Things just seem to work themselves out...

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Africa » Tanzania » North » Mwanza
July 5th 2012
Published: August 1st 2012
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Bismarcks RockBismarcks RockBismarcks Rock

Photo courtesy of Amanda Furst
Mwanza (Rock City) is on Lake Victoria and there are many villages set in the surrounding hills. Amongst them are random boulders, I've no idea how they were formed however, they look like they really should not be balanced as they are. My first goal is to see the most famous one, 'Bismarck's Rock'. I find the ferry port, get myself some street food (chipsi mayai of course), and walk down towards the lake to locate the rock. I choose my spot carefully to avoid being asked for money by the street kids or the drunk teenagers, and eat my food enjoying the views across the lake. Though you see much begging, it is usually in a friendly manner and does not take much persuasion for them to leave you alone. Also, as usual in these areas you rarely see other tourists, so I get many strange looks from locals and in particular kids just stopping and staring! Bismarcks Rock was named by German colonisers in honour of their first chancellor 'Otto von Bismarck' otherwise known as 'Iron Man'. Again, it looks like the top rock should have fallen off. Apparently there was also a statue of him on the top
Bismarcks RockBismarcks RockBismarcks Rock

Photo courtesy of Amanda Furst
that was pulled down when the British turned up!

I had no further plans and after failing to find a tourist office, or even private tour companies I return to my hotel. There are no other tourists around and staff at my hotel do not speak English so its very difficult to decide what to do next. I start to feel a little demoralised with the whole travelling idea, and after yesterdays chaos begin to question what I am actually getting out of this and why I am doing it. Then, I get an email from a girl I had previously met on a travel forum inviting me to stay at her house nearby! Amanda is a teacher and in the process of setting up an orphanage, this is perfect so I agreed to meet her for a coffee later.

Prior to meeting Amanda, I headed out for some food and made friends with a local guy, he works in development educating rural communities on malaria prevention. We chatted for a couple of hours and swapped contact details, it was interesting to share stories and learn about his experiences. Oddly, he also asked that we had a photo
Bismarcks RockBismarcks RockBismarcks Rock

Photo courtesy of Amanda Furst
together so we visited a nearby roundabout (as you do), which had a weird fish statue in the middle and his friend took some pictures! Once we had finished, I begin to walk off and was asked by some other locals if they can have a picture with me... most odd (I remember this also happening in Indonesia), still I obliged (I didn't realise my celebrity status as SuperSteve had also reached these lands).

Later I meet with Amanda, and the first thing I notice, as she talks to a street kid is that this Canadian is also fluent in Swahili, most impressive! She tells me that the kids love to play football and she organises matches on Saturdays for them. Then, off we potter to a café for a drink and she explained how I get to her village Kisesa by local bus, this was my plan for the following day.

I started walking back to my hotel wondering what I could do for the evening as there appears to be no ex-pat community, or backpacker hangout in town. Then, randomly I get a phone call from a Kiwi friend Steve that I know from Arusha saying
Fish on a Roundabout... of courseFish on a Roundabout... of courseFish on a Roundabout... of course

Me and Kriss Bruno, we met in a local cafe in Mwanza
“hey mate, fancy a curry”. After some confusion I realise he is actually here on holiday and had seen on Facebook that I was in Mwanza! Perfect timing, as just yesterday I was feeling guilty as I did not say goodbye to him in Arusha! So that was it, curry and beer with Steve and his girlfriend then back to the hotel to get some rest... Sometimes things just work themselves out!

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