Saturday, June 14, 2008

Adventures throughout the country with Matt aug 07

So it has been a long time since my last email and I have been up to many terrific Tanzanian things. I guess my last adventure began two or three weeks ago, when matt and I decided it was time to go on safari. So we bought a train ticket and headed west to Udzungwa mountain park and after to mikumi national park.

The train ride was delightful with all the cabins divided by gender, I got to spend 7 hours in a cabin with three nuns. Which was actually quite enjoyable, as on the large part they left me alone to read and when we finally did chat we discussed Malaria and the difference between malaria in the west and in Africa. They were quite surprised to find out that we had no malaria and couldn?t accept that we just had no malaria and that we hadn?t eradictatd it some how. It is curious how so many people have views similar to this about the west. I can?t count how many times people have insisted that all poor people in Canada get money and don?t live on the streets and my particular favourite, that all white people are smart. God knows where these people are getting there info, well I guess I do American television.

Back to Safari, we arrived in Man?gula at 11pm and of course got suckered into paying to much for a cab and got taken to the most expensive hotel in town. But the king size bed I got to myself and the amazing breakfast in the morning made it almost worth while. Man?gula is a very quite little town in the mountains surrounded by lush forest and many rice and canola fields. The only tourists who come through are hikers who have come to climb the mountains and rarely go into town as everyone was excited to see us, but not in a jaded way like in Zanzibar.

We spent one day hiking up one of the mountains. We climbed five kms up to an amazing waterfall called Sanje falls which is actually divided into three sections and is the highest in Tanzania possibly Africa? It measures 280m in total and was breathtaking. We ate our luch on some rocks in the middle of the falls overlooking the valley, which made the very grueling climb all worth it. We had hoped to see monkeys and other primates but unfortunately it was wood collecting day, when all the locals are allowed to go into the park and collect fire wood. It is simply remarkable how these young women go up and down this mountain collecting huge bundles of firewood and carrying them back down on their heads. I wish I could do such a thing, although I can carry a bucket of water on my head, I am quite pleased to say.

After Man?gula we caught a bus to Mikumi, which is a peculiar little truck stop of a town again with hardly any tourists except the few who come to see the park. The park is rather small and inexpensive which is why we chose it and we ended up seeing all the animals it had to offer except for hyenas. We saw tons of elephants, giraffes, impala, zebra, water buffalo, duiker and hippos. We also got to see crocodiles, one warthog and a group of lions, mainly female with one juvenile male, at dusk hunting a herd of impala. It was pretty amazing. The park itself was very beautiful and very different from Udzungwa. The landscape was very dry and open but surrounded by mountains in the distance on all but three sides. There are beautiful trees through scattered randomly through out the park including some insanely massive baobabs.

We returned to Dar after five days of adventures to send off nearly everyone we know who decided to return to Canada early. Vinay left for India on the 11th to see his family, Melissa left on the 13th, Sze left on the 15th, Rachel on the 16th and Alex on the 17th. So now we are only three Matt, joseph and myself. After everyone left we returned to our little house in Mbande and played with the kids for a few days and then went on another adventure which I am currently on.

Matt and I went to Dodoma, kondoa and kolo, while joseph went with Roberti to Mwanza (robert?s home town). Dodoma, the nations capital (though it doesn?t seem it) is a strange little city that reminded me of a ghost town from some old wildwest movie. It is very dry and barren with low sand beaten buildings and very few people. Fortunately we were only there for a day and continued onto Kondoa the next day.

That story will have to wait till I get back to dar though as I don?t have enough time to type much more and this is a mighty long email.


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