This post was originally from January 27, 2008
I am just sitting here at the internet cafe enjoying my day. African music is playing and the chair that I am sitting in falling apart! Hah!
So yesterday we woke up bright and early to go on a walking/canoe safari at Arusha National Park. We were ready at 8am but sat around waiting for our guide for a full hour. That is ok, I don’t mind…people go by TFT Tanzanian Flex Time over here. So 7 of us piled into the vehicle even though the guide only remembered booking 6. That is ok…we straightened that one out. When we stopped at the gates of the park our guide disappeared. Hmmm…an hour later we found him. He had troubles paying for our park pass because the park did not take cash. That is ok…sitting in a vehicle in the burning heat is not so bad…we are in Africa right?! So by now we are completely thirsty. We ask the guide if he has the water for us. (we were told that all safari tours supplied water and food). He didn’t have water. There was no way we were going to last a full day walking in the heat without water so we then had to wait for him to go to a shop to buy water. That is ok…we are in Africa. So finally, finally we get started. We are handed over to a ranger who is all dressed in a fatigue like green uniform with a massive rifle. And off we go. Walking with the animals was fantastic. We couldn’t get too close to the water buffalo because they are aggressive (one of the Big 5)-but at one point a whole group of them turned on us and started moving forward. Our ranger was on guard with his rifle (don’t worry he told us he would only shoot into the air to frighten them). We got away safely. We stepped through all sorts of shit. There was no way getting around it. Every animal dung you could possibly imagine was now sticking to the sole of my shoe. Then we hit the mother ship!!! Giraffes…heaps and heaps of giraffes!!! We were like stalkers following them around where ever they went. It was so cool. They are so beautiful and their spots are amazing. They would just sit there and chew their food and stare at us. Then all of a sudden we heard a rustle in the bush and KABANG this warthog came screeching out of the bush and ran past us at full speed. It ran straight towards one of the ladies with us and she nearly wet herself right there. It was the funniest thing ever. But because of the warthog screeching and the lady screaming we now had a herd of scared giraffes! Three of them bolted and ran away from us at full speed. You could literally feel the ground shake when they ran. It was so cool!
We saw many of the same animals as last week, but from afar. And for lunch we hiked to another waterfall. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as the one on Wednesday but when we got there it was unreal. At that point we were sweating our pants off so sitting in the mist from the water was so relaxing. It was one of those moments that I wanted to last forever.
Finally we had to hike back to our first guide so that we could go canoe with the hippos. Yah, I know that hippos are supposedly one of the most dangerous animals…but we are in Africa right?!
As we made our way to the lake in the vehicle we came across so many more giraffe. We wanted to just sit there and observe, but our guide told us we had to go canoe so off we went. When we got to the lake there was nobody there to take us, so we were told to wait. Because we were late the guides took off with another group. At this point we had already finished our rationed water and there was no place to take cover from the sun. We ended up huddled on this dock that literally was cracking beneath our weight. Just picture a bunch of ‘mazungu’s (white people) perched on the edge of a rickety dock (so that we wouldn’t break it). We waited…and waited…and waited… Eventually we no longer could wait. We were burning and thirsty as all hell. So we got in the vehicle and headed home. Hopefully we can get some of our money back…the other ladies are trying to figure that out.
Even though many things went wrong…it was totally worth it to see those giraffes. Unfreakingbelievable!
Today is a free day. I got to sleep in for the first time since I have been here. This afternoon a few of us are going back to the orphanage to play with the kids.