Tanzania Journal 5: Wednesday, 22 June

MacAvity's picture

Wednesday, 22 June

Heheheh. There's a shower here at the Ilboru Safari Lodge and I just showered and before I showered I found out that Mom brought a big bottle of shampoo and a big bottle of conditioner. Yeah. No wonder her luggage weighs fifty pounds. Sheesh. 'I have long hair!' she says. I didn't even bring deodorant.

That's all that's happened yet today, considering that it's only, I don't know, eight in the morning or thereabouts. The only other thing even possibly worth note is that my t-shirt smells like pesticides. I haven't been wearing it until now - for the travelling, I wore my rather pajama-like fleece pants, fleece vest, and gray sleeves. Still have the gray sleeves on, actually, which is good because it puts something between me and the pesticide t-shirt.

Oh, and, this isn't about today, but yesterday was the winter solstice! Because, y'know, we can never just have summer in June, winter in December, summer, winter, summer, winter like normal people. Oh no. Let's see. Warning: This is mostly just me showing off how many fantastic places I've been, because I knew I would probably end up showing it to you lot. So, sorry, I'm about to be an insufferable show-off about how great my life is. Also it's going to be full of references to places and incidents without any explanation so they won't make any sense. I'm afraid I'm about to get really annoying.

June 2007 we were crossing the country eastwards in the Honda, yes? Stealth camping by night, Mushroom Rock State Park, bicycles strapped to the back of the car. Summer, in the Northern Hemisphere, in the United States, contiguous. Normal, and all the solstices before it normal as well. Actually the solstice was Deathly Hallows so 2007 must have been the time with the Majestic? No, that's not right, because the first transcontinental was definitely not 2006. I'm confused.

December 2007 - Chile. The boat, infamous. Ro-Ro Magellanes, Magdalena, the Chilean National Bun, endless hours of reading 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Southern Hemisphere, summer solstice. Summer summer.

June 2008 - Transcontinental in the Majestic. Treehugger's Family, Glacier National Park, Sage and Zuma go to Canada. Northern Hemisphere. Summer. Summer summer summer.

December 2008 - Yellowstone. White Christmas, wicked cold, snow on the roof of the car all the way back to California. Northern Hemisphere. Winter solstice. Summer summer summer winter.

June 2009 - Peru. Probably Manu, though the Andes trek was the more memorable part. Manu had lightning bugs and butt-bats. And it was definitely the Southern Hemisphere. Winter. Summer summer summer winter winter.

December 2009 - Arizona. That unmemorable excursion to the desert when all I (italics on the 'I' - it doesn't quite merit an underline, especially as 'I' is the worst word to underline because it has that horizontal line under it already) wanted to do was have Christmas at home and go to Grey's birthday party. Northern Hemisphere, winter. Summer summer summer winter winter winter.

June 2010 - Alaska. Very much Northern Hemisphere, very much summer. Summer summer summer winter winter winter summer.

December 2010 - Arizona or New Mexico. That nice trip to Carlsbad and suchlike places. Winter. Summer summer summer winter winter winter summer winter.

June 2011 - That's now. Or yesterday rather. Actually in all that travel it was probably on the solstice that we crossed the Equator. So it could count as summer and winter. Weird. But I'll classify it as winter predominantly, because in flight is considered sort of outside times and places because otherwise it's just too confusing. So. Summer summer summer winter winter winter summer winter winter (or summer/winter for the sake of extra weirdness).

And then wherever we are in December 2011 it will be in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore winter again.

So yeah pretty much we're time travellers.

(/Annoying showoffery.).............................................................

...And now we're in the airport, waiting for the plane to somewhere-else. Mwanza.

I've got a banana that I'm carrying around in my pocket all day unless I eat it before 'all day' has passed. Leaena would be so proud. (Because Leaena is the Prime Doctor-Stalker and the Doctor has a thing about bananas, particularly having them always with him at the most random times.) We discovered these bananas at breakfast. They're fantastic. Even when ripe (I prefer bananas underripe) they're better than our normal bananas at their best, plus they're about half the length, so, perfect size for carrying around in a pocket. We need this breed of bananas - that looks like three, maybe four ns ('cause of my handwriting, which you can't see), but some of them are just as that look funny - in the States, seriously. I would, like, always have one in my pocket. Partly to entertain Leaena, yes, but mostly because bananas, and these bananas in particular, genuinely are good.

Breakfast on the whole was good, speaking of breakfast. Most notable for the aforementioned bananas, the variety of interesting jams, and the hard-boiled eggs with white yolks. Very weirdly white yolks.
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We were all actually awake today for the ride from Arusha back to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which we obviously weren't yesterday going the other direction. It was kind of beautiful, just seeing all these ordinary people going about their ordinary lives in a place where ordinary is completely alien to us. People milling about everywhere, burning charcoal, killing chickens, balancing heavy bundles on their heads, herding goats and cattle, getting their hair done, chumming around.
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Random funny to explain later:
Family: What drink did you get?
Me: It's fa Fanta... dark colored?
Mom: Grape?
Me: They said something that sounded like 'black orange'....
Dad: Maybe it's cherry! (Said very brightly and randomly. Because 'cherry' is totally what looks like grape but sounds like 'black orange.')
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Resuming chronologically:

we rode back to the airport, blah blah blah blah blah.... another plane ride... got to Mwanza, the second largest city in Tanzania after Dar es Salaam, with Arusha being third.... waited for William, our guide, for rather a long time before he realised that we were the people for whom he had been waiting. While we were waiting we wondered (blasted alliteration) over a signpost giving such pointers as <Kilimanjaro ### N.M (that's supposed to be those words inside a little signpost arrow, by the way) - the question was what was meant by N.M; I ruled out nanometers and favored nautical miles, Dad ruled out nautical miles and favored New Mexico.

William drove us through Mwanza, clearly a wealthier city than Arusha, stopped at a bank so we could exchange a hundred United States Dollars for Tanzanian Shillings (sixteen shillings per cent), and took us to a restaurant called 'Diners' for soda.

- Random observation: I had always learned that 'taxicab' is the only word in English that can be split into two smaller words each meaning exactly the same as the original. Not so. Sodapop. -

This is when happened the Random Funny on the opposing page. We later established that my Fanta was indeed black cherry. And this is why it's always good, when in doubt, to choose the option that is most purple.

Thence went we on through many kilometers of suburbs - hey, 'nother word-related observation: suburbs ought to be a singular noun, if it comes from urbs, urbis, third declension, femenine (sic - that's not a word I usually misspell, either, and hey, I finally learned recently that 'sic' is not an abbreviation for anything but is rather the Latin word for 'thus,' as in 'thus it was misspelled in the original'), which it does. Then again, if we are going to get too grammatical, it would have to be suburbe, with the ablative. And then, ooh, what would the plural be, suburbes or suburbibus? Not suburbibus, 'cause that would make the cities plural and not the sub-cities. Regardless - (picking up from 'many kilometers of suburbs') and farmland, all beautifully alienly ordinary - 'alienly' is so a word: 'alien' is an adjective, so 'alienly' must necessarily be the adjective adverb form. Curse you, spellchecker that isn't even here still checking my handwritten journal! - (picking up from 'beautifully alienly ordinary) and lots of beautiful alien ordinary people working the fields or making bricks or milling around, and children shouting and waving the Swahili for 'White!' because we were as beautifully alien to them as they were to us.
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And now we're here at the Speke Bay Lodge, on the very shore of Lake Victoria. Seriously, the beach is a few meters away from the back doors of the cabins. This whole place is supremely fantastic. There were birds everywhere all afternoon - ibises and swallows and weaverbirds and kingfishers and herons and others I can't even name - and now that it's night there are millipedes and toads and bats and geckos and a scorpion and lots of annoying flying bugs. And the food is good and the grounds are beautiful and the cabins are amazing - we got two of them even though one of them has three twin beds and we're any of us prepared to sleep on the floor, and they have lofts! Lofts are just awesome at any time. Sadly, Mr Fusion claimed the only loft bed.

And once again it's not that late but we're all wicked tired. Our sleep clocks have a lot of adjusting to do and are maybe mostly done.....
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Written Tuesday 19 July:

22 June
- Yeah that is confusing about 2007. I know for a fact, absolutely, that 'Deathly Hallows' came out at midnight on the twenty-first of June, 2007. That was the summer between eighth and ninth grade for me. And I'm pretty sure that we got 'Deathly Hallows' on CD and listened to it in the Majestic. 'Cause the Honda has a tape player. So maybe 2007 was the Majestic transcontinental after all. Which would have made 2006 the Honda transcontinental. Okay, maybe. But 2008 is when we climbed Mount Washington and saw Grammie for the last time, because Grammie died on the twenty-third of January, 2009. So we were in New Hampshire in 2008, and I thought we had gotten there in the Majestic rather than by flying. So I remain confused.
- Heheheh, the white-yolked eggs. As it turns out, all egg yolks in all of Tanzania are always white. Some yellowish white, some as white as the whites of the eggs. They taste the same

Written Wednesday 20 July:
as normal eggs - I discovered that I actually kind of like hard-boiled eggs; I had figured until then that eggs were slightly gross no matter how they were cooked. And in Tanzania, they expected us to eat a lot of eggs. An egg cooked to order at every breakfast, and a hard-boiled egg at every boxed lunch.
- It was actually supposed to be black currant. And we need it in the States.
- Speaking of soda, and the paragraph before the appearance of purple Fanta (about how everything was so beautifully alien and that was the first time we saw what would, over the course of the month, become almost familiar) - A great many of the buildings, like houses and shops and whatnot, were pained with giant Coca Cola advertisements. Sometimes other brands, but usually Coca Cola. Advertisements everywhere - Coca Cola must pay people to let their houses be turned into billboards. It was interesting - Mr Fusion was particularly fascinated - and for some reason it didn't strike me as at all 'wrong.'
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Transcribed as faithfully as possible from my handwritten travel journal.
Italics indicate where I have changed or added to what I originally wrote.
Notes and expansions which I have written later, at the back of the journal, will be included along with their appropriate days, labelled with the dates on which they were written.
The handwritten journal uses a format in which the first line of every paragraph is indented and no line is skipped between paragraphs. As I cannot use indents here (or don't know how), I will skip a line between paragraphs, and use two a line of ........ when I skipped a line in the written journal.
Some entries are illustrated. I will do my best to either describe the illustrations or to include some equivalent image.