THURSDAY August 11, 2005
Hendrik and Salma have a bit to do today so Paul is going with Annau to
get some football shirts and I'm staying home to
get some writing done. They'll be back later and, hopefully, we'll be
off to see a movie.
10pm - Another productive day is finished. I got quite a bit of writing
done. Paul got his shirts and found the music CDs
that I had wanted and we went to see The Fantastic 4 at the cinema. The
movie was pretty good and the theater is
relatively new and was very similar to western style movie houses. So
similar that you could almost forget that you are in
Tanzania while you are watching the movie.
FRIDAY August 12, 2005
We tried to go see the Kunduchi Ruins today but they have been closed
to the public. Apparently, someone wanted to
make them into a proper tourist site, the government said okay, but
then the two starting fighting so the government shut
it off completely to the public. We did get to go and see the Village
Museum. It's an open air museum that consists of
traditional Tanzanian homes constructed in the traditional ways. Paul
was happy that he finally got to see a mud-brick
home close up and could walk through one. It's good to see all these
things and see how each one is different, not only
in style and design but in construction as well.
are also many types of plants and trees here with signs telling you its
official name, where you can find it and what its medicinal purposes
are. The sad thing is that Tanzania has many good plants and trees,
such as the castor tree, that are not being cultivated at all.
Tanzania is really a rich country that has a lot to offer from
important historical sites (which can also become money
making tourist traps) to highly valuable plants and trees that offer
many medicinal rememdies as well as being good to eat.
Tanzanians, in general, are also very friendly but they also seem to be
apathetic. They remind me a bit of the British, and
maybe they learned it from the British, because they seem to be happy
with the status quo. They whine and complain but
there is very little motivation to do anything or to try to make their
lives better. I've seen it in a small degree with Salma's
family, but they have a bit of hope, and, to a larger degree, in the
general population. It's a shame really because I can see
great things that could happen to Tanzania if they could just muster
the motivation and eliminate the corruption that
permeates their society.
So, off my tirade now, we got some lunch at La Trattoria Jan and bought
a couple of pizzas to eat at home tomorrow.
We spent the last of our money on a DVD that had four movies (Kill Bill
Vol. I and II, Paycheck and Torque) on it. The
quality is really quite good as well. Then we returned to the rental
house. Hendrik and Salma are spending tonight and
tomorrow night at her parent's house. Tonight because Hendrik has an
early meeting with his father-in-law's boss and
tomorrow night because someone needs to be at the house while the
family is away in Tanga. If no one is there, then
there is a good chance that nothing will be left in the house when they
return. That's a contrast to home as well. We have
been gone for five weeks and I am reasonably assured that my stuff will
be there when I return. My mom is only
checking on things once a week and all is well. If you leave a house
with no one around in Tanzania, it's likely that all
your possessions will be gone when you return.
SATURDAY August 13, 2005
Today was a nice, peaceful, relaxing day. Paul went for a long swim in
the pool. I have just finished typing up everything
that I have written since I came here. It took me nearly twelve hours
nonstop but it's finished. Everything was good until
about 6:30pm. Can't have a day without drama, you know.
First, the lights got really bright, then dimmed a bit. Then,
the power went out. This lasted a few minutes and then everything
worked again. Then, the power went out again. So,
we go outside to see what's going on. Everyone in the compound came out
of their houses and were milling around for a
it seems that we have some idiots who fancy themselves electricians.
The guys that keep up the houses here
were messing in an empty house, supposedly getting it ready for new
tenants. Now, they aren't electricians but they still
thought it was a good idea to open up the wiring and go fiddling
around. At first, they tried to tell us that the power outage was not
their fault. However, everyone pointed out, over and over,
that it couldn't be a general power outage because only our compound
was affected and the lights that line the inside
walls of the compound, as well as the lights around the pool, were
still working. There was hemming and hawing and lots
of claims to not understand english well enough. Then, instead of
fixing it, they all left. Not all at once though. First one
left, then another, then another, until they were all gone.
We waited another hour for the owner to show up, by which
time half the compound had left to go to a bar, and he fiddled around
with something to get things fixed. Shortly after
8pm we got our lights back. I was quite happy as well because as soon
as the power went out, the mosquitos made a
beeline to me and started biting the crap out of me. I am now sporting
nine new welts just in time to be go home.
SUNDAY August 14, 2005
7:45am - We are supposed to be going to the beach today.
Hendrik said we'll be going around 2pm so there is a bit of
time to get things cleaned up a little around here. It's not too messy
at all but I get the feeling that Salma is a little bit of a
clean freak so we don't want her coming back and freaking out. I've
also packed up most of our things and I can only
hope and pray now that nothing gets broken on the trip home. I'm pretty
sure that everything is secure but, since I won't
be handling my luggage at the airport, all I can do is pray that it
10:55pm - Okay, so a little slight mix up in plans today. We were
really going to go to the Golden Tulip Hotel to swim in
their pool but it was raining and we couldn't see the point in paying
6,000 shillings to swim there when we could do it here
for free. So, instead, we just tidied up a bit and then went to
Chummy's house for dinner. Her mom invited us and she
made some great food, including banana soup, which I'd never had
before. It was really good and didn't really taste like
bananas at all. Hendrik didn't join us because he is sick with
something. Salma had to take him to the doctor's this
morning because he was throwing up all night. So, they are staying at
Salma's parent's house again tonight. Hopefully,
Hendrik feels better tomorrow. He says he's better now but an extra
day's rest can't hurt.
Also, after dinner, Chummy gave me a very nice bracelet and a kanga.
The kanga is black and white with the Tanzanian
flag and a portrait of President Nyerere on it. It was a complete
surprise, as I wasn't expecting anything at all and I'm
deeply touched that she went out of her way to get me a gift.
MONDAY August 15, 2005
8:25am - Paul is taking advantage of the morning by swimming in the
ocean and then he's going to take a quick dip in the
pool. I've got most things packed up to prepare for our departure
tomorrow. It's going to be a tight fit but I think we
will be able to get everything packed. Later today, we're supposed to
go to the beach as well as have some ugali and
octopus at Salma's parent's house. For now, it's just some final
cleaning before we head out this afternoon.
TUESDAY August 16, 2005
Well, so far so good. We have arrived in Dubai with no major problems.
We were a bit late, which, in the end, is okay
because that's less time hanging out in the airport. We took off late
because, well, you can't be on time in Tanzania. We
also had to wait in Nairobi again for people to get their shit sorted
out, which is annoying. If I can get to the airport on
time when I'm with Mr. I'm always late to everything, then so can
everyone else. I'd leave them behind personally.
2am - we got some good stuff at duty free and spent less than we
thought we would. We tried to get some sleep in the
quiet lounge but some dumbass american girls took that to me everyone
has to shut up but them. So, we didn't get much
sleep and I am a bit cranky right now.
WEDNESDAY August 17, 2005
8pm - well, we are finally home and we are both happy to be here. It's
more a matter of just wanting to get here after
we started our journey. At this point, I have been awake for 47 hours
and my tolerance levels are at zero. We were on
our flight from Dubai to home for just over 14 hours and I didn't get
any sleep. I tried, however, we were unfortunate
enough to be stuck with people in front of us who couldn't decide if
they wanted their seats reclined or up and also
couldn't decide if they wanted to be in their seats or getting up and
running around. Of course, getting up meant that they
had to grab their seats to get up, thus shaking my tv screen on the
back of their seat.
The people behind us also could
not decide if they wanted to remain in their seats or not so the back
of my seat was constantly grabbed and shaken on the
multitude of times they got in and out of our seats. The people to the
left of us had two little kids, one of which I was
convinced was satan. I probably shouldn't say much more because I might
go to hell for saying I wanted to smack the
living crap out of this kid. Yeah, I'm going to hell now.
Normally, I would chalk this up as just a minor annoyance, especially
since you are stuck in a flying tin can for 14
hours but add to it that I didn't have any sleep either, and I was
highly ticked off. Asking politely for people to stop only
increased their activity, followed by grins and giggles.
So, now I've passed out gifts to my mom and grandma, which they really
enjoyed and I was greeted by some other
annoyances that, at this point, I don't give a crap about. I really
just want some sleep.
THURSDAY August 18, 2005
So, I'm home and have dealt with my annoyances. Well, one is just
funny. First, we had no hot water so I got a cold
shower this morning. Ah, well. No big deal. Just like I've had before.
But, the problem was a stuck valve on the hot
water heater so that's all fixed and we'll have hot showers from now
on. Also, our nice neighbors have moved (we knew
this before we left) and we will miss them. Our neighbors next to them,
however, are also gone. This is because they
decided to cook something on the stove and then left the townhouse.
Brilliant. They burned down their kitchen and that
townhouse is now empty as well. Anyway, Paul and I are off to the mall
to get some tissues.
5pm - well, we never did get any tissues. We did pick up Grand Theft
Auto: San Andreas though. We kind of had to
because it's going to be pulled pretty soon. EB Games said they are the
only store in the mall that is still carrying it and
they don't know how long they will continue to do so. We were hoping to
wait for it to drop to twenty bucks for a used
game but that's probably never going to happen. We just had to be happy