We're not in Kansas anymore!

Published: June 5th 2011
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Oh my goodness, we're not in Kansas anymore. After a 600am wake-up, early breakfast buffet and briefing, we were assigned our cars and bid farewell to Arusha. We drove through town on our way out. Saw the clock tower that is the midway point between the Cape of Good Hope and Cairo, the center of town, carts laden with fruits and vegetables, women with huge stacks of bananas. The market was going on in one town but I am not sure whether my photos will turn out. The towns could be in Mexico, except for all the Africans. Out in the countryside the Masai live in bomas, round huts made of elephant dung, with thatched roofs. Its really incredible.how they still live the way they lived thousands of years ago. We entered Lake Manyara Park and no sooner had we rounded the bend there were a few Vervet Monkeys in a tree. We stopped to photograph for a bit then moved on. A bit further we encountered a large group of baboons,all ages and sizes. The babies on the mother's back is a precious sight. As we went crazy over the baboons, a bull elephant crossed the road right in front of us. That's when everyone knew we were really ona game drive. We watched him and smelled him pee and poo. Then he moved on. Some of the other cars didn't see him,so we felt honored. Around another bend a trio of giraffe, two sitting down. You never see photos of giraffe sitting so it was interesting. Then we stopped at the hippo pool. It was surrounded by hippo out of the water. Nearby were here's of wildebeest and my first ZEBRA! A herd of Cape Buffalo concluded the amazing animals for today. Then we headed up into the hills toward Ngorongoro Crater. Our guide today was Masuma. He was very informative and kept the conversation flowing smoothly. He showed us birds and flora along the way, as well as talking about the culture. Most of Tanzania is Christian, about 70%. The Muslim population lives mainly on the coast. Lunch at Lake Manyara Serena was good. The view incredible. One woman on our trip had set off last year, fallen at this resort, and broken her arm. She met with the nurse who helped her last year. It was a tearful reunion. On arrival at Serena Ngorongoro Lodge, really a breathtaking view from every room, about 530pm, a hot towel, orange juice and champagne, and a troupe of Masai singers chanting and jumping. The altitude is great, over 7000 feet, so that took some getting used to, Tonight was a welcome reception hosted by Tauck Tours. Complimentary cocktails in the bar followed by more Masai entertainers, an acrobat group of 3 young men and a drummer. It was great. Bought a traditional African music CD. Dinner was upstairs. There was a buffet for most hotel guests, but Tauck guests were able to have table service from a prepared menu. For instance, tonight had 3 soup choices, salad, 4 entrees- beef,pork, chicken or fish. There is a dessert bar and assortment of cheeses each night. Water is included with each Tauck meal, as is coffee and tea, sodas. Everything except cocktail and wine has been covered by Tauck. We are also given water on arrival in our rooms. Two a day are handed out on the vans, and another awaiting on return home. Kilimanjaro water is excellent, as is "Kili" Beer made here with barley. You will only par for water if you order it from the bar outside of meals. But you need it for brushing your teeth, neti pot - which really helps with dusty sinuses, and for swishing your mouth out after showering, each recommended to prevent Africa belly. So far no problems with the food in any of the hotels, even fresh fruits and vegetables have been washed in purified water. We have bathroom stops about every two hours, no one has needed an emergency visit yet. Had dinner with Bob and Dave the teachers from NYC. They visited the school near Arusha. They are setting up a foundation to have people support a student through secondary school for a year for $300 per year. Their colleague has started a school near Arusha, which they went to visit today. There was more entertainment after dinner but we were too tired to stay. Good thing since I am only sleeping about 6 hours a night. Early wake up tomorrow. WE ARE GOING INTO THE NGORONGORO tomorrow. Zzzzz


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