My East Africa, Madagascar & other wildlife photos

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www.flickr.com More of my other wildlife spotting photos

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Taxi Tarif

If you want to go from Arusha to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) you have to take a taxi. There are no bus or dalla dalla going there.
The standard rate for covering the 80 or so km is 50 USD. That's also what's in the 2009 Lonely Planet. All taxi drivers offer the same tarif. There is no big negtiating for this one. If you are lucky, you can get it down to 45 USD.
However, it's better to pay in Tanzanian Shillings (TSh). The 50 USD would come down to 65,000 TSh. And they'll take you for 50,000 Tsh to KIA. Neat.
Still, traveling there alone, not sharing, the 50,000 still seems a lot of money for a mere 1.5h of driving. It's a bit over 38 USD. Other people that went a day before me paid the 50,000.
Somehow I went to the airport for 40,000 TSh. That's just over 30 USD. I think I just played the right cards here and there...

Weight loss

Before I left to Tanzania I struggled with luggage weight. Now I'm back with less kg: luggage heavier, but I lost over 9kg...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Home

Ah. Home for 2 hours already. Downloading mail and doing laundry. Need to support more local economy to have my laundry done. Cheap.

Day 50 Video: Wild Dogs

In Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania we encountered a pack of 4 Wild Dogs. They were resting under a tree. Just have a small compact camera, so the quality is not that good. But nevertheless: Wild Dogs!

Kilimanjaro beer without sugar

Why do they advertise with this?
Well. It's Kili time. And it's the only East African beer without sugar... All of those beers also contain corn starch. How about the German Reinheitsgebot?

Toilet note

At the Scandinavian Express bus station in Morogoro we made a stop.
On my way from Dar to Mikumi. Very hot day.
Very smelly toilet indeed. No need for bathroom or washroom eufemisms here. With that smell, it could not have been anything else but a toilet.
That's why they put up the note. It should be less smelly.
I just needed to capture the beauty of that moment. The intrinsic beauty of the note.
It's almost poetry. Almost as if it was written by a Chinese monk with his calligraphy pensil brush. Tanzanian poetry. Unintended.
Yet.
Of great poetic value.
To me.

Dodgy Mail Service - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

An illegal photo. You can't photograph public things like bridges, government buildings, military complexes. And post offices. I did it. In Dar es Salaam.
I just have a dirty mind I think. Just found the City Urgent Mail amusing...
For Dutch people: you can even think ahead with the 'Pick Up'.


Day 21 Video: Young Vervet Monkey plays innocence


This young Vervet Monkey was hanging around the entrance gate of the Western Corridor of Serengeti National Park. We stopped our overland truck there to have lunch just outside the park borders. As did many others.
Some Vervet Monkeys hang around there. Opportunistic as they are, they wait for the moment they can steal some food.
This young one was approaching us. Move a meter closer. Sit there. Play innocense. I'm not up to anything. No. Hey, am I still here? Lalala. It's not me. Until he gets the chance...

Photos of the Balloon Safari over Maasai Mara

5 September 2009 I made a Balloon Safari over the Maasai Mara. It was great. An hour of drifting over the plains. Seeing the herds of Wildebeests and Zebras. The occasional jackal. Topped off with a champagne breakfast in the wild.

This series of photos is made by the balloon operator. I could not hang my camera on on the balloon outside the basket...
Just watch. No further commentary required by me ;-)














Day 74: Rain

Can I still number days now I'm back? It's cold when I get out of bed. It rains.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My luggage in the train to Rotterdam

Well, almost home. First stop my parents' place. Already miss Africa. Weird to be back. I even miss stupid touts harrassing me ;-) No more phone credt buyng on the street. Mishkaki at a local hoteli. Sun. Friends. Ah... Hello cold climate. Organized public transport.

Day 73: Country Count 6

How many countries can you visit in 24h on your way home?
Well, Ethiopean Airlines helped to maximize it.
I first had the 'Circle Line'. Not the London Subway. The plane. When I entered the plane in Kilimanjaro International Airport with destination Addis Ababa, there were folks who just came with the same plane from Addis Ababa on their way to Mombassa in Kenya.
First stop Zanzibar. Almost counts as a separate country (poltically and historically it kind of is).
Next stop Mombassa in Kenya - Count(ry) 2.
Then on to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia - Count(ry) 3.
By the way, the first class was 2 rows behind first class. Talking about a 'dead mus'...
Waitng a few hours. Flight to Paris, France - Count(ry) 4.
And in Paris standing still for over 2h. They messed up the luggage, had to sort it.
Then on to Brussels, Belgium - Count(ry) 5. The supposed time of arrival depended on what pirnt you have. My plane was over 30m late, for another guy just on time... By now I gladly could say Ethiopean Airlines goodbuy. The did gve me the requested leg space though. A lot. Could put my feet up against the board in front of me whle half laying down. Reasonably comfy.
Next is the train from Brussels to Rotterdam. I'll spare my comments about Belgian railways and information supply for now.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Count(ry) 6. Will be there in 25m.

Day 73: Netherlands!

12:25 Now with train in Roosendaal(NL). Internet on my phone again! :-)

Day 72: To Paris

23:48 About to leave Ethiopia to Paris 1st. 9.5h flight to Brussels. Anything below 25 degrees I consider cold!

Day 73: Brussels

8:54 Landed in Brussels, now waiting for luggage. Then train to Rotterdam. Had only 1h sleep. Feels like a fridge.

Day 73: Paris

6:10 Landed in Paris, a bit delayed. Moving the clocks: 2h earlier than Tanzania. 1h before departure to Brussels.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 72: Addis

15:09 Don't tell me everybody has boarded and we are leaving too early? This is Africa, wtf? Addis Abeba here I come!

Day 72: Stop

17:23 Crappy flight. Stops in Zanzibar, now Mombasa (Kenya), then Addis Abeba. I expect a Paris stop as well...

Day 72: Swahili

21:13 Having a hard time not to respond in Swahili to Ethiopean airline staff and Ethiopeans in Addis. Hapana!

Day 72: Addis Arrival

20:30 Just landed n Ethiopia. 3.5h before flight to Brussels. A Ethiopean cross as souvenir anyone?

Day 72: Business Class

13:42 Sweet. Flight to Addis Business Class. Asked for leg space to Brussels. 25kg luggage: too heavy, but still ok.

Day 72: In Line

13:33 Ok, let's go and stand in line for Ethiopean Airlines. First fill out my East Africa Exit form.

Day 72: Ethiopean

13:29 Ooh, Ethiopean Airlines staff coming in. Do I jump right at them and lose my internet spot?

Day 72: Free Internet

13:27 And yes, free internet again at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Just had to wait for my turn.

Day 72: Airport

13:25 Now at Kilimanjaro Int.Airport. As a good Dutch boy there 3h in advance, but 2:20h before flight no Ethiopean staff yet.

Day 72: This is the End?

Jim M. may think so and for him it was The End long time ago. But I'm not closing The Doors yet. What happens after I'm back in NL? Well, the story and blog continues. I might not be experiencing new African adventures. But for sure I still have a lot of unshared stories, adventures, observations and encounters to share. Not to forget tons of photos and even YouTube videos.
So do come back and keep on reading. I also do requests ;-)

Day 72: Afternoon flight

Today I leave Arusha Backpackers at noon. Taxi to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Should get me there in an hour. Let's hope they still have the free internet ;-)
At 15:50 my Ethiopean Airlines flight leaves to Addis Abeba in Ethiopia. There I've got about 5 hours till my 23:55 flight with Ethiopean is going to Brussels. Should be there Thursday morning at 7:35. Then the train to the Netherlands.
Ah. Long travel days again. Well, I'll survive. If not, well, distribute the souvenirs evenly among family and friends please ;-)

Day 72: No more TZ phone

10:27 From now on, please only use my Dutch phone number. I won't be using my Tanzanian SIM card anymore. So if it starts with +255, I won't be reading it.

Day 72: Crying Sky

10:20 This morning the sky has been crying, because I'm leaving Tanzania. Also good transition to the Dutch rains.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 71: Souvenirs

20:42 Did some severe bargaining while buying some last souvenirs at the Masai Crafts market. Got some nice little stuff.

Tandenfee

Er zijn van die dingen die je je afvraagt.
Op Zanzibar kwam ik in Nungwi een paar mensen tegen met tanden. Nu hebben de meeste mensen hier wel tanden - soms mist er een - maar ze hebben dan weer niet de halfjaarlijkse tandartscontrole die we in Nederland kennen. Fluoridetabletjes kennen ze ook niet. Tandenborstels en tandpasta wel. In Nederland kun je die niet kopen als je in de bus zit. In Tanzania wel. Bij elke stop wordt water, fris, sinaasappels en soms dus ook tandenborstels en tandpasta aangeboden. In de files om Dar ook. Handig als je denkt: goh, het is niet die walmende diesel voor me die ik ruik en proef, maar het zijn de dieselwalmen uit mijn eigen mond. Fight halitose while you're in the traffic jam! Sommigen gebruiken ook nog de traditionele tandenborstelbomen. Beetje kauwen en poetsen. Werkt antiseptisch. Niets mis mee.

Maar ik dwaal af. In Nungwi dus mensen met tanden. En in het midden van de boventanden oranjebruine vlekken. Vreemd. Verder leken de gebitten in orde. Zagen er sterk en niet rottend uit. Alleen die lach met Hup Holland plekjes geeft me een oranje-bruin vermoeden dat er iets vreemds gaande is. Navraag leerde dat de beide personen - m'n kokvriend Joshua die ik ooit noemde in een stukje over horeca salarissen en een serveerster - uit de Moshi - Arusha regio komen. Anderen hadden mooie tanden. Soms wat geel. Soms ontbreekt er een tand, maar dat zie je weinig bij jeugdigen, waartoe ik voor het arrogante gemak mezelf ook maar reken.
Oranje-bruine plekken dus. Alsof het plaatjesbeugelafdrukken zijn. Maar dan anders.

In de bus van Dar naar Lushoto in de Usambara bergen zat een jonge meid - nog geen 18 denk ik - naast me. Niets geen oranje plekken op de tanden. Het midden van de tanden was gewoon wit. Zoals het hoort. Of zoals wij vinden dat het hoort. Ze had wel een fietsenrek in haar bovengebit waar Rob de Nijs de regen echt niet meer zo zachtjes op het zolderraam laat tikken. De randen tussen de tanden waren grijs. Alsof je door wat wit tandglazuur door naar zwarte plekken aan de achterkant van de tanden zit te kijken. Vreemd. En in het geheel niet echt aantrekkelijk.

In Lushoto aangekomen werd ik belaagd door een jongen die vanalles wilde. Vooral mijn vriend zijn, maar eigenlijk dat ik bij zijn reisbureau wat hikes kwam boeken. Ook hij had een schrikbarend Rob-de-Nijs-speelt-een-uitwedstrijd-tegen-Zwart-Wit-'63 gebit. In Lushoto kwam ik meer mensen tegen met zo'n soortgelijk gebit. Klaarblijkelijk is het regionaal bepaald.

Aan de gezichtsbouw, huidskleur en lichaamsbouw kun je herkennen dat er veel verschillende stammen in Tanzania zijn. Maar het tanden-met-een-kleurtje verhaal heb ik nog geen vinger achter kunnen krijgen. Er zijn duidelijk regionale verschillen.

Ik hou het erop dat ze hier een paar tandenfeeen hebben die gebrekkig Engels spreken. Je legt als kind je gewisselde tand onder je kussen. De tandenfee komt. Traditioneel krijg je dan wat geld. Van Midden-Amerika weet ik dat mensen hun spaargeld in hun mond stoppen. Gouden tanden of tanden met gouden randen. Oude dag voorziening die niet zo makkelijk uit je broekzak (beter: wikkelrokplooien) wordt gestolen. Ik vermoed dat een tandenfee of twee daar wat over heeft gelezen in National Geographic, maar dat ze gebrekkig Engels begrepen. Ze gaf in ruil voor de tand dus geen muntje of briefgeld onder het kussen, maar meteen het geld in het gebit. Mooie koperkleurige muntjes in de Arusha - Moshi regio. En zwart geld in de Usambara Bergen.

Day 71: Last Night

9:12 My last full day and night in #Tanzania. I'll miss it! And I'll miss the people and friends.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 70: Online cronjob

Looks like the online cronjob I use to post to Facebook, Twitter & Blogger is not working. Maybe it will be silent.

Day 70: Antidateren

Maar weer even de 'bulk' posts die afgelopen dagen zijn blijven hangen geantidateerd. Dus kijk vooral bij de Oude Berichten / Old Posts. Of klik links op 7, 8 of 9 november voor de posts. Enjoy!

Gedichtje...

Tja... Heb sinds Mikumi nog een half af gedicht liggen. Paar mooie analogieen en woordcombinaties erin.
Ik ben het aan 'Kat' verplicht 't af te maken en te posten. Komt, komt :-)

Vliegtuig Verveling

Als je in een vliegtuig zit, kun je je danig vervelen - zeker bij lange intercontinentale vluchten. Heel misschien heb je een halve seconde lol als je de Safety Instructions pakt en onderaan de tekst "Have a pleasant flight" leest, indachtig dat je iemand met een spraakgebrek bent die de 'l' niet uit kan spreken. Dan even het scenario visualiseren in dat saaie vliegtuig met een paar boerkes "Mien zeug blieft op deze stoel zitt'n" "Neuh, 'k sloa d'rop!"
Ah. Geeft mij altijd vermaak voor net iets meer dan een halve seconde. 't Werkt! Voor sommigen...

Day 68: Dancing night

Saturday night - day 68, 7 November - I went out. In great need of some dancing. Together with J. - she works as the Internet Girl at Arusha Backpackers - and I. - he works as waiter at the same hotel. We first stopped by at Mawingu a bit before 23h. No people there yet, so we left. We went to Masai Camp. Just outside town.
Masai Camp is indeed as one guy described it: a meat market of Wazungu and Wafrica. Mix of white and black people. And as the night progresses you can observe some intimate cultural integration of Mzungu women with Mafrica men, Mafrica women with Mzungu men and of course Mafrica men with Mafrica women - there are cultural differences within Tanzania as well and they deserve some proper integration.

Next to the Meat Lover's Pizza Party there is mainly dancing. And drinking, but that's not really interesting. A lot of dancing. Some techno, but mainly 'hip' music. Not that the music is so hip - well, maybe it is but that's not the point - more that the music requires you to use your hips while you dance. R&B, Hip Hop, Bongo Flava (Dar es Salaam's African Hip Hop sort of), Reggaeton. The works. And it's fun. People dance in groups. People dance together. You just dance with somebody, shake your ass and dance with somebody else. If you like. If not, you dance alone.

I enjoyed myself. Before the dancing really started the 3 Swedish girls and a friend - tour operator guy - joined us. The more the merrier. I danced a lot. Was fun. In Europe most (white) girls either don't know how to move their hips or they are to bashful to do so. Here not. Most girls know how to move their hips. How to dance. Fun to dance with :-) Could let myself go without strange looks of other white people that are used to dancing slide-close-slide in an uncreative manner. Apparently I know how to dance, based on feedback and comments ;-) It's also nice then to dance with a few girls. Good interaction makes dancing so much better!

I also have to mention the dress code. Bit confused by the status in Dar es Salaam now. Modern girls in Arusha dress not much different when they go out from European girls. Short skirts, revealing clothes. Sexy outfits. Make up. Here at Masai Camp there probably were some prostitutes, but not really apparent, no business 'hunting' going on. Quite a relief compared to Dar es Salaam. I also might have misinterpreted some of the girls in Garden Bistro in Dar earlier. Some girls are not prostitutes, they just dress themselves a bit slutty. Western 'civilization' has kicked in there as well. Still, the number of girls in business in Dar was apparent. In Masai Camp it was just dress up for a night out. From normal jeans and shirt to sexy mini skirts and strapless tops. And the guys? As in most places, they seem to do little effort to dress up nicely ;-) Except for some guys that tried to impersonate the next Bad Ass Gangsta Rapper. Well, if you like bling round your neck...

Anyways. I liked the dancing, so when the Swedish girls and the hotel staff left, I continued dancing. At around 3 I went with a group of mid twenty girls in dancing mood to AQ Club, just around the corner of Arusha Backpackers Hotel. In front of the entrance there was the local snack bar. Outside of course. No kebab or shoarma (shawarma). Mishkaki (meat skewers) and chips. Encountered the Swedish girls and 2 of the staff snacking there. Chipsi with ketchup. I don't snack when I go out. When I dance, I hardly drink any alcohol. Dancing goes smoother when sober. Dancing makes thirsty, so you drink water. Just had 3 beers between 23h and 5h.

Again - just like in Dar - it was a good night dancing. This one was actually better. More dancing. Better audience. In bed at 5. Sweet.

Day 68: Wedding parades

Last Friday and Saturday here in Arusha were several wedding parades in the streets. That means, the car with the newly wed couple is driving around town in a car, in front of it a pick-up truck with band (bass drum, snare, trumpet, trombone) playing music. Some following cars of course. Funny to see. And the same parade of cars drives around town several times during the day. Everywhere different habbits.

Day 70: Darn Updates

Hmm. Looks like no automatic updates on Blogger again. Darn Blogger or darn Cronjob Online!
Posting up to 4 messages a day and nothing appears? It sucks. Don't know what happens. I have the idea that when Blogger is down - and it has been a few times the last weeks - my script fails and quits trying to run. It all depends on Blogger RSS feeds...
So, let's post stuff. I always hate it when you even update via SMS in the night and nothing appears.

Day 70: Souveniring

17:22 This afternoon went to the Masai Crafts market in Arusha. See if there are any nice souvenirs. Some nice stuff, but the most is really just the same old stuff. Did not shop till I dropped. Interesting thing was a genuinely antique bao (board game) board. Nice if you like board games like me. But a bit pricy and heavy.

Well, just 2 more days in Arusha to go... Wednesday afternoon I'll take the plane.

Day 70: Facebook

13:23 Have to watch what I post. The hotel's internet girl reads it on Facebook and comments to me in person ;-)

Day 70: Tetris

8:56 Collect box of souvenirs I stored at L'Oasis Lodge 1.5 month ago. Then play tetris in my backpack to fit all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 69: Screen print

21:28 Bought Kondoa rock art silkscreen print on thick handmade paper. Again nice chat with archeologist.

Day 69: Early

9:54 Not that early, just little sleep. Last night's good mood lasts. Don't see the staff I went out with yet ;-)

Day 68: Dancing

4:32 Had a great night dancing! Hardly drank alcohol, so feel fit. I still have the dance and hip moves... Love it!