Something Clever

Trip Start Sep 15, 2009
Trip End Nov 21, 2009

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, October 12, 2009

Today was a day filled with walking around the city/town of Lushoto.  We had 2 nights here and were supposed to do a culture walk and also a Cheese Factory tour.  We were split off into 2 groups in the morning and I went with the short group because I had a gash in the side of my foot and it hurt to walk in walking shoes.  The only difference between the long and short is a longer forest walk where you had the chance to see some monkeys in the trees.  Plus, we would finish a few hours sooner and have time to chill at the camp.  The lazy ones, the older ones, the overweight ones, and me set off together and we mostly spent the first few hours walking through some neighborhoods and getting the strange look that we always get.  Accompanied with the looks, is the word “Mzungo.”  I think I explained this before not too sure.  Mzungo, means “white person.”  And you hear it quite a lot.  It’s not a derogatory remark like the “N” word, just a word that everyone is taught and you hear that a lot.  That and the word “Jambo,” which means “Hello.”  It’s kind of funny!  So we snaked our way through people’s houses and a few little towns or two. We even passed a primary and I think a secondary school and we were stars to all the kids.  We were high fiving, “Jambo’n”, and holding hands with all the kids there.   A few of them seemed a bit apprehensive of me at first, but when I flash the teeth they seem to smile back.  I guess my big grizzly beard may scare some kids at times.  Especially when they rarely see “Mzungo’s.“  Then we made it to a view point at the edge of a mountain and we spent a few minutes enjoying the view of the valley/plains that were in front of us.  The view was followed by a lunch which consisted of homemade bread, cheeses, veggies, fruits, and juices.  As we were eating our lunch, the long group came in panting and red faced and quite hungry.  Of course we all relished in the fact that we were full from the great food and well rested.  Ironically enough we were scheduled to set off for the cheese factory, but we ended up not going because it was closed. The reason: because the ladies that operated the factory were the ones making our lunch.  Not sure who planned that one out, but I’m guessing it was just two ladies in some mud hut stirring some cheese in buckets over a wood-burning fire, then pouring it into jars.  And not some big factory with automated machines cutting plastic wrap sheets.  I didn’t really care because I am happy just walking around the neighborhoods.  We started walking back and stopped off at one of the small towns that we previously walked through.  It was time to taste sugar cane beer.  We were shown to the town pub and that place was really funny.  The place reminded me of a clubhouse your and your friends build when you’re a teenager.   Mismatched couches and chairs, Christmas lights strewn over a poorly built bar, a cheap boom box playing some American hip-hop songs on a scrambled TV, a dirt floor and cramped inside.  Our guide brought in 4 bottles of the stuff and we all looked at each other.  We all thought we were only getting a sip each, because the chance that it was going to taste like something nasty was high.  We poured some and each took a drink.  I imagine that was what urine tastes like because it was bad and sour.  Out of eight of us, only one liked the taste.  We politely drank what was given to us and we walked back to our camp.  Since it’s been a few weeks since, I decided to go out into town and get my head shaved since the shaver that I brought with me decided to turn on in my bag and kill the battery.  I’m pretty sure I was charged the tourist fee for the cut because what he said was over what the price on the wall costs.  But at $1.50, who can really complain.  
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