Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We took a tourist shuttle from Nairobi to Moshi knowing that even if the roads left something to be desired, we would be in a slightly better vehicle compared to the public buses.  The roads started off great, but our joints were aching, and stomachs unnerved by the time we reached Arusha.  The connecting shuttle to Moshi turned into a little gong show, and when it finally arrived two hours late (instead of the said fifteen minutes), we were all very glad to be finally on our way.

Moshi sits at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and in the early mornings, before the clouds settled in, we had amazing views of the highest peak in Africa.  The weather is pleasant, if slightly hotter than Nairobi, and there are lots of Bollywood movies on TV (okay, maybe I was the only person excited about that) because there is a large population of Indian descendants here.  There is HBO and soccer too.

We had heard Moshi was a relaxing place to chill out, and after our jam packed safari and trek, we decided some relaxing was in order.  We shopped for souvenirs, avoided touts, and went on a waterfall hike.

The waterfall hike was really a village tour by Marangu.  We walked through an incredibly lush cooperative plantation that had coconuts, bananas, and coffee among other plants.  The Chagga people live in these parts, and we got to stop by a museum which outlines their history and culture.  The elder who told us about the Chagga people's traditions was quite animated and a highlight of the excursion.

The next day we relaxed while Russ and Virginia went to Ngorongoro Crater.  This rest day turned out to be a very good idea considering what we put ourselves through the next day.

We found an agency to take us on a mountain bike ride through the nearby villages.  The route was supposed to be a challenging, but very do-able 40km ride that ends at a picturesque fresh water spring for a swim. 

The bike ride turned out to a little bit longer than we had planned for.  The trip took us though a sugar plantation before climbing up and up though small villages in the country side.  The ride was supposed to be 20k m each way but this turned into 32km each way.  YES we bike 64km that day.  The road was very rough and our butts and limbs took the brunt of it.  Good thing we have some experience riding on rocky terrain from home!  I knew it was long and hard when our guide was pushing his bike a the end because his rear was so sore.

Latha was the most entertaining.  By the end, the words coming out of her mouth would have made a sailor blush.  Quotes from the day: "the camel ride was more comfortable than this!", "I would rather climb Mt. Kenya again.", "this is the most pain I have been the whole trip!".  When we finally arrived in Moshi, our guide was very proud that we made it in one piece.  Supposedly no one has ever attempted this before from his agency.  Go figure!
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