Saturday, June 30, 2012

06/30 - Moshi

Today we took a day trip to Moshi.  It is a smaller town in the foothills of Kilimajaro.  We opted to use our driver John.  It made more sense to pay him than to try to ride the mini buses.  It was a little more than an hour drive.  The roads here are special.  They put random speed bumps, even on the highway, so that you are never going as fast as you would like.

One of the mosques in Moshi

Once we arrived, we were trying to get our bearings.  Every time we stopped the van though, we were rushed by at least two or three locals who wanted to help (and invite us to their shop or ask us for a tip).  We found a coffee house that was listed in the guidebook as the "best coffee in East Africa."  The coffee was good but it was definitely a hangout for tourists.  Shortly after we sat down, about 40 h.s. kids on a trip from the US invaded.

Maasai man sitting outside a shop in town

After finishing up our coffee, we headed for the local artisan market.  We had to ask a bunch of people where it was located.  It is kind of amazing to me still that tourism is such an important part of their economy and it is still so hard to get answers about where things are.  I didn't buy anything in the market, but it was interesting.  We saw some of the guys out behind the shacks doing woodwork and a couple of them making paintings.

After leaving the market, we went to pick up our guide a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro.  Unfortunately Kili didn't show itself today (too many clouds), but our guide took us on a hike.  We ended up a little off the beaten path.  The road was terrible, but once we got to a clearing, we got out of the van and headed down a trail.  We paid a fee to some people in a shack (the village charges for the hike to the waterfall, our guide told us).  They gave us walking sticks and off we went.  When we got to the bottom of the gorge, there was an amazing waterfall.  A bunch of local teenagers were down there splashing and playing and taking pictures of each other.  I guess some things are the same wherever you go.

View of the mountains on the drive over

See the monkey??

Ndoro Waterfall

Headed down the trail to the waterfall

The ride home seemed longer than the ride there.  We were all tired from the hike.  Once we got back to the hotel, we ordered dinner.  Our waiter (who I don't think speaks any english beyond whats exactly on the menu) came back and told us that they had closed the kitchen but had a buffet.  Then came back and told us the buffet was closed.  Then came back and told us we could have what we ordered off, but he would get it for us (off the nonexistent buffet).  Then he came back and told us they didn't have chicken at all but chicken stew.  When Phillip asked what was in the stew, the guy said "chicken" and after a long pause, he said "and stew"  After a short conversation with the manager who speaks English pretty well, Gretchen was able to get them to cook our original order.  Toady was a long day to wrap up a long week.  Tomorrow, I do not plan to leave the hotel except maybe to get something to eat.  We have been on the go all week, including our escape from the lodge.  Tomorrow, I will catch up on some reading and rest.  Good night all!

Wedding party in the back of a pickup on the road today
 (and yes that is a guy on roller blades holding on
to the truck that was going about 40 or 50 mph)
One of the mini buses that we almost took to Moshi
(Glad we skipped can't see how packed it is here)

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