GREETINGS FROM TANZANIA!
Woke up this morning in Arusha, Tanzania, to the sounds of birds chirping outside our hotel room window. And, this is the shocking part, they weren’t crows! In case you’ve never been awakened to the cawing, screeching, and shrieking of one of India’s most clever and irritating of birds, the Indian Raven, you just haven’t lived. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished – in a sympathetic tribute to right wing, American Rifle Association, personal responsibility flash of hostility – I’d had a shotgun to seriously maim the black creature who seemed to have purposely chosen the mango tree branch not five feet from my bedroom window to begin his morning communications with me at 6:00 AM.
After a four and a half hour flight from Kochi to Doha, (full, by the way, of children under the age of five years – and without being insulting you know exactly what that means!), a subsequent 4 hour flight from Doha to Dar es Salaam followed by an hour flight to Arusha (Kilimanjaro), followed by an hour’s slow drive behind huge oil tankers, liquefied natural gas trucks, lorries full of bricks, rebars and 100 kg bags of cement to the African Tulip Hotel where we (finally!) were able to collapse in sheer exhaustion into our wonderfully soft beds.
We begin our budget tent/lodge safari tomorrow morning. Took a walk down the road outside our hotel this morning. Directly across the street is a neat primary school with parents dropping off their progeny clad in dark green uniforms, a Barclay’s bank center next door with an ATM, an unfinished six story building that looks like an apartment building or hotel yet to come, followed by a night-club that looks like it could be a very happening place on weekends. Across from it, hidden amongst tall flame trees, is a combo Fitness/Yoga/Restaurant establishment which is an interesting combination to say the least. As is my usual mode, a guy sweeping litter and leaves from the drive of the Barclay’s Bank and I greeted each other – “Good Morning” is universal – to which he replied “Jambo”, I replied in kind and then he taught me the real Swahili term for “good morning” “Ambusi” or something similar.
Weather where could not be more perfect – cool and lovely this morning, partly cloudy and unbelievably quiet and peaceful. I’m hoping that after tomorrow the quiet will be replaced by lions (or more accurately “lionesses”) tearing into a too-slow-moving-to-get-out-of-the-way bushbuck, antelope or similar deer type creature. I am looking forward to it although it may not be the kind of radical liberal experience one ought to exhort.