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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mzungu...Mzungu...

Ok, where was I?  That's right, after getting help from may local Tanzanians I was able to find my hostel for the next few nights, Kilimanjaro Backpacker's, formally known as Da Costa Hotel.  Luckily enough, upon arrival I was greeted by two girls from the UK, Carole and Sophie.  After securing my lodging for the next two days I made a beeline to the travel agency where I would book my climbing expedition.  

At the travel agency, Angus Safari and Adventures I booked my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb for the Machame route-also known as the whiskey route.  The reason for this is that it is known to be the hardest route to take up the mountain and thus, upon a successful summit, whiskey usually follows as a way of celebrating the arduous climb.  Not to be confused with the much easier route, Marangu-or the Coca-Cola route.   After completing these tasks for the day I began exploring Moshi.

Moshi by far is one of the cleanliest cities I have visited in Africa to date.  It's funny because I just realized today that almost everyone in Moshi is an entrepreneur-either they own a business or are trying to sell something, which really amazes me.  From the moment the sun breaks through the cloud filled-horizon a once tranquil, quite city becomes busting with life.  From the dalla-dalla's (also known at matatu's or busses) to street vendors, everyones ability to support not only themselves, but their families is dictated by the many tourists who consistently flood the streets week in and week out.  I was on of these tourists at first, but slowly as each day passes the tour companies, more specifically, the front-men for the companies begin to hassle you less and less and instead seek to learn more about the traveler and not the tourist.  It is this transition that I look forward to.  

After some looking around, I met up with my new friends to have dinner. This is where I learned that I happened to hit the jackpot!  For all of you who know how clumsy I am and how often I seem to break bones…well, luckily for me, they were doctors!!  In five weeks anyway-close enough.  It was at this point that I decided, beside having someone to share the  experience of the climb with that it would be good if we grouped up, if at least to entertain each other.  That night we talked for hours, me- learning how they spent their last 5-6 weeks traversing Zambia, climbing Table Mountain in South Africa, working in a hospital in Rwanda, and white-water rafting in the nile.  And this wasn't even scratching the surface, they also trekked the rain-forests of Rwanda in search of Gorillas, babysat Lion cubs for a day, and went shark diving off the coast of South Africa.  For most of the night I sat in awe and listened, remembering to pay close attention to any trouble that may have arose during their many adventures.  

One thing is for sure, life is meant to be lived, shared, and experienced, and if at any time during this process, one falls victim to the divide that we ourselves have created (be it-living beyond the means of basic necessity) remember- the things we collect are overshadowed by the places we go and the people we meet; where carefully placed footprints don't become erased, but merely filled by those seeking a more meaningful life.  This makes me think a lot about my parents.  For them, they too never had a choice, the course of their lives took a direction that slowly shaped and molded three children into reflections of what they could have done, what they would have accomplished.  I truly am grateful for all things life has brought me.  

The night ended after a few more stories and the next day was spent trying to haggle for a lower price between tour companies.  After a long day, the girls and I finally secured our booking with Angus and so we went to collect supplies for the trek to begin the following day...

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