If you want the same results keep doing the same thing
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
And thus it is winding down for Jeanne and I. We are the only two left of our group. Due to a airline schedule change we had to stay an extra day here at Katambuga Lodge. The staff are taking incredible care of us. it is wonderful to see a staff which is not totally pressed to get things done. They seem to have time, almost too much. Seems every time I turn around they ask if all ok and if I need anything. In an hour I will find my bar bill for past three days here.
And thinking of the past month and remembering. Of course the animals stand out – mammals, birds, insects reptiles, plants, and thinking of interactions. But also thinking of people and humanity, interactions and history.
I had never thought too much about it, but history can tell a lot about the present. Slavery was a big thing here, dating back to beginning of humanity really , but in Africa it became a modern day commercialized industry. It destroyed cultures and people. Look at the modern world and many countries are messed up because of their slave history. It is hard to just dismiss it and go on without being affected. Look at the United States, it is still suffering 160 years after slavery officially ended.
Then there is colonialism. Similar to slavery but very different. One culture comes in and moves in on another. Africa is full of it as are many places (unnamed). People think they are better than others or are unsatisfied with their lot in life and move elsewhere. As one fellow here I was talking with said colonialism taught the people to be taken’ care of and not fend or think for themselves. Finally colonialism has ended (although one could make an argument takeovers have not.) many years though of subservience did not immediately go away.
Back to the good things – it has been an awesome trip. Both Jeanne and I agree we would do it again in a heartbeat. But every trip is different. Like doing the same bike ride every day. Each day is different. The past is gone and a pleasant memory. The future who knows, but the present is as said a present, enjoy it.
I have said it before when people comment on how wonderful it must be to have the adventures and travels we have had. Yes quite true But I look at it through my lens and everyone has a story and their own adventures.
Ok departed the wondrous lodge after lunch, and shower. Departed at 13:58 now through customs and in lounge (thanks to our status with alaska air). Nice to have a beer in air con without crowding. 3 hours to here. ok Wi-Fi is bad here at airport so will give up for now.
Ok random thoughts talked with lady returning home to Spain. We agreed Tanzanians very happy and friendly people laughing smiling
COVID was denied in Tanzania. Although numerous people died including the president. Tasmania to the best of my knowledge, depends on about 45% of its economy on tourism, and it halted for 2 years. They were quite happy to see us.
The Tanzanian flag has three colors. Blue for the ocean, yellow for the minerals, green for the vegetation, and black for the people. Public school children wear uniforms in those colors.
And going home. Currently in the cattle corrals at Qatar airport awaiting departure to Seattle. They did not have a full staff waiting for us with fresh juice at airport hotel. This airport is huge. We are in c gates which number well over a hundred. Presuming a, b,& d gates are same.
And home where it is our bed and our food our cooking, our schedules, done our way. As my dad would say not right or wrong just our way.
Six hour plane ride to Doha, Qatar, where again had a hotel room. 45 minutes after landing we were in bed. Slept delightfully and at gate 15 minutes after depart room. Urgently 13 hours from Doha and 1 1/2 hour to go supposedly arriving just before noon Seattle time. Not bad read (audio) one book watched one movie, ate 3 meals watched the map a lot of progress And ponder being cold at home.
In Seattle customs easy but security getting off the plane always cracks me up and never left secure Area. Jobs program. Now have been through 3 to get here. Plus 1 to get off plane.
You can’t be brave if you have had only wonderful things happen to you.
Mary Tyler Moore
I am finding internet interesting. The last post -“Gombe”, had a lot of photos and some video. When I look at it before hitting the post button it looks fine. But when I looked at posted version not all the pictures were there just the labels. Perhaps, if I wait longer, implying it takes a while to load from the server, but that did not seem to fix it.
Wondering if photos showed up for anyone else. Perhaps leave a comment as I am curious and need to delve farther or is this just a local problem.
Traveling always presents some problems. I recently read a saying by someone I cannot remember the name of
“One does not learn about other cultures while traveling, you learn about yourself”
I find this quite true. One can never really learn a culture just by looking at it from the outside. One needs to experience it from living the culture, which entails a lifetime of living. One can look at a farmer and see them tilling the soil, sowing the seed etc but one cannot really see or feel what that is like without doing it. Travelers like to look at something and see it, have it explained but most often they want to experience it through their own lens.
If I go somewhere I want to experience the travel. But take food for instance. We are trained to like and eat certain things and ways. We want to experience but not be out of our comfort zone. Inupiat native foods are an example. Fermented meat with blood is actually very good but takes some adjusting and learning. Or eating insects. Or eating a freshly shot Genet cat. But eating the cat as a tourist is one thing, eating it as a Hadza is different. That is their sustenance.
And getting back to internet, we come from a world of internet. It has become a source of communication, sharing, learning, and education for us westerners. Over the past years we have learned this mode of communication. And we have begun to depend on it. Look at many places in the world, people are looking at their phones. Look at home and see how much technology is at the table.
And then when we are cut off from that technology it throws us off. We want our connection to our world.
I guess this little rant is now directed at me. I am mad at myself for getting upset with not having good Wi-Fi. When one is traveling somewhat one should accept the local customs. Hopefully for the 5-10 people reading this (on a good writing) you can interpret my writing and accept the foibles. Written on the phone and most photos with phone.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making he best of it.
Sitting in Kigoma airport awaiting flight back to Dar Es Salaam, then flight to Arusha. Wi-Fi has been almost nonexistent and finding it actually quite freeing. But one must eventually rejoin the world.
Flew into Kigoma 4 days ago (I think). Airport quite interesting as health check (I believe for Ebola and hiv consisted of taking temperature (but not looking at the reading) and hand wash. Baggage trolley pulled by hand and individually loaded to small baggage claim.
Hussein , our guide, met us took us to lunch at place on beach. Food was rice and some forgotten sauce, but the spice was awesome taste. ( the last time we had spice).
Then on to the two boats for hour ride to Gombe national park. This is where Jane Goodall did her work and displayed in National Geographic in 1961, by her photographer husband. Again tent camping, no escort required to walk at night, but most definitely lock the zipper doors with provided locks, as the baboons have figured out the zippers and love to go in and remove items to somewhere outside.
The baboons frequented camp and were fun to watch. When camp staff did laundry (by hand) the baboons would pull it off the drying line and either lay on the sheets and roll around seemingly to play in it. One baboon sat on Dave and Cindy’s tent beneath the metal roof escaping the rain. When Dave poked a stick at tent roof other baboons came in thinking this was great fun.
Swimming in the lake was great. Apparently the longest lake in world after lake bakal in Russia. It is 660 km long (400 miles ) but where we are one can see across to democratic republic of Congo and Burundi. Famous for that and it’s fish which include many cichlids and is a source of many aquarium fish. Dave and I snorkeled about the dock (which is mostly underwater, except for handrails), amazed at the number of species. Although not as colorful , almost more interesting than the reef last week. And fresh water which was quite refreshing, as temperatures high and high humidity.
Next day Hussein crew fix breakfast and after waiting for final rain shower, off to look at chimpanzees. They have built amazing trails and the chimps use them. There are numerous researchers and Hussein kept in contact with two groups of trackers who know where the chimps are at. After a strenuous uphill climb he said just around corner. When within 10 meters one must wear a mask to prevent disease transmission to chimps. (It is not the least bit required anywhere in Tanzania for humans)
Rounded the corner and there they were, on the trail, in nests up in trees, cavorting about the trees making squirrels at home look like pedestrians versus a formula 1 car in the trees. Hang by one arm using the other to just pick fruit. Youngsters fluttering all over chasing each other, picking on siblings, flying from limb to limb occasionally crashing down when a limb broke, then scrambling back up.
We had been taught if a male approaches to hug a tree to show submission, and if around chimps get off the trail as it is the chimps trail. Thus we stood there trying desperately to get photos and view their shenanigans. Then some descended and were about us, one baby came up to Dave and began chewing on his pack strap. oh my! We had heard the stories of their occasional aggression, and being omnivores, have been known to steal and eat human babies.
Our allotted one hour of close proximiy viewing time quickly went by. (I timed it at 90 minutes) and we continued our climb up the ridge to “Jane’s peak” where Jane Goodall could look out over the valley to see where the chimps were. We descended a somewhat smaller trail to the waterfall. This trail gave Jeanne grief as slippery and with her new shoulder does not want to fall down or reinjure the shoulder. I got to hold her hand on way to the falls.
At the falls I walked into the falls totally soaking my clothes, but it felt so good and I knew would dry somewhat quickly. The jungle surrounded us and I kept wondering about “Tarzan” swinging through the trees vine to vine. Fascinating jungle, different than Panama or Bolivia jungle, but tropical jungle. Growth on growth on growth. Totally fascinating! One talks about alder bashing at home. That would be easy compared to attempting cross country without a trail here.
Back to base and an afternoon of relaxing. Power is on only from 7:30 to9:30 pm for charging phone, cameras, batteries, etc. and only one plug in tent, thus judicious planning is required and a headlamp.
Food was as Cindy described typical Tanzania. Always fish and rice but sometimes French fries, a meat sauce, peas, beans. Nothing exciting! Our group would gather at the “party barn” (Jeanne’s and my tent porch) for a pre dinner before dark get together. We were one of two tour groups, the other a couple from Germany who had been told credit cards could be used. (Unfortunately since no electricity available credit cards unusable. ). I gave the Germans 100,000 shillings (about$50.00) as they had no cash for tipping. (They transferred payment to me via PayPal).
Second day and Jeanne opted out of todays trail. It was another strenuous climb this time more straight up by with steps in trail, although maybe a ladder a more appropriate term. Sweat was pouring from us. Then Hussein says just around corner, on go the masks and another hour of viewing. This time the chimps were more relaxing laying about making an occasional nest (tales 3-5 minutes of breaking and bending limbs). All the chimps are known to the researchers and we learned ages and histories. Gimle came down to a limb and laid out just relaxing occasionally crossing and uncrossing a leg or arm, just 4 meters from me. After maybe 10 minutes the alpha male began a call and all arose and began movement elsewhere. Gimle arose from his “lounge chair” and walked down the trunk right next to me, totally unbothered. (I have learned from the news media no one or thing much cares about my existence)
Third day and departure day. Hussein took us to north end of park and village where he grew up and lives when not guiding. (Mwongongo) let walked the village wondering if we were the ones on display. They had been preparing a traditional dance for us and it was amazing. Drums and women doing traditional dances which tell somewhat of a story. (Harvest of crops or fish, or visitors arriving from Congo or Burundi ). Fascinating phenomenal and many of the village came to see. Was quite the event.
Return via boat to Kigoma and all excited for potential good hotel with Wi-Fi, aircon, and most a variety of food. But we had been warned by Cindy to not expect much. Arrival and to David Livingston museum. The guide took a liking to me as same age, but as near end of museum tour he reminded me since we were brothers to not forget a much appreciated tip. He stated he would wait for me at end of tour. Cindy gave me $5.00 US and I learned the art of passing money in a handshake. Cindy has handled all finances and tipping on this trip.
On to some more incredible traditional dancing. Incredible. Then a delightful hotel with some Wi-Fi, air con and showers although still no hot water (not really needed) excited about dinner and Hussein took us to a supposed high end Tanzanian restaurant. Alas in our estimation it did not meet our expectations. Fish rice, a meat fish and pea sauce. The same. Dory and Di opted for ice cream and French fries from a street vendor. Actually my dinner was good. Costing 12,000 shillings (about $12.00) A great sleep and now we have arrived at Dar es Salaam, a 4 hour wait for flight to Arusha which we flew over about an hour half ago. No direct flights.
Thus today we departed in Far western Tanzania at 9 am for Dar es salaam in far eastern part. Departed Dar for Zanzibar farthest east where we were last week. Arrived here at Arusha at 5 in middle of country. Does not seem to have direct flights. Alas. Now three days of wind down in this high end hotel.
To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.
Jorge Louis Borges
After a delightfully relaxing 3 days at the beach, we headed to town. In this case the island is Zanzibar and stone town, established in the 1500’s, taken over by Arabs. Most famous as the official eastern port for the slave trade, finally abolished in 1876 it served Europe and Asia. Ghana on the west coast served north and South America.
The first night out we went out to eat at the night market. As Cindy describes it , 4 parts entertainment and 1 part food. And I might add delicious food. Reminded me of pikes market in Seattle, but not so sedate, very active. Pikes market on steroids. I got so many hugs from the cooks and hand shakes, and was well taken care of. I finally settled on lobster and prawns with garlic chipati, all barbecued exquisite. The cook made sure I had a seat to eat at. Great fun, but one must have energy for such activity and it is hot. (Upper 30’s(low 90’s) with humidity)
Next day began with walking tour of stone town. With markets, vendors, narrow streets, intricate doors ( each tells a story of inhabitants and history)
We walked through the meat markets fish, beef chicken. A bit smelly but delightful,with fresh fruits and spices. I did learn there are 19 essential spices of which 18 are grown on Zanzibar. (The exception is saffron).
Then the slave market, oh my humanity near its worst. We went into the room where they weeded out the weak. A closed room maybe 4 meters by 4 (13 feet). No light and no ventilation of which 50 men in chains were placed. No food or water and at the end of 3 days those left alive were sent to the whipping post. The amount you cried out determined somewhat where you went.
That afternoon we drove to a spice farm. 10 hectares and they grow numerous spices there. Afraid I was very hot and my brain absorbed minimal, but fascinating. Ginger, cloves, pepper, numerous fruits, turmeric, coriander, etc. at the end of walkabout stall set up for buying. And a demo of coconut harvest. Amazing way to climb a tree. Wraps a cord between ankles and I suppose that makes the feet hold the tree, although our demo person was a total showman removing the strap and cavorting free. When finished they treat us to fresh coconut(milk and meat), watermelon (oh so good), papaya, and of course bananas. (Not cavendish). We received crowns, and ties from banana leaves. The kids came around and are kids. We had a good time.
Flew to Dar es Salaam, the biggest city of 4 million where 5 people departed for home. There are now 8 of us including Daude going to Gombe to look at chimpanzees, in Gombe stream national park. Daude has never been there so Cindy is treating him to a new experience.
We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.
Delightful three days, very different than safari and game drives. Jeanne asked me what I thought of this portion of trip- to which I had to reply, very glad of it, because showing a different view of Tanzania, from animals. Beach life and well it is beach life.
Flew from Arusha to wherever this is on coast, arriving at nice grass strip and met by lodge with van and trailer to haul us to lodge. At the lodge met us with fresh coconut drink then ate the coconut meat. Seems all the lodges meet you on arrival, as if you are the most important person in the world.
So for three days now we have resided beside the Indian Ocean. The day breeze is awesome due to heat. Our group is from alaska and definitely having trouble in heat. Up to mid 30’s C (90’sF) cooling to 26 (78f ) at night. Fans are heavily used by us at night, as the day breeze quits. Again though the sunrises are amazing
We have have had activities each day but not the go go of safari. Today walked up the beach into mangrove area at low tide. Amazing interactions, animals plants life importance to the world and biome conservation. Dave and I continued on to point about 5 k down beach. Very nice walk with breeze but sun still blasting down.
Yesterday out to the island about 3 k offshore. Just a sand island which is covered by a high high tide. But 4 hours snorkeling. Always amazing to see tropical fish and coral even if not of high quality. And fun being in water.
Walk through the local town interesting. Repairing boats, utilizing mango wood. All hand sawn and bent if needed in a hot pool. Nailed and cotton packing.
Thus it has been a delightful three days, but am feeling the urge to move on. Tomorrow we fly to Zanzibar. We are staying at stone town where the colonist of Africa began the destruction of the modern world with the shipment of slaves from stone town.
Apparently Zanzibar is a hot spot for beaches as there is night life there. Geez we have night life. Here celebrating a birthday staying up until almost 8:30.
We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.
Ok now in process of moving from western Tanzania with Serengeti and animals to the east and Zanzibar with a whole new culture. On the Indian Ocean and beach. Yesterday flew from Serengeti to Arusha where spent night at lodge stayed at on 2nd night out. hence yesterday on arrival while others went shopping I loaded four days of writing.
Here are a few pictures I may have already posted or not. numerous of these photos were taken with iPhone as easier to work than the bigger camera and definitely could get close in the vehicle. Animals have habituated to the cars.
And so we move on. Another flight this pm and a new adventure. Hope all is well with you.
A long day started 6 am listening to lion roaring seemingly outside our tent. But turns out was 2 k away. When up for coffee Simon says let’s go find lion so we did. Amazing.
Finally depart about 8:45 and arrived here at north end of Serengeti park about 5:40. Very hot lots of animals. Wildebeast going on forever. A lion kill hyena tearing apart the remains with jackal and vultures going for whatever. Rhinoceros, and at end of day hippo pool with about 100 hippo spending the day in water.
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life
A most pleasant day. Walk in am again not quite three miles chameleon, dung beetles, ants, giraffes, dik-disks,termites. Lunch and Cindy had us collect grasses and estimate numbers of species. We split into 4 groups and each group came up with 12-15 different grasses. But what was interesting was each group had sort of different grasses. Basically a lot of species of grass.
Another game drive this pm with lots of giraffes, Wildebeast, grants gazelle, ostriches and usual lots of birds I cannot seem to remember or I’d list except ostrich, and secretary birds. Numerous of the birds are big like 1/3 meter to 2 meters.
A game of charades mimicking organisms we have seen and what they are doing, mine was giraffe eating acacia, and the other was a flamingo feeding.
Serengeti has been wonderful just having an endless horizon. And the solitude.
He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions
Well the dilemmas continue. Tourism is it good or bad? Vouyeristic tourism
A wondrous afternoon and departed at 4 in search of a cheetah, driving a lot, wild cross country.
Saw a lone Wildebeast calf. Which began following us. Apparently somewhat common, as if imprint on mother does not occur within that 15 minutes when they can walk and run they will follow anything. Birth can be interrupted by a predator or whatever. The calf will then follow anything, have even been seen to follow a lion. It followed us for a while, and all agreed it would not make it through the night, unless it found a herd of Wildebeast, of which we saw none.
We did see a cerval cat and a family of black backed jackals and a mess of hyena. And managed to get stuck but other truck came along and just gave us a push.
Then we started to return to camp. Doudee saw a cat way off in distance. Turns out a cheetah and we followed it a bit, then got a bit ahead as cat sat down and rested. Doudee thought it was full from just eating. But then along comes the Wildebeast calf. Totally unexpecting it was a very short chase and the calf was down. And for the next 36 minutes we watched and filmed the cat begin its dinner. Simon says it was in a hurry because there were hyena around and they would come in and chase the cheetah away, so the cat had to eat rapidly. Meaning the calf was not dead with an occasional moan and squeal and kick.following is a video and if queezy do not watch.
The sun was beginning to set and and the storks went into the trees to roost. Got some I believe incredible sunset pictures to complement the sunrise pictures.
Interesting – awoke to absolutely first light gorgeous sunrise out tent door. I say no mountains to block the view. Breakie and off for a hike, 3 kilometer taking 3 1/2 hours looking at sign but no big animals except giraffe. But dung beetles (quite entertaining), harvester ants and the ants in galls of whistling acacia. Now having a delightful quiet time over an hour seemingly the biggest break of able to relax. Just sitting and looking. Possibly maybe figured out why camera is running through battery. (I chose the camera with AA batteries rather than rechargeable).
Turned off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the camera.
Concerning gear quite happy with gear packed so far. Concerning camera camera I had 5 to choose from. Each had its attributes I played with all chose this one Nikon cool pix 500 and I thinking working better than I give it credit for Important thing concerning gear is play with it first and know how it works.