Usambara - Day 2 - An evening with the nuns!

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006

I found out where all the chicken shit came from. About 5am there was a cockerel cock-a-doodle-doing in the corridor right outside my room!

Tea, chapatti and Karimata (a donut type thing) for breakfast at another dive joint in the morning before hitting the road.

Mainly road walking that wasn´t always the most interesting as a lot of it was through the trees and it was plantations as oppose to the indigenous trees. The good part was the 50% that went through villages and agricultural land.

We met 2 interesting old gents early morning who came running after us so they could walk with the muzungu. Pretty good running for an old couple in their 60s on the way to one of their buddies funerals. They mentioned how when the British were here this whole area was indigenous forest. Now it was mainly terraced farmland! I wondered if all this deforestisation was to blame for the failed rains the previous year.

Finally got to see a chameleon, stopping to photograph it drew a big crown of locals. They couldn´t understand what was so exciting as they had all seen plenty in their time. It gave them something to chuckle about!

We headed through Marindi and onto Masoke for lunch where we had an omelet and a cake. The cake had actually been fried so I guess that could really be classed as another donut! Homer would be in heaven here :-) Had a Fanta passion fruit today.

So much for the rainy season coming, today was an absolute corker! The guy from the tourist information office had suggested not to take sun tan lotion on this trip. Comments that were perhaps misguided. Let´s see what happens tomorrow before I get too cocky.

Nice afternoon, farmland all the way, peppers, maize, sunflowers and of course tomatoes by the bucket load. There were lots of people tomato picking in the fields and bikes and people loaded up to the hilt with huge baskets taking the season¡¦s bounties to the lorries, all heading for Dar.

My guide mentioned in the high season 25 people a day did this hiking route. Based on the fact that just about every young kid under the age of 5 ran like a bat out of hell when they saw me coming, I¡¦m not too sure I believe his figure. I know I look strange ¡V but I¡¦m not an alien!

I opted for a night at a convent that evening. It was a nice peaceful place set in beautiful grounds. After tea and some delicious home made bread I retired to my nice veranda that overlooked the grounds.

All the nuns were super friendly, and I´m not too sure if the younger ones giggling at me was super nun like. Still I was a bit lost for words when one of them came to my room with a large container of water and said ¡¥you wash my body¡¦. There was no running water when the power was not working as the water pump obviously could not work either so water top ups were a regular occurrence. I have to admit it took me a few seconds to work out that what she was really asking in her broken English was if I had bathed!

What I meal I received that night - that alone made it well worth the extra cost to stay at this place. Tender chunks of beef, tomatoes in a fantastic dressing, rice with rosemary and lemon, cabbage, spinach (or some local vegetable that was very similar), chips and gravy. I was in heaven and went to bed a happy man.
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