunch, which came in a nice white box – the kind we used to get the catered cookies we used at Gwenna Moss.  I opened up my cooked chicken, which had been room temperature for a while.  You might say un-oh, salmonella?  But fear not, I didn’t eat my chicken, because it was crawling with little red ants.  I had to look closely, but they were really there, all over, and in my lunch box, adn now on my lap.  Maybe this si a culturally does-not translate moment, because David who runs Good Earth TOurs was at the gas station – it is wear they have a company account, adn he said, what, it’s just ants.  I guess “inset infested” doesn’t disqualify fine dining.  Lloyd said the gas station workers woudl happily eat it.  I guess I am glad it isn’t going to waste – we through out everybody’s chicken. 

I can tell I am as culturally adaptive as my mother.  We used to knw when mom was talking to her German friends, because she started to talk with their accents.  After one day in Africa, I found myself already questioning whether I was right to refuse to eat bug filled meat.  Sigh.

Tarangire Park

After the touristy shop, where I found some Tanzanite that I liked, but it cost 5 000 USD, (uh no thanks) we got to the park. In true newby style we stopped for five minutes for our first far away zebra, adn took a million pictures, but the second day, Lloyd said oh it’s just a wart hog.  How quickly humans acclimatize,  hey?  Like how the secodn child has hardly any baby pictures.  Oh, seen that.  It’s kinda sad.

I saw wild camels on the way towards the park.  I didn’t know there camels in the wild.

We’ve seen lots of animals – and on this mornings game drive at 6 am lions!!!  I really liked the elephants mom and babys that where ten feet from teh jeep.


Oops, late for lunch, forgive the spelling,  more later, Martha


  1. I’m loving this blog and so incredibly happy for you. You go girl!


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