Andy picked me up at noon on Monday for our drive down to JFK. The first leg of our flight takes us to Amsterdam. The flight was seven hours long. A flight of this length does not encourage a good sleep. You are served two meals and even if you manage to fall asleep it is not for very long. I have come to make a science of falling asleep on airplanes. We were served dinner, I then took my malaria pill and fell asleep. Slept for around three hours until breakfast was served. As I get older, I unfortunately need more and more sleep.
We arrived in Amsterdam at around five AM. Our next flight was at ten for Kilimanjaro Tanzania and the town of Arusha. We found the KLM lounge and settled in for the long layover. KLM went overboard on this lounge. The breakfast and coffee was amazing and they even had beds to sleep. While waiting other members of our group began to file in and meet us. There are ten of us in the group including Andy and Sean. Sean is a professional photographer who was born and raised in the African Bush. He lives in Nairobi and is meeting us at our hotel in Arusha.
After countless cups of coffee, we finally left for our gate and the flight. I had an aisle seat and yearned for sleep. We were first served lunch, which I hardly ate and then I immediately fell asleep. Unfortunately, I was sitting next to a young woman who constantly had to go to the bathroom. She kept on waking me up but probably got about five hours of sporadic sleep.
We finally landed in Kilimanjaro in the dark. Tanzania is very close to the equator so sunrise and sunset is almost never varies between six AM and six PM. Immigration was quite slow. There were lots of people waiting on line for three officials. Fortunately, I was near the front of the line and was processed. I then picked up my luggage and was met by Andy and the others outside for the thirty minute ride to our hotel.
Our hotel is called “Rivertrees” and iin the dark seems to be in a dense jungle. We were given an introduction and our room keys. I scheduled a massage for ten. My room is typical African. No air conditioning, lots of screen windows and a huge bed under a large mosquito net. I immediately took a shave and hot shower. What a relief
It was then time to jump into my cocoon. The weather is very pleasant. No humidity and a slight breeze. There is a huge fan on top of my bed. Perfect sleeping situation. I set my alarm for 6:30 and fell asleep.
Woke up from the sound of my alarm and walked over for breakfast. The hotel is situated in a dense forest of jungle vegetation.
The breakfast was very tasty and of course, the Tanzanian coffee was great. I have my massage at ten, lunch at twelve and a village tour at 2:30. Stressful day ahead in my favorite place in the world. While eating breakfast, the hotel was playing Nina Simone songs. How perfect, listening to Nina Simone while eating breakfast in a beautiful African setting.
Had a massage at 10 AM. The woman asked me soft or hard? Of course, I said hard. She worked over my body and tried to squeeze my muscles whenever she could. So relaxing but uncomfortable sometimes. After the massage she filled a large stone bathtub with hot water and let me lay in it as long as I wanted to. After a while, I started to fall asleep and realized that it was time to get up. Got dressed and then went back to my room to relax.
At about noon time I met Sean. Born and raised in the Bush. How envious I am of this sort of upbringing. To always be close to nature and understand it is such a gift that could never be taught in school.
Cat and myself, Cat is one of the participants, took at drive to the local market at about 3 PM. I was so glad I went. The colors and sounds were unique. We saw women carrying huge bags on their heads and people selling almost everything imaginable. Most of the people did not like their pictures taken so I was very discreet and respectful, but still captured some good shots.
We will be having our Andy and Sean meeting at 6:30 and then dinner. Will be off the grid starting tomorrow morning as the adventure begins. It has been 18 months since I last experienced the “African Bush”. I miss it. The beauty of Gods amazing creatures in their natural environment. Their majesty, colors and sounds are truly epic.
The game plan is not to blog until I return home. I will continue to write them daily but publish them, one per day, when I return home.