30 May 2010

seeing giraffes 10 feet away never gets old

We left Zanzibar on a little plane with just our 15 or 16 people. The air was harder to breathe than in a big plane. Flight lasted about an hour and a half. When we landed in Arusha, the three girls that had been working in the orphanage for the week were at the airport to meet us. It was like a little reunion. We went to the grocery store--- Shop-Rite, to get food for the safari. I bought some nutella, 3 bottles of water and sour gummy worms. Only the essentials. The Nutella ended up being a hit at breakfast on our pancake/crepes.

In Arusha, we went to a Snake Park and saw all these snakes that have killed people. Literally by swallowing them whole. They protected the snakes, some owls, tortoises and alligators. I got a picture with a harmless snake around my neck. Then we went to a Maasai museum. The Maasai are a group of people that live in Africa. They’re straight up warriors. They only eat goat, sheep and cow’s meat, milk and blood. Oh, and before lions became endangered, men used to kill lions and bring back to head to the family of the woman he wanted to married. They just use spears and knives. The Maasai are polygymous and they don’t understand why a man can’t marry more than one woman in America. Our response was…. “It’s against the law.” Bizarre but over here, polygamy is very common, especially in villages where women can die in childbirth. If you have more than one wife and one dies, there will be others to look after her children. Life’s just different over here. I bought some necklaces from the Maasai women and rode a camel. They’re A LOT taller than a horse.

We had a 2-3 hour drive to the Highview Hotel. We drove on really curvy roads in the dark, but the Hotel was like a beacon of light on the side of the mountain. The hotel is owned by Zara Tours, the same company that owns Springlands Hotel we stayed in Moshi. The company also guided us on safari, set up camp and will some of the group up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Staying at Highview felt familiar because it was so similar to Springlands. There was a group that came and danced after dinner. I only stayed for about half of it because I was TIRED. It had been a long day.
On the 25th, we left the hotel for the Ngorongoro Crater (ON-gore-ON-goro) to start the safari WOOOO HOOOO! I had just finished reading a bunch of articles on baboons for Anthropology, and then we saw about 30 on the drive to the crater. It was awesome to see them behaving just like the readings had described. That’s the thing about study abroad--- you can read about baboon behavior or Muslim/Christian relations in Zanzibar all you want, but seeing it with your own eyes is so much more rewarding.

We stayed at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Oh man, it was like a ski resort with nice fireplaces and big leather couches, just with no snow. The view was breathtaking, overlooking the whole crater. The temperature was in the high 50’s, SOOO NICE compared to the hot and humid coast. The crater is a collapsed volcano so the soil is really fertile and everything is green and beautiful. We saw rhinos, warthogs (Pumba in Swahili!) antelope, cheetah, hippos. I got about 200 pictures within the next few days. We spent the whole day in a land cruiser with a pop up top. I wish I had bought some binoculars because we had to share, but hakuna matata.

The next day we headed to the Serengeti. One of our teacher thats been going for 10 years said she had never seen the grass because of rain, which is awesome because the animals stay longer instead of migrating to find water.

Our camp was LEGIT. showers in the tents, glassware at dinner. The tents were like the tents in the 4th Harry Potter movie at the Quiddich Cup. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. We rode around all day-- about 3 or 4 hours at a time. I'd like to know exactly how much time I've spent in a car this month.

I'm back at SPringlands Hotel in Moshi today. My flight to Amsterdam is at 9:30 Monday night. Then I'll meet mom dad & nat there. I'll write more tomorrow. I can't believe this trip is so close to being over. I've loved it so much, but going home will be so great.


  1. What a wonderful traveloge. You make it all seem so exciting, as I'm sure it is. Can't wait to meet you Tues. AM in AMS.
    We are sitting in the gate in ATL, hoping to get on a flight to Minneapolis, then AMS. Nonstop from ATL full
    I will update you later. How was the Internet coverage at Pride Rock.
    Love you, Dad

  2. Made it to MSP. Amsterdam and beyond! Wide open.