I'm an expert at getting ripped off...
Moshi Travel Blog› entry 14 of 23 › view all entries
June 14th, 2007 – by: SpartanAnna
On our last day in Zanzibar, we walked around a bit and did some more shopping, all that. We finally got the nerve to ask about prices for tanzanite in the Memories of Zanzibar store, and we fear that we were ripped off on the tanzanite we bought in Arusha... but we decide not to dwell on it because theres really nothing we can do about it now, and mom will love it anyway.
After checking out of our hotel, we waited for the taxi and headed to the airport. I was amazed to see the whole check in procedure at the airport done without computers - hand written tickets!! The lady that checked in our bags then asked us for "giftie... giftie..." We pretended we didn't understand what she meant, since there were giant signs posted all over the airport saying "IT IS ILLEGAL FOR AIRPORT PERSONNEL TO ASK FOR TIPS. PLEASE IGNORE ALL REQUESTS", but when she thrust her open palm at us and firmly said "TIP." we decided not to risk angering the person in charge of making sure our bags got on the plane and slid a few shillings her direction.
We got on the plane for a 15 minute flight to Dar es Salaam and then had to get new boarding passes for the second leg of our flight. Luckily I noticed that one of our bags was unloaded by mistake, so we were able to make sure it got back on the right plane. In the process we met a girl from Wisconsin. She was nice -- we had a chat and shared an expensive can of Pringles from the airport gift shop (mmm..._ The flight was late and in the end we almost missed it because it was announced by its final destination city, not by the place we were headed next. But we made it on and got to Kilmanjaro. Our taxi that was supposed to be waiting for us was no where to be found, so we waited a few minutes, all the while ignoring the guy who was holding up a giant sign saying, "FREE SHUTTLE TO MOSHI" We thought it was a trick because it sounded too good to be true, but Dad finally decided to run after the guy just as the shuttle was leaving the parking lot.
We exchanged some money and just walked around a bit. We both loved the city right away - clean, easy to navigate, not too many vendors hassling you (although we have developed a fan club that we affectionately call "The Swarm" because they constantly harass us and have already learned our names. Every time we step foot out of our hotel, we instantly hear, "ANNA! JORGE! THERE YOU ARE!") On day one we decided to get some dinner at Deli Chez (my new favorite restaurant in Moshi... they serve Italian and Indian food.
Day two in Moshi, we were up early to run errands. I borrowed a cell from a girl in the hotel lobby to call Heriel and once again was ripped off when she charged me 2000 shillings for a 1 minute phone call. Luckily I talked to Heriel and although I could barely understand him, I figured out that he is coming to meet me. He ended up giving us a private orientation and tour of town. I met some other volunteers because they were home from work for the day (one even goes to University of Rochester -- small world) and went to the ATM.
After the helpful orientation, we went to eat at the Coffee Shop and I recognized some volunteers. I said hi to them, and ended up meeting the girls who are working at Faraja now. They invited me to walk with them to work to check out the school the next day. I was super excited because this meant I'd get a sneak peak! Later that afternoon I went into a tailor shop to order a skirt and am somehow ripped off once again... the price jumped from $15 to $16.50 when I requested "the lining", then magically $18.50 when I went to pay. But she generously gave a "discount" of 500 shillings, so really it was "only $18.
Next day, I woke up early to head to Faraja. The walk to the school was long and confusing. We tried to write down directions but they included things like "turn right at the butcher," "walk past the coffin shop". We met Mama Leah at Kilimani Nursery School. The kids were so freaking cute. I almost died when I peeked in the door and saw 30 little uniformed children waving at me. After spending some time with Mama Leah, we headed down the Faraja, where Mr. and Mrs. Massawe were waiting for us. They were so excited that we were there. They hugged and kissed us and welcomed us in. The kids are adorable, of course. There are about 25 of them. I spend the whole day watching the volunteers teach, and I'm left wondering how the heck I am going to teach kids when I can't even speak their language. Overall the day was fun and exciting -- we played with the kids and they just completely hanging off of us -- our arms, legs, backs... it was hilarious. At one point, 3 of the kiddies peed on the floor of the classroom. Frankly, I was amazed by their synchronization. Needless to say, the teachers decided it was time for a bathroom break. After the kids ate their lunch of rice and beans (another precious moment... they were SO quiet while they ate! I couldn't believe how many servings they had - some up to 4! They would roll the rice and beans into a little ball in their hands and shove it into their mouths, little pieces of rice stuck all over their tiny faces), we walked back into town to eat our own lunch at the Coffee Shop.
After our hotel room was not cleaned all day yesterday, even after we reminded the front desk and asked for clean towels several times, we decided to leave the Buffalo Hotel. We moved down the street to the Kindoroko Hotel. It is a bit of a downgrade in quality, but I was mad at the Buffalo Hotel and I guess I'm a spiteful person. And Kindoroko has a great view of Kili, so really, if you think about it, its an upgrade :) And later that night I discovered reason number two that the Kindoroko was actually an UPGRADE... the internet is soooo fast. Like, watch videos on You Tube fast. In Africa, that is basically impossible to do. Seriously, you should have seen the jaws hit the floor when I told the rest of the volunteers. Everyone is still in shock.
On the walk to Kindoroko, Dad carried his sleeping bag on his head because we didn't have enough hands for all our junk. As we walked by, the people all got a good laugh at the mzungu carrying things on his head like a local. We went on a shopping spree for gifts, because dad is leaving sooon! We end up bartering for dad's Kilimanjaro Marathon t-shirt that we spotted the other day. We end up getting it for about $10, and then have a good laugh when we open the package and see that the back says in big letters, "JUST DID IT." Lies.
I wrapped up the day by visiting a stationary shop and buying a brand new, blank notebook to start some lesson planning... I'm so excited :)
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