November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014   (4 lions + 10 = 14 lions, 1 black rhinoceros)  Travel out of the crater at stay at the Arusha Hotel

We got up to a chilly, foggy morning.   The forecast was for 50% chance of rain.  We’re hoping for 50% chance of sunshine – at least until evening.  (Good luck follows us everywhere we go.)  We’ve noticed trees with yellow fruit.  Michael said that they poisonous and called sodom apples – Solunum Incanan.  The Maasai use the roots to solve stomach problems.  As the day starts, we see an augur buzzard, zebra, and some cape buffalo.  Then we noticed three young black-backed jackals running down the road in front of us; every now and then, turning to see if we’re still coming.  Then we saw another family pack of five black-backed jackals, a herd of Grant’s gazelles, ostriches, and a troop of baboons.  Then we saw a pride of lions!  Two lionesses with a cub crossed in front of us to go to the river to get a drink.  They came back from the river and posed for some photos.  It was so cute.  They crossed over the road and laid down and the cub started nursing.  We saw a fourth lion in the grass, and then noticed a spotted hyena coming down the hillside.  We headed down the road and saw a pack of hyenas running at us.  We took a photo of an auger buzzard and continued on.  Then we saw a black rhino sleeping in the grass, but it was too far away to get a photo.  We saw a siege of grey crowned cranes and some Thomson’s gazelles and took more photos of some lesser flamingos, and a float of hippos with black crakes on their backs.  We also saw some sacred ibis and cattle egrets on the hippos backs too!  We moved on and saw a sounder of warthogs.  We took photos of a marabou stork, grey heron, and some sacred ibis.  Then up ahead we saw ostriches mating.  We missed the courtship, but fortunately, there was a repeat performance which Michael said was unusual.  What luck we have.  In the distance, we saw a hippo walking next to a group of flamingos.  On our way to the Lorai forest we saw some baboons, and then we drove up and out of the crater.  We headed south-east on Highway B144 towards Arusha.  Mark saw a store called Mrs. Obama’s gift shop.  Since President Obama’s father’s family is from Kenya, he is very popular in the region.  It’s amazing how many carts are pulled by cows in yokes.  Sometimes they have lots of barrels on them…perhaps water or fuel?  We stopped at a couple of craft shops but the prices were too high.  While we were trying to bargain with a lady (she was shorter than me…wow!) for a pair of wooden giraffes for Chelsea, Michael was playing a game called bao (it looks similar to a game called mancala) out front with a local audience.  He lost the first game and won the second.  We got back on the highway and drove through Karatu, past Lake Manyara and passed through Mto-wa-Mbu.  When we got to Makuyuni, we turned north-east on Highway A104 and passed through Kisongo.  There were lots of interesting shops and people to sneak taking photos of out the window at high speed.  There were a lot of stuffed furniture sets being sold along the road.  I wonder what they do if it rains or it’s dusty?  There are also numerous colorful metal bunk beds in doubles and triples, and wooded double beds.  Perhaps they’re made in the crude brick buildings, set back from the road, as I see one young man painting one of the beds, red, next to the road.  We made it to Arusha, and drove through the bad side of town again.  Michael had us lock the door and reminded us not to show anything of value at window level.  To me, it just looked like a poor section of town, although I did notice a person passed out next to the road.  We made it to the Arusha Hotel.  At first, they couldn’t find our reservation (we were glad Michael came in with us to make sure everything worked out).  Mark had kept good records and they found it and got us to our room.  Nice room on appearance, but as we looked closer, there were a few issues, e.g., one tissue folded in a fan shape in an empty box, lights that that have no way to plug in, internet not working, and the power cycles off and on for 10-15 seconds every now and then.  We had a nice balcony and I washed some clothes and hung them out to dry.   It’s pouring rain.  I guess it had to rain sometime, as it is the beginning of the rainy season.  We went for a buffet dinner.  The power cycles off and on.  Everyone seems used to this and it must be a common occurrence.  We have a nice meal and head and back to the room for our last night in Tanzania. ~ Mary & Mark

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We love adventure and creating new memories. We travel, not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. We are loving this journey called, "life." We're living our lives fully, with gratitude in our hearts. There are kind people all over this world and we have discovered that we are more similar than we are different. The smile is the same in all languages. I love the following quote by Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

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