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The Summit      Preparations       Memo      What you must Know     Altitude Sickness

Preparations  (Getting to Kilimanjaro)

20 July 2004

 I finally left Cape town on my way to Kilimanjaro, after having a nice half chicken at the airport with the kids and my wife.

Finally I am on my Way!!.

Arriving at Johannesburg, Uncle Jorge was waiting for me. I had a very good laugh when we were driving out of the airport, and we were asked to switch the engine off. This they do to ensure that one has not stolen the car. Yep, This is Jhb all right!!.

 21 July 2004

 I am at the airport and ready to leave. I booked in very early, so I have no worries. Just had a breakfast and my stomach is doing the butterfly thing, but it will be ok.

I canít believe I am actually and finally doing it!!

 Dar Es Salaam

Arrival at Dar es Salaam

 

Airplane landed and door opens: whooshhhh!! Heat wave welcome the oven 33Degrees, I almost lost my wi.....!!.

I got to the custom officer who was moving very slow and after Ĺ hour I realized that I had left my sleeping bags on the plane (sudden panic). I ran back to the tube that we came in and it was closed already and they were towing the airplane away. In panic I spoke to an officer and explained to him that I had to get the sleeping bags, as it was all I had to go up Kilimanjaro with. The officer said no problem, he opened the door of the extending tube and he started to whistle to the person towing the plane away, screaming is Swahili. The man smiled and started to tow the plane back towards the tube. To my relief, they opened the plane; I ran in and got my bag. This is a land of no problems for anyone and this was the first taste of it I got. Try to do this stunt anywhere else, you would probably have to fill forms for Africa in petitions and pass them through some high-ranking officer for him or her to just say no. Here, it took a whistle, a good laugh and it was done.

Bags recovered, I proceeded to customs. Slow, Slow, Slow, Super slow process. Standing in the queue, let my eyes wonder at the beauty of the women around. Women here are WOW!!!; pitch black, slender and very beautiful.

Once out of the airport I met with a nice guy who was a freelance tour operator (Norman Shayo) who seems very nice and told me he would try to organize me a ride to Serengeti.

 He took me to flamingo restaurant at Dar es Salaam airport where I had a nice salad and rested waiting for my connecting flight.

The place is very nice and decent. The owner told me that I could stay as long as I whished. He has Internet facilities at the restaurant, which I tried to use with no luck. Nothing worked!!.

I left for Kilimanjaro airport at 8:00 pm. If you thought the arrival was slow, the departure was even worse. Nobody seems in any kind of a hurry here; everything is slow.

By the way, the owner of the restaurant is also the owner of 3 other shops at the airport. Wherever you go, there he is. He seems to own the airport (I would not be surprised).

 

Moshi

I arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport and all was fine there. Emmanuel (my guide) was waiting. Very nice guy. He took me to the hotel (mountain inn), which is 45 km from there, in an old battered Suzuki jeep. This gave a very nice raw first impression to my arrival.

At he hotel we had supper at 10:30pm and we talked for a long time. I fell asleep eventually in my room like sleeping beauty, hoping that a princess would wake me up with a kiss (dream on!!).

 23 July 2004

Moshi town

Today I woke up late. I had a very small breakfast and took a bus/kombi into moshi.

Breakfast at Mountain Inn

What a ride!, 26 people fitted in this bus. A lady had to put half her bum on top of my leg to fit next to me; everyone was hanging onto each other so I did same by getting hold of this big womanís love handles!!. She looked at me and smiled. It was a nice ride. The people here are so natural, simple and fun.

In town I met a guy who I became friends with almost instantly (Rosmin). He took me for a walking tour around the place. We went especially to the real places. We went to the market where you can buy just about anything.  Spices from and for Africa. Colorful place full of life and beautiful people. Elegant women always working hard at something. I saw many stalls selling mountains of 5 cm long dried fish. This apparently you cook or steam and eat it with rice. People buy it by the Kilo. The shops and stalls are of beautiful colors and full of life.

The butchery was a shock to my system. It is an open stall with pieces of meat (raw) hanging from dirty walls, no fridge, no salt, just flies. People actually buy cuts of meat. The stench of rawness is quite something but here it is a way of life.

We walked through the back streets of moshi, and passed Swahili street where houses are made of mud and are about to fall, but people live there.

The spirit of Africa is most present in this area.

All people are some kind of entrepreneurs and I still have to find a house without a stall or a person sitting outside selling something.

Sewing seems to be a big thing here, as every second shop has a peon outside (on the streets) with a sewing machine sewing some colorful garment.

Women wear beautiful African color clothes complemented with a turban in their heads.

We had a snack at a place where a very nice lady, her two daughters and 2 sons serve very nice Samoosas. Very cozy place, where she personally attends you.

One of her boys had an obsession with cleanness, as he kept on wiping the floor during the whole duration of our lunch.

I went to an Internet cafe and what a joke!. Maximum speed of 14400 if youíre lucky. It took me 45 minutes to write a 1-page email. Apparently all service providers have only wireless connections to offer, and this makes them very slow and unreliable. Anyway, most people here do not know of any faster browsing so they do not complain.

Super slow Internet cafe

We then visited the outskirts of town, which is where life really is. Saw no luxuries; plain simple living. People here have a beautiful spirit and I enjoyed this from them.

I took another kombi back to my hotel and now I am resting and eating a tomato, cucumber and carrot salad, which took me quite sometime to explain to the chef.

This is a beautiful place, but most important; with beautiful people.

  

     The market, a colorful experience                 Swahili street

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