Day 6- Ngorongoro crater

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I woke up convinced there was a zebra outside our tent. I could hear it stomping and chomping so I woke Bryan up so we could see it. I looked out of the tent tentatively, but there was absolutely nothing there- not even any zebra nearby. It was then I realized tent flaps (window and door) on a windy night sound exactly like zebras grazing 😉

I went back to sleep disappointed but woke up to Bryan needing to go to the bathroom…then at 5am, I woke up and had to go. Bryan was awake too- but we could hear very little activity outside…however we decided just to go to the bathroom and start getting our stuff organized.

Toilet debacle

So the eastern western toilet selection is really gnawing at me. I watched no less than 5 Europeans avoid it to wait in a line for the western one, but I am trying to embrace it. The lack of paper is a big factor in my new appreciation for the eastern toilet.

I had a moment while I was grabbing the paper I needed, one extra tissue fell out and onto the ground. It was like a slow motion scene in a movie where people are reaching for something and yelling “noooooooooo” in slow motion as they desperately try to avoid something falling on the floor. Well, unlike a movie, I didn’t catch it- and one brave piece of tp was lost in the fight. I lamented for a few seconds and just decided to squirrel away my dinner napkins instead. That’s me: the picture of innovation!!

As we were packing our stuff, Bryan started mumbling about what the date was and about whether he was right or not. He will either start a sentence and then stop- or  starts a conversation half way through his train of thought, asking me questions that I don’t understand. Then I need to say, “What is it that you’re concerned about/ need to solve?” because I cannot gather this from him muttering. He was frustrated but I said I don’t understand the point of what is bothering you.

He noted that today was only the 14th and we shouldn’t be done with this safari- we had 4 days (showed me the itinerary), but as far as we knew, today we were headed back to Arusha with the rest of the group. This meant either Bryan planned an extra day by accident (as he had in Borneo) or something wasn’t right with our booking and we needed to fix it- especially as we didn’t have a hotel booking anywhere until tomorrow. Now I understood his concern and worry about it, but I wish he had just said that 😉 

We figured we’d talk to Spear and Bryan said I needed to do it because he wasn’t always sure what he was saying. It is nice that I tend to understand accents and can interpret people on the spot, I think because I like studying languages and I hear what people are saying in my head and then go through all the things it sounds like- in a fraction of a second- and then repeat back to clarify if I am right. There are many times I don’t understand but it’s more often I didn’t hear the words than when I don’t understand them. Anyway, as I have been learning Swahili with Spear it was fine for me to be the main communicator in this instance.

When we were ready for brekky we went into the hall and our table was there but only 2 chairs. It turns out people staying up late in the hall messed all the seats up and created total chaos for everyone. Our tent had J.L. painted on it and I thought so had our stools, but a lady guide said, “that’s mine” and when I said, “but that’s what our tent says, these are ours”, she said “yes, it’s me, these are mine” and took them for her group.

We talked to Marcus and Mike who said that some of the girls they met that they’d be climbing with had done Lake Manyara before and then joined the new group- as had Valentin and Aurora. So basically we would have met Valentin and Aurora the day before and gone to Lake Manyara with them if we’d not been just getting into town that day. So our trip was staggered and we were to do the safari first then the lake instead.

I was going to just stand for brekky, that’s fine, but eventually somehow the stool issue got sorted out (and honestly I am not even sure how as  I think it was when I was talking to Spear about our booking). He didn’t seem to be aware that we had an extra day, so it’s a good thing we brought it up!

He said he’d ask but it was likely they’d drop us off at one of “their” camps for the night and a new driver would get us the next day with a different group. Makes sense, but it also helps when you are aware of this issue and don’t have to wonder.

I will say, while fun and exciting- it is a good thing we kind of knew what we were doing as there was not a lot of information offered to us about anything. Actually we hadn’t even been introduced to the chef- and I am not at all sure that anyone but me knew Spear’s name. Had we been really green and shy about asking questions, it could have gone a little bit differently…

The coffee was missing from the spread, so I opted for tea, also believing that the coffee makes me need to pee faster than tea anyway. I desperately wanted some serious caffeine but the tea was a black tea so I knew it’d do something. Bryan was disappointed to not have coffee- which was brought out later, so he gave me his tea and made himself some instead- instant coffee called Africanmade. 

We had the same omelette portions, crepes and french toast again with some fruit, which was good. There was no peanut butter this time for the crepes or toast which would have been good to add some protein, but the honey was delicious too. We wasted no time mowing it down and we made sure it was not wasted, joking that Marcus and Mike needed the extra food for the climb tomorrow!

We piled into the truck and only had a 5 minute drive to the descent road to the crater. Apparently, they have two different roads for going in and out, designated for each- which frankly, is a fantastic idea because the roads are hair pin, one lane, no guardrails (unlike the Eskimos having 50 different words for snow, I am pretty sure there is no word for “guardrail” in any African language) and a few thousand feet down on one side, it helps that people are not trying to pass. I can’t even imagine if they ever didn’t have it this way, how many people very likely died- especially if it rained even the tiniest bit, making mud to deal with along with the harrowing incline (1800 ft?). No thanks!

We got through the gate in a 10 minutes actually means 5 minutes time frame, which is impressive! During the short wait, we all got out and took pictures along the edge. It was windy and extremely cold- to which Marcus joked that if it was windy on Kilimanjaro, he’d ask for his money back…but I noted, at least they’d be dressed for it then!

We all dressed in layers but I was cold the day before- so this time I brought my little packaway blanket like the one Marloes had accidentally absconded with on our last trip 😉 My mother-in-law bought me another for xmas that year and I was so pleased because it is really comfy and easy to pack and it is warm despite the lack of thickness to it.

When we got to the bottom of the crater floor, the very first thing we came upon were wildebeest- many of them. I joked to Marcus and Mike whether the sheer numbers made up for the lack of seeing them at all prior. I am not sure we expected to see any, because we’d heard they had all gone north into Kenya for the migration- but clearly some did not get the memo- or maybe they stay for some reason? We did question at one point how the animals got her- for example hippos? Spear said there is a trail they do- hairpin turns just like the cars- and the animals can come and go…but basically, climbing a mountain seems like a lot of effort- and a serious achievement- for a hippo!

The next (and next most plentiful) animals we saw were water buffalo. Next to the road there was a mom and a baby, which was really cute- and even had horns at such a small age. Water buffalo females also have horns- I am not sure how many other species are like this, but it’s not like deer where only the males have racks.

The bottom of the crater is 4440 sq km (2734 sq mi) primarily open grassland like the Serengeti, but along the edges there are some more loosely forested areas- as well as a salt plain and a large lake that never dries up (so maybe the hippos only had to climb the mountain once?). It is amazing to see it all from the rim of the crater and then to go into each section which is so defined from the far away view.

As we left the more forested area we got into some scrubby brush where Bryan noted, “this looks like rhino territory”. I agreed as this is one of the reasons they are one of the Big 5. The list is based on their difficulty of being hunted- and rhino are very cunning to be able to suddenly pop out from behind a bush and kill the hunter. 

So we had our eyes peeled for one- but we first spotted an elephant- which for one second a large gray body (when you can’t see the head), rhino comes to mind…but it was a bull elephant all alone just chilling in the bush. Shortly after we saw a bush back which I had never seen before- it is a kind of antelope that is dark brown with white spots- and we saw both male and female types.

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Spear with Bryan

To add to the not been seen before list, we saw a water buck antelope which looked a bit like an oryx- where it was more gray than brown and definitely seemed on the larger side, not like the little impala that are everywhere! They are really cute wagging their little black tails across their white rumps, and even from far away you can see their doe-like eyes that look so endearing (pardon the pun).They always stare at you a little blankly and if they had voices would sound like a valley girl saying, “um hi, whatcha doin’?”

We turned the corner and saw some cute vervet monkeys, which had some babies who were jumping around on each other, much like little kittens do. The adults were just kind of sitting on their butts looking at stuff in the dirt and not paying much attention, so it was hard to get a good pic, but overall, they were pretty funny.

I don’t keep track of birds like I do the other animals, but we saw our first (on safari) crowned cranes. We’d seen them at the airport but didn’t know what they were. I think they are a national bird of Tanzania, but don’t quote me on that.

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Later on we saw more ostrich, which are always so weird and angry looking. We finally found one pretty close to the road so finally got a good pic of a male…there was a female- or maybe juvenile- not too far away, but they are usually found alone- really alone, like out in the middle of nowhere, alone. To round out the birds, we also saw a korey bustard up close- again, closer than we’d ever been- and got a good shot of him posing with the white glowing stripe of the salt flat behind him. Quite a nice composition!

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korey bustard

We saw a big gray body a way off and we all held our breath that maybe it was a rhino- but turns out a hippo, out of water, which we’d never seen before. He was running too which was funny, but they really can hustle when they want. He didn’t really want us to take his picture either, so he busted ass back into the water.

We were all a tad disappointed we’d not seen a rhino yet, when we saw some trucks stopped, all looking through binoculars at something. A pretty long distance away was a big black body. Somehow Spear could tell this was a rhino, although I could just barely tell with the binocs?! But we all cheered and took turns looking at it- and Mike asked if it still counted in our “game”. It most certainly did- especially when you can make up the rules as you go…but in all reality, seeing one is seeing one, whether it makes a nice picture or not.

We had to go to the bathroom so went to the “hippo pool”, a section of the very large lake that is a bit open (whereas the rest is covered in reeds). There were a bunch of hippos hanging around, blowing bubbles and just chilling. We went to the bathroom and went down nearer the water.

We stayed a bit away from the edge, but in truth if a hippo were just under the surface it probably could have gotten out and run at us- though we were not the only targets. We knew not to get any closer at least, which some other people didn’t seem to- and the only sign said “Don’t feed wild animals”…so yeah. That’s Africa: you either get one warning, or none. Whatever happens to you after that is on you 😉 

Really, that’s how it should be- I mean the stupid sh*t people do and then whine no one told them or warned them it wasn’t safe. How about not going over the safety railing to take a selfie with a cougar? Or gee, maybe put a leash on your 5 year old who repeatedly threatened to climb in with the gorillas (and as a result, caused the gorillas death).

Recently I saw a new report about some kids jumping off a bridge near Bellingham I think- despite last year, a girl being pushed (so wasn’t prepared and didn’t jump properly) broke a bunch of ribs and nearly died.

This didn’t stop people, neither do the signs and people are asking the parks system if they do enough to stop people jumping. Seriously, as IF the parks have enough money to stop even the dumbest person climbing, whether they built a fence or posted guards…I mean when can we just say, people need to stop being stupid- and if they can’t, well, that’s their bad…not anyone else’s to pay for with tax dollars or donor contributions?!

The lack of accountability nowadays is so disappointing. People always want someone to blame- especially when it’s their fault.

Rant over.

One of the hippos was swimming our way and just when we felt like if he got any closer we’d have to back up, he went under water and popped up further away to our right. He just wanted to get a closer look at the tattooed mzunga on the side of his territory 😉

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We got back into the truck and started off again into the savannah grassland on a road that kind of splits the crater in half. We’d started down this road before going to the bathroom, but this time, we saw some trucks stopped ahead of us…and when we pulled up to see what they were looking at: it was another rhino! If we’d been down this road earlier, we likely wouldn’t have seen it (or I guess we could have been the first/ only ones to see it)…but I think the bathroom gods smiled upon us and presented us with the second lucky rhino of the day! 

This one was not quite as far, although still required the binocs to see. His horn was huge! Not that I didn’t already know how lucky we were to see both a white and black rhino in Etosha, but they were both much closer to the vehicle and easier to see. It seemed a bit more like we were actually “seeing” them than these two, but like, I said before, it counts!

We didn’t go very far from there and barely caught the glimpse of two male lions- about 7-8 yrs old- laying on some dirt next to the grass. If they had been laying in the grass we’d never have seen them- but they chose the dirt and this made them easier to spot- though they were still pretty hard to see in terms of the initial spotting- not that we couldn’t SEE them. They were sleeping and they looked so cute- as through the binocs you could see their fur and their peaceful sleepy faces…amazing!

We high-fived all around and Mike noted how lucky we were to see 4 of the big 5 in the first hour of this game drive! 

Driving away from the lions, we came across a stopped truck, where a little “fox” was laying in the middle of the road for some reason. We questioned it being a fox vs a jackal, which is what we thought…and Mat would later confirm. Of course in Spear fashion, he got right up on it, and it got up from where it was…but in this case, probably better it wasn’t in the middle of the road!

I do think he likes to make the animals “do” something, but honestly for pics it’s much easier if they aren’t! He was pretty cute and I think Bryan got some good pics of him…and we saw 3 more “foxes” after that too.

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Next we saw an elund, which is a kind of large antelope. We’d seen one the day before too, if I hadn’t mentioned, because like I said with the antelope you kind of get overwhelmed, but the elund are not as common either, so if I didn’t count it on yesterday’s drive it was more because I forgot than it doesn’t “count” toward the list of “cool” animals to see 😉

It’d been a few hours now as there’s a lot of ground to cover, but we saw another hippo out of the water- though being shy…as we stumbled upon a mom and baby too?! The grass was just long enough that it was hard to see their faces and for some of the time the mom purposely stood between us and the baby, but we did get a little bit of a glimpse as she moved forward grazing and the baby didn’t seem to follow in step. This was a real treat either way, as even though the pics wouldn’t come out, it was quite a sight- especially so far away from the water.

We were pretty hungry now and it was time for lunch so we headed back to the ascent road, which was surprisingly paved with cobble stones- like the small hexagonal blocks you’d make a patio out of! I can’t imagine how hard the road would have been before that- or how much effort it took to build- but I am certain it was well worth it; required even.

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One hairpin turn after another we wound our way up the side of the crater until we turned a corner and saw a troupe of baboons just hanging out in the road. One was laying down as another was picking at it’s coat- many others were grooming too but this was right. in. the. middle. of. the. road. We turned around to see more, including a very new baby that was nursing- so new it still had a pink, wrinkled baby face and looked more like a tiny chimp than baboon. It was ridiculously adorable.

Spear revved the car and it didn’t seem like they wanted to move out of the way. One was picking at another’s butt and Bryan started laughing hysterically as he said one was tugging on another’s wiener! One also sat proudly, proboscis monkey style, with a little erection- and seemed annoyed to move…but they all got out of the way and we continued on up and up. 

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It was really impressive the vertical elevation gained on this little road- and the trees around looked like they were glued onto a cliff side, more than they were growing on the side of a mountain slope…then suddenly we were up and could only look down upon this majestic landscape with awe…but now knowing its secrets!

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Lunch was not rice from the night before which surprised us a bit- as it is always easy (and more efficient) to get creative and whip up another dish using a large surplus of leftovers…but instead it was stout macaroni with some chopped veggies and then a stewed, mixed veggie topping. Not sure if this was a special sauce or what, but it was delicious and not the curry or bolognaise of the previous meals. This was paired with some watermelon and pineapple.

I always like watermelon but the effort it takes to deal with the seeds is always a little frustrating. I try not minding them but when you bite into the juicy fruit and then crunch down on one of the seeds, it just ruins the moment…so I always try to pick out as many as I can before and I am not ashamed to spit them out as I go.

It was just about time to pack up but we decided to try to use the satellite phone Carol had given us- as she wanted to hear from us and to know we had it in case we needed it, more so than we shouldn’t use it at all unless needed. We miscalculated the time difference though and instead of being the night before, it was really 2am in Seattle. Oops- but it explains why she didn’t answer.

Another reason we wanted to make contact was because Bryan apparently forgot the camera battery charger, which is pretty critical, especially when you’re the photographer/ artist he is.

I had asked him about it when we were waiting for the very late cab (“are you sure you have the camera  battery and chargers because if nothing else, we need those”) and he confirmed. To be fair I had looked in the camera case before we left and it was in there and it was- but this doesn’t mean he didn’t take it out and not put it back.

The thing is when I forget something I can usually go through all the steps and “see” in my mind what I did- but this does not seem to be the case for Bryan…so thinking about packing it and remembering actually unplugging and packing are not the same…hence the fact me asking to clarify, are you SURE you got them..he said yes. At that point i have to believe him! 

Don’t get me wrong: he is a very capable person and I trust him (especially with trip planning which despite the extra day in Borneo debacle, I still didn’t “check his work”)…I forget a sh*t ton all the time (as I literally focus all my energy on being present and vigilant for the animals I am responsible for caring for daily)- I am not necessarily any better when it comes to stopping by the store to get x after work, or even knowing what day it is 😉

But when it comes to remembering the essentials: camera, camera card and wallet/ passport- those are the only things I need that I can’when I get there or couldn’t literally, live without. To us, pictures are like gold- and while the camera could be replaced, our pictures can’t so we have a pretty strict regimen of how we keep this equipment and how we pack it.

Hopefully, if Carol gets the message and can meet up with Marina (an MZ volunteer that is meeting up with us for the next leg of our safari), she can bring it…and we won’t be too long without the “good” camera with the telephoto lens. We have a good point and shoot- and my phone, which is thankfully operational (the iPhone battery died, like for good, when we got to Africa last time).

We have a few options at least…but it would be a shame to go 2 whole weeks without a telephoto lens…although  guess Kris, another of our friends (and former MZ peeps before they moved to LA) is a photog and will have some good equipment and photos to share..so all is not lost even if we don’t get this charger and extra battery…

As Carol didn’t answer, I left a message for her- almost forgetting to tell her about the charger (ie the entire point of the call), duh! I was more concerned about telling her we were safe, exactly where we were and were headed- as well as thanking her for watching our animals in our absence…hopefully she will have a nice surprise we were able to use the sat phone and left her the message…and she can actually do the deed of delivering it to Marina…

We did our interview videos with the group each of them telling where they were from and what was their fav part of the trip…and I forgot that probably someone should interview us too to round it out 😉 But Marcus suggested it and took a vid for us so we have that little highlight memory to share.

We piled in the car for what we thought was a long drive back to Arusha. After about 30 minutes we pulled into a roadside shop of crafts and handiwares- which of course we were fine with. We always enjoy looking at the local things and supporting the people- but no one else got out…not that they didn’t want to support, but they were not interested in even checking, which then I felt bad we so quickly agreed to look. I knew we’d get something little, but I think the others got their trinkets at the Maasi village…and we need to find something cool for Carol to thank her.

This means at this time, I won’t tell you what we got because I am not sure if that’s her gift or not or whether we will keep it and get something else…but I picked out a shawl (called a poa, in Swahili), which I tend to do now that I have been to Africa and see the need for them! I got one in Madagascar which is bright orange and has a ring tailed lemur on it- then in Namibia found two: a light gray with white elephants and an orange one with cheetahs (neither are special per se, just manufactured, but I liked them). This one I picked is again orange with a pretty African lady carrying water and has an elephant. This represents our trip nicely and I am pleased.

A guy was following us and trying to get us to buy and “antique” mask. It was super cool but at more than $300, was beyond what we’d consider. I had to leave as Bryan was paying to stop what would have been an endless attempt to get us to buy more. It’s hard to say no, especially for us, but we do have our limits- and in this case it was good they took card because we didn’t have enough cash. Really, we only had enough for a tip for Spear- not even Rasta (the cook)- but we knew Rasta was staying on with us and we’d be able to pay him for both after hitting the bank. We figured when we got back to either the little town we met in or Arusha, we’d find a bank and be ready for tomorrow’s trip- and any incidentals we needed for the evening/ on the drive…and for a tip for the new driver/ guide and Rasta.

However, almost as soon as we got back on the road to Arusha, we pulled into a campsite- which was clearly meant for Bryan and I. It looked really nice and much like the campsite we’d stayed at with Mat previously…but now we were here for the night and had not stopped at the ATM!

We unpacked our stuff from the truck, said our goodbyes to our new rafiki (friends)- and paid Spear his tip and gave him a hug. However, he then tried to split that with Rasta and so we had to kind of rudely interrupt the transaction and tell him that was just for him and we’d pay Rasta after getting money. He split it with him anyway- I mean probably better he didn’t grab the money back out of his hands- but now hopefully Rasta will give Spear some of the cash he gets then too…whatever though, it’s between them!

Rasta asked us to go sign in and we waited to be shown to our tent. We started to tell the girl that was working with us that we needed to see if someone could take us to an ATM, but she said she’d get the manager.

When we got to our tent, I explained the situation and he slightly misunderstood, as well, I wasn’t totally clear on the specifics of how we paid for dinner and so on. I was thinking more incidentals and how we’d deal with tomorrow, but the manager thought I meant we thought we’d be paying for dinner and said we needed to straighten it out with the booking company…then Bryan basically started agreeing with the guy that no we didn’t need money for dinner, to which I had to insist the problem still wasn’t resolved…we agreed once we figure it all out, that someone would take Bryan on a motorcycle to the ATM and that would be that.

We were showed to our tent which is a large, party style tent with two cots on opposite sides, much like what we had in Windhoek. It was HOT though as it had been closed up, so we opened the windows a bit to air it out. I asked the girl to come get us when someone was ready to take Bryan to the ATM…

Then he started saying we shouldn’t go and it was causing too much trouble- and I noted that didn’t solve our problem and the arrangement was already agreed on, so what was the point of cancelling then. He said it seemed like we were putting them out, which maybe we were, but too late and we NEEDED money, so it needed to happen. I told him we would be worse off without any cash and needing to tip someone, or heaven forbid get a beer or wine with dinner (as sitting on the patio drinking something cold sounded good right about then as well)…

I just told him we had to do this, especially now…so then it became “well, how much should I get”? I said “how much do you want”? “Well, how much should I get, I mean schillings to dollars”? I said again, “well how much do you want in US? It was 2250 schillings to the dollar, right (as he had looked it up in the hotel in Arusha two days ago and confirmed with me so I could calculate the conversion hen needed)”? He said “I don’t know what the conversion rate is”…to which I said, “you told me it was that the other day”…

You can see the problem. Keep in mind we never raise voices at each other, but I was starting to get a bit frustrated. I said how much in US do you think we need? He said he didn’t know (not helpful), I said well what about 400 and then we can just convert it into Kenyan shillings but either way will have enough for a while…then he says, well ATMs usually have a limit…to which I look at him with a face that says, then why ask me what I think if you already know we are limited to a certain amount and you will just get that…

This is actually a common conversation we have- “jme, what do you think”? I say, and then he says no, he thinks otherwise- and then just does that…which I will say is often not “right”. Not that I am right- or want to be right frankly, because if I am it typically means he has to do something over or we are both suffering for the choice, but it is funny how often he “wants” my opinion, if nothing else to justify his direct opposition.

We waited at the restaurant patio for what seemed like an hour or more- I think more…we had given up on the idea of him actually going at all when one of the guys came over and he was so excited to take ME to town, but I shook my head and pointed to Bryan…he was a little less excited but still happy to do it.

This is where Bryan’s adventure story begins as he took off with the young kid:

We wandered down to the street where I discovered there was no actual transport readily available- so I became one of those people waiting on the side of the road. There was a guy there helping flag people down- who stopped a bus, which was so full, it looked like a clown car of people just pressed against each other and the windows. There was literally nowhere for us to fit in there- and so we laughed that the bus even stopped at all- because the roof was the only place left.

The guy looked at me and said, “Maybe no”, and waved them away.

A friend of his (or a total stranger) on a motorcycle with a different friend on the back, stopped- and after going back and forth for a little bit, the passenger got off and the boy turned to me and asked if it was ok if we both got on- leaving the former passenger just standing there.

We rode down the road, not terribly fast, especially as I have my own bike, but there were some good turns. There wasn’t much to hold onto so I held onto the sides of the seat by my legs and somehow we all fit on the seat and the boy I was with went on the rack. It was smooth but the only part that was a little questionable, was going over the speed bumps and off the paved road to the bank.

The ATM was in English but the large numbers of shillings overwhelmed me and in my panic I missed a zero and realized that was NOT enough, but it went through- and I had to do it again. This time i hit the max amount which was 400,000 shillings- about $100- and it was still a giant wad of cash.

We left the bank and came out to discover only the guy with the motorcycle was still there- and after looking around I got back on the bike. This guy spoke no English and that was the best I could do. We drove down the street and off road a bit, until we did come across the boy I was with and he jumped on the back again. We swerved off onto one of the side roads and got off. He asked if i had to get right back or if they could go shopping for food for the chefs for dinner, which was fine with me. He paid the driver and I offered money but he said no- so we walked to an open market down a narrow alley way, with a ton of vendors packed in.

The boy picked out a bunch of vegetables from the first merchant, which they put in a box (instead of using plastic bags here which are “outlawed”). He asked me what I thought about the veggies, which I said looked good and the boy laughed. I tried asking where they grew them, but he didn’t understand what I was asking so I did not find out.

After tying the box up with twine, we walked down another block, he dropped the box in the road and directed me toward a bench- not near the box. Some little kids came by and a little girl gave me a high five. There was a seamstress next door sewing and a barber shop- as well, a tuk tuk went by with a megaphone blasting something and some music. I don’t know if political or religious but it was likely one of them. The speaking sounded intense but the music seemed really upbeat, so it was hard to say.

Someone came and started collecting the boxes that were near our box of veggies and seemed confused about our box. It had also nearly gotten backed over by another car, so I went over and brought it closer to where I was sitting to wait a bit more.

The boy got a big stack of eggs- about 3 dozen per level, and he got 3 or 4 levels- where he grabbed a few boxes lying near the bench and put them in there. After getting all the boxes together, a tuk tuk came along for us- so we could get everything back to the campsite. With all the supplies, there was barely room for us so we had boxes on our laps.

We bounced along to the main road- where we stopped again for bananas where more than 10 women shoved bunches in our face. The boy laughed and tried to read his ledger- maybe to know which vendor to buy from? He then paid one of them and the others stormed off, peeved, they didn’t pick theirs.

The tuk tuk struggled along trying to get back up the hill. When we arrived at the campsite, I helped them unload the goods, which struck them as extremely amusing but they obliged. Surely, most guests don’t offer to help in any way- our helping clear the table each day, definitely stuck Spear and Rasta as unusual, but you could tell they were grateful.

This adventure ended with me giving the boy a 10,000 bill- which he seemed pleased with…which I find good because I am STILL confused about how much money that is! It could have been a month’s worth or 50 cents…I have no idea. 

I went to the patio to join jme again and tell her about the adventure.

Back to jme:

Bryan’s adventure sounded pretty fun and I am sure despite his initial second guessing the effort he was glad to have experienced it all- from not just a tourist point of view.

Now that we had some money, I wanted a drink, so decided on a shot of vodka with juice (which they didn’t have)- so ended up with bitter lemon soda instead. This was kind of like Squirt or something and was very good- I was overall pleased with my choice. Bryan got red wine- which they only sell in a bottle…so no matter what you think of it, you have the whole bottle.

He tried it and made a bit of a face, but drank some. After I finished my drink I had some too- which I don’t usually like dry red wine at all…I had a glass of this throughout dinner.

Dinner was soup with bread, then spaghetti with spicy veggies, some sliced veggie salad, fries and mango and fresh orange for dessert. We both agreed that was probably the best mango we’d ever had- and Bryan said mango was definitely his favorite thing of all to eat. He asked me mine- inserting, “Nachos?”, to which I think I have to agree. I never get sick of them and could eat them all the time!

Bryan had part of this glass of wine left and at least another in the bottle but he said he was going to leave it. I marveled at how I don’t even usually like red wine, and he said, Well, that’s because I am not even sure that was red wine”…

We went back to our tent and pretty much just crashed. Rasta told us brekky was at 830, we’d leave at 9am…we’d get to sleep in!?

 

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