September 25, 2006

Tanzania pt. 4 - Amani cont'd.

The next morning we woke up on our own, had breakfast, and relaxed at Thomas's house for a little while on his porch waiting for one of his neighbors to bring over a rooster. We got our first glimpse of Amani in the daylight - pretty. When it became apparent the guy was a no show, we left for a hike through Amani. About five minutes after we started our hike we saw a chameleon! He had two horns so apparently he's fairly rare, too, which is kind of cool. We spent awhile looking at the chameleon, and laughed at its slow, leaf like progress across the road. Seriously, chameleons are insanely slow. They test each step before actually taking it so they look kind of like a physical representation of a skipping record, or maybe just an animal that's REALLY uncertain of if it truly wants to go the way its going. "Here we go, wait no, hang on, well yeah okay, okay left foot, wait, hang on, oh okay..." We determined that it probably helps it blend in better when it�s actually in the grass or near trees, but on the road it just looked funny. When it finally got to the grass we watched its colors change a little bit before moving onwards.

After that pretty cool start to the hike, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. We made our way into the forest and across a river, and just kind of enjoyed the sights and sounds of the forest. Rainforests are COOL. I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually in one. And then, just in case I was uncertain, we saw a monkey! It was REALLY high up so you couldn't see a lot of details, but still insanely cool. There were also so many amazingly vivid flowers and some really cool trees that spanned greater than our heights. We found the end of the trail, which ended on a fairly high point where you could see flatter, unforested land far was gorgeous. As we turned around to make our way back we saw a walking stick insect, a little green guy that blended in at first with the leaves.

When we got back we stopped in town and had dinner, and then I bought a kanga from one of the shops, which is a large piece of rectangular cloth with a design and some writing on it that women in Tanzania wear around their waist, over their shoulders, and even carry babies in! The shop owner seemed really happy that I liked them, and I actually understood what she was saying to me, which made me happy as well. Went back to Thomas's house and I took a shower. This may not seem like that significant of an event but not everywhere in Tanzania has hot showers and it was kind of cold outside as it was, so it was a COLD shower. Not just cold like a the-hot-water-just-ran-out type of cold, but cold as in...BRRR. Made me kind of glad that we spent so many mornings jumping in the lake at camp. But, clean, refreshed, and wide awake, I went back in the house and we talked for awhile, sitting on Thomas's porch. While we were on the porch one of Thomas's neighbors brought us over some sugar cane and cloves! The sugar cane was interesting. If you've ever had sugar cane before, basically what you do is cut the top with a knife, then peel the outer layer down a little bit, and then...gnaw. There's a sweet, sugary juice inside that tastes pretty good, so it was fun for awhile, but after awhile I began to feel like I was eating wood. It was a good experience though. Then we all watched a movie on Wes's laptop before going to bed.

The next morning we woke up early to go back to Muheza, then Lushoto. The ride back to Muheza was decidedly more pleasant than the ride away from it. The drivers remembered Wes and me and had saved us seats in front, so we had actual leg room and could take the three hour ride in relative comfort. On the way back we ran into the two travelers we had seen (and said goodbye to as they took the earlier dala) two days before, and led them to the bus station since we were all going to Lushoto. I had a window seat and so had fun ignoring (studiously ignoring, as they're PERSISTENT) and conversing with the various people selling things by turns. On to Sony.

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