Hello from Tanzania

Arusha Travel Blog

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Hello Everyone! 

After several days of traveling, my dad and I are finally here in Tanzania!
We arrived early this morning after a very long night on a very crowded
airplane with some very unhappy passengers. Apparently the flight to
Kilimanjaro from the day before had been cancelled, so all of the people
from that flight were crammed onto our flight, and they were understandably
a little cranky. Combine that with a screaming todler in front of us, and we
were extra excited to get off of that plane and actually step foot in
AFRICA!

Well let me back track... we spent most of Wednesday and Thursday in the
Amsterdam area... visiting the city and also a small town called Haarlem,
where our hotel was. My dad had never been to Europe, so this was a treat
for him. Given the 24 hours I spent in Amsterdam while I was on a bus tour a
few years ago, I got to pretend I was an expert for a little bit to show my
dad around the city. Sort of. That plan failed miserably after it took us 3
hours to even make it out of the airport because what with not being able to
speak Dutch and all, we couldn't figure out where to buy bus tickets, which
bus ticket we should buy, where to get on the bus... the list goes on and
on.
We were terrified of the country before we had ever even left the
airport.


********
[Ed. Dad's defense: I'm editing here to defend myself. I knew pretty much
what we needed to do, thanks to Janice's prelimanry research and how she
ad instructed me. We were tired and hungry, so after getting through
immigration and customs, we had to repackage our stuff so we could carry
comfortably our backpacks on the bus. We discovered a supermarket at the
airport where many people were getting food to eat there. So I suggested we
eat there. This was right next to Burger King (Yuck!) Then we had to figure the
bus ticket deal, which although not a rocket-science matter, it was not trivial.
After this, I thought it would be a good idea to get our seats assigned for
tomorrow's flight -this proved to be useless, see the stuff above about the
cancelled flight and merging of 2 flights into one, but it was a good idea at the
time. Finally we saw signs for passport photos, so we went searching for that
since we would need them at our arrival in Tanzania for the visa. This also
proved to be a good idea at the time but a waste of time, effort and 10 Euros.
When we got to Tanzania and our visas were being processed on the forms that
have a very prominent space for your PASSPORT SIZE PHOTO, we handed them
our photos, they smiled, waved at us, and pushed the photos back to us saying
"no need photos"
This is how one can spend 3 fun filled hours at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
And finally. No! I was not terrified. I had everything under control at all times...
That is except when we went out to catch bus 300 to Haarlem, and only thanks
to Anna we took bus 300 to Haarlem instead of bus 300 to Amsterdam :)
End of Dad's defense.
*********

But as soon as we stepped outside, I saw a giant billboard sized
Panasonic television blaring Nelly Furtado's latest music video and I
couldn't help but feel home again... MTV is taking over the world. So we
finally found our way to our hotel (which was lovely. Very, very small, but
had a great view of the main square in Haarlem), dropped off our stuff and
headed back into Amsterdam. We spent the afternoon walking around the
canals, people watching, and of course taking tons of pictures on our brand
new cameras. We headed back to our hotel in the late afternoon and intended
to go walk around the city, but ended up passing out at 7:00 and not waking
up until the next morning at 9. I'll blame it on the jetlag. We did more
walking, people watching and sitting in cafes in Haarlem on Thursday until
it was time to head to the airport.

And that leaves me here... right now I am at our hotel, call L'Oasis. It is
literally in the middle of nowhere... situated on a dirt road off of a
slightly larger dirt road off of a slightly larger dirt road. After a three
year drought, it has been raining here for the past 7 months, so that made
those dirt roads even more fun to drive around on. The hotel is beautiful.
Our "room" is actually a hut... literally. There are trees and plants
everywhere, and these huge birds that I don't even know what they are (like
a cross between a heron, crane and peacock...) are walking all over the
place. I can't believe I'm here. Our tour guide, Christian, picked us up at
the airport and has been nothing but fabulous since the moment we met. He is
so friendly and funny, and he's dead set on teaching us Swahili, as long as
we promise to teach him some Spanish as well. We leave for Safari tomorrow,
and I can already tell its going to be amazing. Christian promised us we
would see hippos and giraffes, among other animals, so I'm a happy camper.

Thats about all for now. Just wanted to let you all know that I've arrived
safetly and I'm loving every moment... haven't caught malaria or anything
like that yet :) Although its day one and my dad and I already forgot to
take our medicine until 2 hours after we were supposed to. Oops.

Love,
Anna
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Arusha
photo by: Mikie