15 March: Second rest day in Arusha

In the words of the Beatles “I heard the news today, oh boy”.

Like the rest of NZ, I am stunned, sickened, and devastated. Very worrying to hear that the gun man was posting his intention beforehand but no one reported it. Terrible to hear that he was live streaming and people were encouraging him. I hope all those people are rounded up and charged with hate crime. How sick is the world when a platform like IG is refusing to take down the video footage of the shooting, but automatically removes any footage with mothers’ breast feeding?

I have the same sort of disbelief as after 9/11, and questions like “how did he manage to get all those weapons?”. My thoughts are with you all, and my hope that there are there no more attacks.

After breakfast it was ground hog day – off to get SIM card, money, and go to supermarket. At the bank I withdrew 400,000 Tanzanian shillings (approx. $360 NZ dollars). The touts are onto you the moment you hit the outskirts of town, and I have got good at saying “Hapana Asante” (no thank you), and if that doesn’t work “Kwaheri” which means goodbye, and if still that doesn’t work going into a shop. The patient ones wait until you come out again.

After getting the SIM card l stopped by a woman selling sandals to try on a pair, next thing I am surrounded by a group giving me different pairs to try. I thought they were part of her team. When I decided on a pair I gave the money to one of them and started to walk away. The woman started yelling “money money” and I realized it was a tout. He gave the money back to her but lesson learned: only deal with the vendor.

This was handy to know as I next stopped to buy sun glasses as I had stood on mine. I asked the vendor how much and started looking at a pair. The touts arrive trying to talk up the price as the one I picked up had colored frames, it would be more – which I refused. The tout said “deal with me as the vendor doesn’t speak English”. I just ignored him and gave the money straight to the vendor who looked pleased and relieved.

Then off to the supermarket – immediately another tout attaches himself to me. I can tell he is carrying more paintings so tell him I already have paintings, not buying any more. We then talk about animals from Australia until we get to the supermarket, “Kwaheri” I say hopefully. When we come out it turns out he also sells bracelets, so I buy two to see him on his way. Ok, from now on I need to just refuse to enter into conversation.

After taking the bags back to the hotel, we go out again back to last nights restaurant to pay the 3,000 shillings. On the way there and back I practice my tout deflecting, and manage to get back to the hotel without any additional purchases.

Once back at the hotel we had lunch, I had a vegetarian pizza which was quite nice.

Then hand washing. You can’t put undergarments into the hotel laundry, and I was not sure if bike pants would be counted as undergarments but assumed they would, so I hand washed them as well.

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Rest  day chores

The rest of afternoon was spent catching up with emails, photos, and the blog.

In town there is a clock tower which is the halfway point of the great north road of Eastern Africa between Cairo and Cape Town, so have joined this trip just before the half way mark.

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Clock tower

We had dinner at the hotel. I had chicken tiki curry with garlic naan, which was very very average, but helped with a nice stellenrust Chenin Blanc from Cape Town. Brett had the mixed African grill with chicken and beef, which was also pretty average.

Last rest day tomorrow.

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 African Tulip Hotel

Categories: Tour d'Afrique | Leave a comment

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