Well, our last few blog entries have been fairly negative. We had some hard times on the move, we got overcharged for bus tickets, and we saw first-hand what the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa really means. I am happy to say that despite having diarrhea (again – this is Jeanette; Anne is still in perfect health) in a place with squatting pit toilets and no running water, the last two weeks have been awesome. Our visit from Pipa, Pam, and Jay completely rejuvenated my spirits and a small dose of good friends was all I needed to put a smile on my face and recharge my batteries for the next three months.
Upon their arrival, we hit the ferry for Zanzibar, a tropical paradise just a few hours by boat from Dar es Salaam. The tourist mecca there is Stone Town, a maze of old buildings and narrow roads, full of local eateries, tourist shops, and everything in between. I went diving for the first time in over a year, and it was my first time diving in a wet suit as well so that was exciting. My dive buddy was Pam and the highlights were a green sea turtle and some sea horses. Pipa saw some of the same things when trying not to crush her dive instructor’s hand. She’s going to be a very good diver some day; way better than Anne, who went with Jay to see giant land tortoises.
There was a really cool evening food market with delicious, local food near the water that we ate at a few nights. This, unfortunately, was likely the contributing factor in Jay, Pam, and I getting a stomach bug that necessitated us all getting on antibiotics. As per usual, Anne remained perfectly healthy during this ordeal for the rest of us.
Our visitors were interested in seeing Anne’s village, and Mama Resti and Mama Yuni were happy to receive visitors so we headed back to the village for a day and a half. Pipa, Pam, and Jay seemed to pick up on the language quite readily and everyone we encountered was more than happy to communicate with them and was always up for a laugh. We spent a small amount of time on Mama Resti’s farm helping her to harvest corn, but I think she just wanted us there for the novelty factor because she thinks we’re all too soft to work the fields. Just like our last visit, Mama Yuni and Mama Resti were extremely accommodating and fed us to the hilt. We had an excellent goodbye dinner with many songs and drum beats to the tune of an overturned bucket. Tanzanians have many songs with repetitive lyrics about saying goodbye to us and how sorry they are we are leaving and wishing us luck on our future travels, whereas our repertoire included classics such as American Pie, The 12 Days of Christmas, Old MacDonald Had A Farm, and Iko Iko. While five white people in the village caused some heads to turn (and small children to stare), we were very welcomed and it was an excellent experience. Despite the diarrhea.
A long and painful 17 hour bus ride put us in Arusha at 3 AM just in time for the start of our 9 AM safari. As it is getting late and our entries tend to be long winded, I will let our photos speak for the safari part of the trip. We spent time in Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorogoro Conservation Area. I had been dreaming about going to the Serengeti for years now and it epitomizes the quintessential picture I had in my head of what Africa was supposed to look like. It was awesome. Really beautiful scenery and tons of wildlife, even though it was the dry season and we were too early for the wildebeest migration.
Then, before we knew it, it was back to Dar for a brief day of souvenir shopping and goodbyes. It was such a good visit and just the perfect slice of home to keep us going. Thanks for the smiles guys!
|Red and Black Colobus Monkey on Zanzibar|
|Jeanette's favorite baby animal ever|
|Baobabs at Tarangire|
|Ok, I'm coming...|
|What you looking at?|
|Topi (new species for us!)|
|Guinea fowl is tasty|
|Male lion in the Serengeti|
|the leopard that walked right past us|
|serval cat pouncing on rats|
|sunset over the serengeti|
|yeah, that's the spot!|
|mom, what's that giant metal thing and those tasty looking morsels looking at us??|
|Elephant walking through campsite at Ngorongoro Crater|
|Maybe if I close my eyes all the people will go away...|
|Ostrich mating dance|
|Flamingos in Ngorongoro Crater|
|Pam, Pipa, Jay & Jeanette|
|streets of zanzibar|
|short rains on the plains|
|more cheetah photos|
|Jeanette's sea turtle|