Moshi, I'm Finally Here! (email)

Moshi Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 23 › view all entries

I know it hasn't been long since my last email, but nothing much happens
here in Moshi after the sun goes down, so we're just here hanging out in an
Internet Cafe for a few minutes and I thought I'd drop you all a quick note

I have really, truly made it to Moshi... my home for the next 5 weeks. We've
only been here since this afternoon, but I already LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! Both
my dad and I are SO relieved to be here, and to see what kind of a city it
is. Unlike many of the places we have been so far, Moshi is NOT a tourist
trap... it is more orderly and less overwhelming, and it is very easy to
find your way around. The people are very nice and friendly, and not that
I'm about to go roaming the streets by myself at night, but I feel
completely safe. So, we were happy to discover all of this over the past few
hours :)

We arrived at the Kilimanjaro airport around 3:00 this afternoon. We were
supposed to have a taxi driver there meeting us (the usual sign in hand with
our names listed on it...) but we got our luggage... and there was no one
there for us. We waited a few minutes, and finally decided to look into the
"free shuttle" being advertised by an employee of the airline (by advertised
I mean he was holding up a giant sign that said "FREE SHUTTLE TO MOSHI"... I
think we should have caught on quicker than we did). My dad managed to catch
the shuttle as they were leaving the parking lot (those running skills put
to good use!) and we hopped on. All in all it was a blessing in disguise,
because instead of paying 50 dollars for the 45 mile ride with the taxi
driver that never showed up, we paid 2,000 shillings (thats less than 2
bucks) for a taxi ride from downtown Moshi to the Buffalo Hotel, where we're
staying. A good start to our time here, I'd say!

After getting settled in the hotel, we walked around town a bit, very
randomly. We found the city market, which is smaller than we expected, but
has the usual charm of a small town market. It didn't project the horror
that we felt at the market in Stone Town, Zanzibar... crowds, pushing,
shoving... the smell of warm meat and fish... lots of fish. Anyway, we also
found a supermarket for all my shopping needs (they use the term supermarket
loosely here... its a man who stands behind a window in a room full of a
random assortment of food, and you tell him what you want.) We also found
potentially my new favorite restaurant... "Deli Chez". It is neither a Deli,
nor a French restaurant. Instead, it serves Indian, Italian and Chinese
food... and also offers hamburgers and hot dogs (maybe in a few weeks I'll
be craving these things...) The menu items are numbered and I think they go
up to 140 different options... the price of which averages about 3,500
shillings. Thats about 3 dollars. And when you get your bill, the best part
is... NO TAX!! Woo!!

So we ate dinner there (egg drop soup and indian food as an entree... good
combo). Just before our food came, we discovered one of the features of life
in Moshi. Power Outages!! The power went out and we were left in pretty much
complete darkness. Lucky for us, we had stopped by our hotel room before
dinner to grab a flashlight because we weren't sure what the street light
situation was in this town. So we sat for a few minutes by the glow of our
brand new LED flashlight (thanks mom), and the lights came back on. We
thought that the lights were on in the whole city, but in reality good ol'
Deli Chez just had a generator running. We started to contemplate how were
were going to shower and get ready for bed in the dark, but luckily the
lights came back before we had even finished our meal.

Tomorrow we plan to start all the errands we want to accomplish before my
dad takes off on Saturday morning and I begin my teaching adventure! We're
going to try to find the volunteer house where I will be living, and maybe
even make the walk out to the orphanage. I also want to find a tailor to sew
my brand new "Kanga" into a skirt... The Kanga fabric is a really important
part of the culture here, I've learned. They are each imprinted with a
different message in Swahili... the one I bought doesn't translate well, but
its something to the effect of "if you do something nice, don't stay around
and wait for thanks". But I guess all the messages are appropriate for
different life situations, and neighbors or people who are in conflict will
use the messages on the Kanga to communicate with eachother, rather than
arguing. From the second someone is born, they are wrapped in a Kanga, and
when people die, they are again covered in a kanga. "Its important from
birth to death," the woman that I bought mine from explained. But anyway, it
won't be difficult at all for me to find a tailor because, I'm not even
exagerating like I often do, there are at least 3 tailors on every block
here. Their tiny cement stores are filled with beautiful fabrics, and a
bunch of men and women sit outside with their pedal operated sewing
machines. The women make dresses and skirts, and the men make suits and
repair shoes.

So with all the differences between life at home and life here in Moshi, its
amazing how the music can make me feel like I'm back in the US. Just a
minute ago, a car drove by blaring 50 cent, and the guy who runs this
internet cafe has Shakira as his cell phone ring (its gone off about 45
times in the past 10 minutes). During dinner, we were entertained by the
sounds of Mariah Carey and Boyz 2 Men, so not only did I get to feel like I
was back at home, but I also felt like I was back at a middle school dance.

Wow super long email. I'm sure the next few days will be even more exciting
and you'll be hearing from me again soon. Miss you all!!

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photo by: joseph98