Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 16 - Alan's Perspective

I was told that my last posting was abrupt and it sounded if I was
irritable. Spot on!

On Sunday 13th we left Mark and Mel after a superb dinner cooked by Mel and
Alex. We started with chicken liver pate and home cooked bread and then the
main course consisted of chicken wraps, chilli concarne, paw paw salad and
potato salad!!! What a meal.

We left and headed for the border post Tunduma, a four hour drive away.
Once we reach the outskirts of the town we stopped for the usual wee stop
as the facilities are always questionable at border posts.

As we drove into the town I decide (and rue the decision) to use my last
kw50 000 on fuel. I was given 6 litre's for this vast amount of money! (My
car misfired for 80 km after due to water being in the fuel).

This was where I mentioned, very briefly, that Gavin and I had a sense of
humour failure. The actual issue was that there are so many people around
you and it appears as if there is NO organisation at all. In fact there is
organisation but because you are a mzungu everyone tries to take advantage
of you and your lack of understanding the processes.

So that is what happened to us, Gavin's agent was so eager to help him that
he grabbed his carne out of his hand (we had yet to use our carne's) and
gives it to the official who in turn starts to incorrectly fill it out (we
had entered Zambia using out CIP documents this should not have been done).
The upshot was that when we went to the Tanzanian side they gave Gavin
uphill because they wanted a Zambian stamp on the carne. Off we go walking
back to Zambia to get the stamp (left Jen and Jess in the cars) but Zambian
official says no way they cannot give Gavin a stamp. At this point we had
visions of sleeping at the border post as it was 16h30! Back to Tanzania
side where I walked to the back office (the supervisors were watching world
cup football) and asked for someone to help us as the gentleman in the
front was confused with our dilemma. Someone came to assist but it did take
a plea from myself that all they had to perhaps do was change and sign
where the doc was wrong and put their rubber stamp over it to make our
passage easier. We had agreement!!! 2 hours 15 minutes later left the
border post!!!

We drove like hell to get to the Utengule Coffee Plantation just before
Mbeya before dark. As we arrived at our destination we got to see the most
incredible African sunset. Jess took lots of pics.

Whilst unpacking the car I met a local chap called Lorian who joined us for
dinner (worst rump I have ever had)and he gave us advice on where to do
We watched abit of the Germany vs Australia game and then headed off to

Left after breakfast and headed for Old Farmhouse campsite. We arrived at
about 15h00 and were, for the first time, able set up a decent campsite.

That morning I had taken a piece of rump and boerewors out of the freezer
for dinner and had marinaded it for the day.

Jess prepared veggie parcels (potato, tomato, onion, garlic and sweetcorn
wrapped in tin foil to put in the fire) and sandwiches (cheese, garlic,
tomato and onion)) that were to be toasted. It was a pretty good meal.

Met a few people (22 of them) doing a overland trip to Cape Town. We went
to the pub for a night cap or two. Had a pretty good sleep in the rooftop
tent! Jess snores!!

Up early the next morning and we packed up everything pretty quickly.

We set off for Iringa, a small town about 50 km away. Our plan was to put
fuel in and find the local craft shop for the girls.
We did more than that, we had coffee and a Tanzanian doughnut! Go figure!

We found a decent fuel station and filled up and then set off for Mikumi
National Park. The first stretch of rode was awesome and then the wheels
fell off again. There are rode works (like in SA) that go down to one lane,
so the traffic flow is controlled by a gentleman and his flag. So imagine
this, all the cars, trucks and buses are parked in a single file waiting
for the man to give thw go ahead. The Beast drives straight to the head of
the queue and get allocated a spot in front of everyone (we were told to do
this by someone - promise)!! I am watching this other person chatting to
the controller and all of a sudden I see him raise his hand and wave to
someone. In my review mirror a see one of the infamous buses pull out and
start moving forward. Bugger this I think and just as he is getting closer
I pull out in front of him and go through first!! Gotcha!!!

After this episode (and other actions) Gavin and Jen reckon that I have
become a African driver. So be it!

The rest of the road trip was interesting!

The countryside is to die for, we travelled through the Valley of Baobabs
where all u see are these awesome trees (and baboons).

Jess and I arrived at Mikumi ahead of Gavin and Jen and waited for them to
catch up. We then headed off to Morogoro to find a place to camp but there
was nothing worthwhile at all!! We ended up in a B & B which looked ok but
that was about it!! The New Acropol Hotel could do with a bit of tlc. I had
to fix the toilet in our room as it was gushing water onto the floor, the
bed was awful. Food ok.

That is it for now, I will do the 16th post another time.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 13 Alan's Perspective

I sort of cut short my comments on a few points. But here we go.

Andrew and George from Fringilla are a awesome father and son combo. Andrew
the P cat and George the stable one. No seriously, just the salt of the
earth people.

Onto young Mark (or not so) and Mel at Kapishya, Mark did not know what had
hit him!! The Jameson's (did you know that Jameson's is not a adventure
drink) team had come to town, Gavin and Alan!
I think that Mel is pretty happy we left after three days as Mark was
taking strain.

To say that we had a fun time with them is a understatement, they are
awesome people.

I mentioned the visit to Shiwa House, frankly whilst there is certainly
lots of history that surrounds the place and all the books say that you
must visit there, it is over priced for what it is. You get to see a
chapel, library, dining room and oh yes the lounge. All this for $20!

So we left Kaposhya this morning and travelled to the border post. What can
I say but the fact that Zambian people are so great and now we have to move
beyond our border experience with Tanzania.

2 hours and 15 min it took to get through the process. You are hassled by
so called agents as they want to make a buck out of you, they do absolutely
nothing for their fee other than show you where to go.

Both Gavin and I got to tipping point. Enough is enough, who needs to be
hassled for nothing?

Eventually we got through but by this time tempers were on the cusp of a
reaction! Off to Utengule Coffee Lodge
for the night.

Arrived at lodge after dark. Checked in and had dinner. Had a early night.

Alan Austin
National General Manager Sales & Marketing

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