Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From Kenya to Tanzania

Preena, Achal, Pritesh and Ronak with Pritesh and Achal's grandfather's old Mercedes
By Pritesh Gandhi

Hi!  I am writing this to you as we drive to Moshi after passing the Kenya border and now into TZ.  Obviously, this morning was filled with mass hysteria due to lack of sleep.   Before the car ride to the bus station, we took pictures with us in front of my grandfather's car.  That Mercedes is as old as I am and I remember being driven in it.  Actually, I remember that my uncle has a pic of Swetal and I when we were toddlers on the hood of that car!  We got to the bus station early.  The conductor made it sound like we would have the entire back of the bus to ourselves.  Before we knew it, there were not only passengers next to our seats, they piles of bags as well.  Achal tried to convince the driver to pile the bags on the top of the bus but that did not go well. Preena was not feeling well and Ronak gave her a Benadryl and she has been sleeping since.

Achal and Ronak on the bus
En route to the border, the views were incredible of luscious greenery.  We stopped at a cafeteria were we chatted with some Masaii women who were insisting that we buy hand crafted jewelry for our Mama; I suppose they meant Mom, wife or sister.  Interestingly, they did not ask Preena if she wanted to buy something for the men in her life.  Perhaps because the Benadryl was still in effect and she still looked dazed!  Trying to get some zzz's but it is sporadic amidst the random border patrol, surprising off roading, frequent speed bumps and accidents--saw a truck in the ditch with a bunch of Masaii men looking at it like it was some sort of an artifact.  In contrast to the views in Kenya, in TZ there are plains of dry savannah sprinkled with spotted dust balls.  We should be in Moshi in about two hours.  I do hope the hotel issue has been sorted out!
Pritesh and Ronak
We got to Arusha at about 1 pm local time yesterday.  All the passengers had to disembark and we had to wait for another 1.5 hours for our connecting bus to Moshi.  Once we got on the bus, we all passed out.  Actually, I do not think Preena ever woke up since we left Nairobi.  Once we got to Moshi, at about 3:00 pm local time, our ride to the hotel was not to be found.  The locals insisted taking us to our hotel--they must have asked us at least 30 times.  Interestingly, none of the locals talk to Preena--she has the look down whereas the rest of us are suckers.  It seems like our outfitter is also the town's mayor--everyone knows him and refer to him as 'Papa'.  We made a call to him and they came to get us in a grayish green van--we used call it a Combie back in the day.  On arrival to the hotel, we united with the team, put our luggage in our rooms and were off to see Papa for Mountain orientation.  Orientation was simple and it seemed like a round table discussion with Papa being the facilitator.  We also met the chief guide--Gaspar.  The key take away was to drink 4-5 L of water a day!  After orientation, we went to an EXCELLENT Indo-Italiano place for dinner.  We offered the cook to join us on the climb but were not successful.  Back to the hotel, we depacked, repacked, met for an hour, had a few laughs and called it a night.

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