6:20pm Tanzania time
24 hours of travel is hard work. Though you’re basically sitting the whole time, or laying as I was fortunate to do on the plane, it’s still hard because you don’t properly rest.
I was a bit worried about the 14 hour flight. Thankfully lots of movies and laying down across three seats on the plane helped make it more bearable. But then I had to kill 3-4 hours in the Doha airport which made me start to feel a bit bleary eyed.
The flight from Doha to the Kilimanjaro Airport was a 5.5 hour flight on a domestic Qatar plane, and though the service and food were great, there was no room to lay down. But I was tired enough that I managed to catch a few nods anyway.
On landing in Kili, I was a bit disappointed that there was so much cloud and dust cover that I didn’t really get a good look at the mountain.
The actual airport though, you would have thought were landing in a farmers field. It was just plains and mostly goats everywhere. The airport reminded me very much of the tin shed the Adelaide Airport used to have.
There was so much turbulence on both flights though that even now I can’t tell if the ground is moving or if I’m imagining it. Like when you’ve been on a boat for a bit and get sea legs.
We had a bus chartered to get us to the African Tulip Hotel in Arusha for one night’s stay so I got to see a bit of the countryside and some little townships. It was kind of what I was expecting – something along the lines of a Shanty Town. It has a certain charm about it. There are lots of people walking down the streets, a few motorbikes and cars, but not a huge amount like what you might see in a poor town like Bali. A lot of buildings reminded me of small huts that maybe first settlers in Australia might have had. Very small, one room, maybe two if you were lucky, and they look a bit ramshackle. There were clumps of houses here and there, and the same kind of style of house but no structure in terms of where they were built, it was just all over the place. And no real roads in between either.
The shops, now they were something else altogether. Still ramshackle looking, but usually built in a line. And just the look of them is like the old deli’s you might see in the 50’s with a tin coke sign hanging out the front. They were like that, only none of the signs were shiny or new. They looked like they could well have been hung there in the 50’s!
Though it all looks, and is I suppose, poor, it still has a charm about it. The houses and the shops were often painted bright colours; blues, greens, and often not coordinated at all. But it was also the people. So many of them wearing beautiful, colourful clothes. And none of them staring at tourists like they’re hungry to take their money like they are in a place like Bali. So I was really quite taken by it.
The bus ride seemed to last forever. I found it interesting that one of the guides offered to take my suitcase for me when there were heaps of other, older people who probably needed more help. And when I declined he just walked off, didn’t offer to help anybody else!
When we finally got to the hotel they seated us in the lounge and gave us a complementary drink which was lovely. Then after that I decided to hit the pool with a couple of other ladies to relax for a bit. The water was lovely and refreshing. Then I just had a shower and got ready for dinner.
Mary gave me a call because they had no water in their room and so she came down to my room to have one instead. My first real experience of “how things work” in Africa!
I’m just about to head off to Africa but I’m so damn tired I’m just hoping I don’t fall asleep on my dinner! At least maybe I’ll sleep well tonight.
But that reminds me, I need to do a time conversion on my phone to set my alarm for the morning. Or maybe see if the front desk does wakeup calls. Or both!
8:41pm Tanzania time
So my phone is locked to its timezone so I had to use the time and date meeting planner time guide to workout what time I needed to set my alarm for. All sorted now hopefully.
I had a vegetarian pizza for dinner and honestly, while I was waiting I thought I would fall asleep at the table. Or while I was eating. Apparently I’m not the only one though as everyone toddled off to bed after dinner.