We are sitting in the Domestic Departures in the Dar es Salaam airport, killing time and waiting for our flight to Arusha. We are in Tanzania. We made it. We have been flying/traveling for 24 hours now. It’s hot here. Humid. Smells third world. Sort of a smokey, damp, smell of decay. So far the people we have encountered have been friendly.
(Murray insert) Airplanes are pretty much generic. Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier when you are inside they are all alike. (Don’t let the builders know, they each think they have something special.) What makes the trips different is what is below and what you can see. I’m looking out the window and according to the moving map in front of me we are over Scotland. The terrain is rugged, it is no wonder the Celts were (are?) so fierce. The thing that intrigues me is the snow on the tops of the high peaks. I know there is skiing in Scotland but from what I could gather it is an occasional thing. The hill is only open on the years when there is enough snow. It is only the first part of November and the white stuff has begun to accumulate. Looking from above the terrain looks like some very difficult skiing but as I mentioned above the Celts are a fierce group and I don’t imagine a few steep slopes would dampen their enthusiasm. Hope they have a good year.
(Debbie again) People. I love observing people. Sitting in the London International Departures lounge is a great place to make observations. There goes an older lady, looks American, but when she speaks, she’s German. That stylish young man definitely has a European flair to him. Jeans, brown leather bomber type jacket and brown leather sneakers. A group of musicians, looking to be from anywhere, are speaking French.
Ani DiFranco writes a song about the Arrivals Gate – it’s a place to watch happiness as friends, family, lovers greet each other. I think the Departure Lounge is a place to watch the start of adventures.
As we fly into Dar es Salaam, over the countryside, I notice a severe lack of ground water. No lakes, no rivers, only one small stream. The ground is an even shade of brownish green that extends as far as I can see. Over the land, the clouds are in swirls, huge clumps, great swooshes. We do not get clouds like these over Alberta. Is it raining under these clouds?
The last leg of the never ending plane ride is short and efficient, after a 5 hour layover. The cloud cover has cleared off a bit and we can see the land we are about to set foot on from the air. The earth has a reddish tone similar to Prince Edward Island. Some of the land is cultivated but for the most part looks untouched. Kili, as the folks here call Mt. Kilimanjaro, is shrouded in cloud so our chance to see it today does not pan out, although we think we see a shoulder.
Andy is at the Arusha Airport to meet us as arranged. The drive to the Tomaini Cotage is similar in feel to arriving in India. Shops, bars, markets along the road with people, cars, carts and bikes everywhere. The Tomaini Cottage is tucked away from the road and is surrounded by a wall, as are most properties in this area. We are greeted by Andy’s wife with juice made from carrots, cucumber and ginger. The ginger adds some zing to the taste.
We can hardly keep our eyes open but we MUST stay awake as long as possible. We have to make an attempt at getting on to the Tanzanian time zone.