Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hello, Moshi

We slept fitfully last night -- to be expected, I think. But the sheer exhaustion is helping us fend off jet lag to a certain extent. That's our hope, anyway.

Sitting on our secret balcony, we can hear music from the bar across the street -- occasionally drowned out by tuk-tuks and motorcycles.

It's been another lazy day so far. Up early, then to breakfast where we met a British couple who had arrived last night and were heading out for their climb today. Bold. That's one of the nice things about travel; chatting with people and then saying goodbye.

After breakfast we went back to the room to sort some things out, and then went back to the restaurant to say hello to the group that arrived late last night ... all wide-eyed and scared. And I have already forgotten all of their names...

Then we WALKED TO TOWN. Which was lovely, except we struggled to shake off Sylvester, the flycatcher we had met on the way to the hotel on the first day, when he tried to sell us paintings, banana leaf paintings, hats, and beaded bracelets. If I didn't mind the hassle, I would have bought a particularly bad piece with Kilimanjaro and an acacia tree in the background, and a zebra in the foreground, captured from the rear, looking over its shoulder. with a "come hither" stare. I'm no artist .... but I swear it wasn't much better than this:

It just screamed "BATHROOM ART" but I just couldn't face the hassle. But I'll always remember it.

ANYWAY, we walked along to town and couldn't shake him. Wil decided to buy him off by buying a bracelet -- which I thought was a bad idea, and he tried to sell it for $20. Umm, no. In the end Wil offered him 5,000 TSh (about $2.50) but it got rid of him for a while.

Lots of "Jambo!" and "Hallo!", smiling children, smiling old men, and shy women with timid smiles.

Into town and we meandered through the market -- not a market for us, clearly, but for locals. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, washing powder, etc. No other wazungu (white people) around -- in fact, we didn't see any in town all day. No, strike that. Wil glimpsed a white woman browsing in a very tidy curio shop (I missed it).

We bought sodas, postcard stamps from the post office, and changed some money. But mostly we wandered, looked, and shook off -- in a friendly way -- the occasional flycatcher.

We walked back along the railroad tracks to the hotel. Lots of sweet exchanges with children and old men.

We got back to the hotel and headed to the pool for a little swim. As we lounged on some chairs I looked behind me and GASPED -- there was a small tortoise ambling through a garden. A TORTOISE. Upon further inspection there were two tortoises, and they're being fed. Which is nice. Until we realized that there's a band of muddy tortoise footprints along the edge of the wall ... is he trying to escape? Or just looking for a little help turning around?

Note the muddy brown footprint smudges all along the wall behind him!

Then some reading, and some lunch, where we met Liz, who had been following our posts. Funny to meet people who just know you from pictures! The group all seem nice -- and excited. And antsy.

We went for a second walk -- this one back toward the rice fields along the railroad tracks for an hour or so. As we headed out we saw very few people at first ... but then suddenly there were a lot of people headed in both directions. We must have just hit a quiet window.

Today's highlight: "Hi! Wazungu! Hi!" ("Hi! White people! Hi!")

Then back to the hotel, where we decided to be a little social and take a group through the gates to see the mountain, since she was out again. Ooh, ahh!

Then we peeled off again, picked up a couple of Stoneys, and headed upstairs to our nook -- the front balcony -- to read, write, and take pink-tinged photos of Kili.

We sat next to Ken and Mary at dinner and were able to get caught up -- they're off to South Africa after the safari, so my little fantasy of running into them in the twisted lanes of Stone Town has been DASHED.

Tomorrow is our pre-climb meeting with the guides!

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