Sunday, July 18, 2010

17th July Fiona's Perspective

This morning we set off with much trepidation. The question in both our minds was whether the vehicle would hold out for the long trek home, through remote areas where back up would be questionable if not non-existent.

5km soon became 200km and our anxiety started to fade. We sms the Workshop Manager in Nukuru to tell him that all was well and the problem had been sorted. They spent an entire day on our vehicle, fixed it properly and charged us R500. The amount we have spent at Rivonia Toyota, Steve's Auto clinic and various other garages is frightening, especially as they achieved nothing.

We drove through Nairobi at about lunchtime and seriously considered looking for a KFC, but found the traffic too congested and headed south without stopping. As we were negotiating our way out of Nairobi, we took the wrong turn and ended up in a roadblock going into the airport. Very freindly police gave us directions. Another soccer ball went to good use. I will upload the pic of the Policeman with his ball.

We headed for Arusha, Tanzania. A long drive, but we are starting to feel that we are running out of time and need to push the daily travel a little more. We found the roads fairly decent and stopped for a quick roadside snack of biscuits and cheese. Just before the Tanzanian border we stopped at a roadside curio shop run by the community. We did some serious negotiating and bought 2 wooden Maasai statues, about 1.3m high. Fitting them into an already fully packed car was a challenge, but soon we were on our way to the border.

The Kenyan border crossing was pleasant and quick, the entry into Tanzania also quick, but we found the Customs officials very self important and officious. All in all it was quick and we were on our way in 30minutes.
We soon discovered why it was a quiet border post. The roads from then on were just plain awful. Dirt and ruts and trucks... It took us 2 hours to travel the 80km to Arusha. At one stage we needed to pull some bushes out of the road to get onto a better section of the road. I got out and lifted the branches to discover they were full of thorns and as I reacted it swung round and hooked onto the back of my shirt and pants. There was nothing I could do to get unstuck and Alan had to come to my rescue.

Our hopes of getting to Moshi dashed as it was already getting dark. Alan was not keen to stay at the Maasai campsite again as it was probably the worst place they had stayed at on this trip, although it was highly rated in the guide book. Alan happened to befriend the Marketing Manager of the Arusha hotel, who had recently been to SA. He told us we had a wonderful country, much better than Tanzania. He then organised us a heavily discounted rate at the Arusha 5* hotel, the only one of this rating in town. I think another Soccer ball helped.

Uganda, Kenya and now Tanzania, power failures are common. At dinner, whilst in your room, the power just goes off. At least at home we believe they are scheduled.

The Maasai are a very colourful tribe and are now seen everywhere. The women wear tons of jewellery and Earings. They are not keen for you to photograph them, but I paid 4 women R100 to take a photo. It was only with my cell phone, but I have uploaded it to the blog.

We are heading for the Selous (pronounced Seloo) Game Reserve. The biggest in the world, 3 x bigger than the Kruger Park at 45 000 square km. It is a long drive and will probably take us another 2 days.

Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!

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