Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a weekend in the Usambara Mountains: Two American Girls get really lucky

My phone rang and I immediately peed on my right foot- squatting and answering my cell is a balancing act that I don't enjoy.
"The bus is leaving, like now!"- Mary
Shit. I hiked up my ankle length skirt above my knees and, with a roll of toilet paper in my right hand, sprinted past men barking "mzungu, mzungu!" followed by other muddled questions and exclamations in Swahili.
There it was, my bus that I had patiently waited on for one and a half hours after the departure time finally getting going. I hopped on, while it was rolling, and saw Mary's relieved face.

Not leaving Dar es Salaam until 2:30 was going to put us in Lushoto around 8:30, after dark- not good.
Across the aisle and one row up I could see English written in a notebook of another passanger. Perfect- a male that speaks English, couldn't have asked for a better scenario. After some hours on our Shambalai bus, without AC, I secured the notebook with English inside- a fair trade for my Lonely Planet Tanzania guide book. Mutual curiosity worked in our favor and our new friend personally escorted Mary and I all the way to the doorstep of our hostel.

Day 2
The guide books all recommend NOT accepting random tour guides... but, only 4,000 shillings? Eh, why not? Let's go.
Oh my god, is he running up this mountain? Why am I running up this mountain?!
Two hours later my legs were a little shakey and every muscle in my body was a bit confused as to what it could have done to deserve the abuse. Even my somach, and probably my dear worms, was twisting in rebellion to the cup of sugar cane beer.
My entire left leg dropped off the narrow path up there (and longed to continue down the clif to avoid flexing again) but I was able to catch myself. However, once on a semi-level, downhill sloping dirt road, a couple of pebbles managed to completely take me out.
Beautiful: I drank beer from a cup at a villager's house, ate raspberries off the vine without washing them, have dirt rubbed into open wounds and a trickle of blood headed for my once white socks. Nimechoka sana!
Damn that view was worth it. The vegetation, the people, the soil, the clouds, the air, and oh those mountains!- I cannot express the sight. Any description I would give could no do them justice. Visit the Usambara Mountains when you get a chance (and make sure to pick up a random guide).

Back in town we switched hostels and headed to find food- a banana milkshake never sounded so good.
Our friend from the bus met up with us while we were dining and then proceeded to give us a town tour of Lushoto. We recieved a speech on "developing and maintaining" relationships and soon found ourselves being served peanuts and chai at his parents' house.
The night came to a close with Mary and I clutching our stomachs after devouring two boxes of cookies. Happy Valentine's Day.

Day 3
By a tree
In a bucket
In another bucket
In the grass outside the toilet
In a toilet! (many times over)
Ugali tastes bad the second time around... I heard a voice in the back of my head, it was my professor back in Dar saying, "Oh, that's what they prescribed you? If you even think about getting near alcohol you'll vomit like hell."
Why am I only now remembering those words of caution? Was the sugar cane beer worth it? Was it even the sugar cane beer's fault? I may never know.

Day 4: We need to get out of here!
The Super Sketch:
Kweli? Our bus isn't coming? Just get on that one going to the village of Mombo?
Ok... We did as we were told.
Shit, that one has my bag!
So we paid 12,000 shillings each for pieces of paper with our names spelled Merry and Edrian with 'Fresh Coach' written across the top.
We waited.
I have to eat one of those (it's been over 24hours since I've kept food down). I blotted the greasy potato samosa with my "ticket".
The bus is full? What? You have a small car waiting?
Who are these people? I hope they're heading to Dar... they seem nice. Haha, they're eating "Merry's" fruit!

I woke up at the sound of a police man's voice at the driver's window in front of me. I had a dribble of drool dried to my left cheek.
"Woah, you look like you've been throwing up for days." -Mary
"What's new? Ug, is he bribing him?"
"Yeah, think so. I heard something about wazungu and how this isn't a taxi..."-Mary

And so we made it home to Dar! Few! I'm getting new pills for my worms today. And for those of you wondering, the vomitting has come to a close.

1 comment:

  1. Mahn, I love reading the shit you write. And you write so well! :)
    Samosas?! You will find them in India too.. :D