I am finally at Moshi, Kilimanjaro. It’s a 10 minute walk from here to Mt. Kili national park and I’ve always loved mountain air. But it’s been one hell of an adventure getting here.
I had just started my fourth week in Tanzania and was used to the slow pace and the routine. In the morning at around 10, one of the sisters came and told me that a couple of sisters were going to Moshi and I could go if I wanted. Knowing that the sisters would not give me another opportunity like this till maybe January, I ran to my room, packed and in two hours, I was off.
To catch a bus to Singida town, you are to stand on the main road for hours and hours and hope a bus passes by. Freddie, the local police, who was busy collecting bribes from trucks, stopped a very nice van for us that would take us to town. I was so happy to be sitting in a comfortable van for once instead of sitting in a sardine tin packed bus. Mid way, a passenger got off at his town and didn’t pay. So the conductor, knowing he had a “Mzungu” on board wanted to show off and rough him up forgetting that he was in the village where that man would obviously have friends who’d fight for him even if he was wrong. Soon it was 20 odd people against the driver and the conductor both of whom wouldn’t let it go even though they were outnumbered. I wanted to hide my face but they all kept looking at me and getting more enraged. Some curses about mothers and sisters were passed, more fighting and one really pissed off man banged his fist against the window where I was sitting. Thankfully Toyota knows a thing or two about making strong windows and my ribs stopped my heart from beating out of my body. The driver got on and zoomed off before any more damage could be done. I think that if we stayed longer, we’d all have been dragged out and beaten *shiver*
Then we reached Singida town. The last time I was here, we had a driver and a car and things were safe. This time we were on foot and one of the sisters accompanying me told me to be careful cause this was known to be a town of thieves. Even before she finished, this fruit seller dude grabbed my hand and pulled me to where he was sitting and started talking to me in English, insisting I stood next to him. I tried to be polite and nod and pull away but he really held on to me tight. It started raining (excellent timing – after 3 weeks of waiting) and I was finally able to escape. I stayed in a hostel for girls in the town – looked like a safe place – and I was so exhausted by now that I fell asleep.
At 3 o clock some rustling outside my window woke me up. There was some man outside who stealthily opened the gate and snuck in. After a while he was singing something in Arabic so I thought maybe its 5 o’clock and time for Namaz. He went into the garden, more rustling, peered inside my window and then just as quietly, snuck out. HOLY CRAP! I knew immediately that I had to leave so I took a Taxi to the bus stand determined to make my way to Kilimanjaro at any cost – I hitchhiked most of the way on various buses. This part of the journey was exhilarating. The landscape of Africa is so beautiful. I wish I had taken photos but was too scared to take out my camera since I was travelling alone. The plains which were dry and arid, the lakes and the hills, the national parks, the bars with big groups of backpackers, the hyena’s, zebra’s and pine martens.
The real Maasai in the Maasai steppe – I dined with a couple of warriors. It was really incredible just to hear of their lives. Finally we reached Mt. Meru at Arusha and then 2 hours from there was Moshi It’s a big town full of white people, I guess a lot of tourists come here to visit Mt. Kilimanjaro. I felt really lucky that instead of just going in for a trek, I’d be living here.
So that’s the story. The network is again bad but in a week I should be back where the phone and net work. Until later xoxo