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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 26 Apr 2009

Location: Arusha, Tanzania

MapApril 26th

Weíve been in Arusha for two days now and Pola and I are considering heading to Nairobi a few days early. With the world economy the way it is, the tourist trade is not doing well and so many of the locals have been laid off from their already low-paying jobs. There are safari companies that arenít even operating right now. This creates an atmosphere of aggressive, somewhat desperate people. You canít walk into the downtown area without being swarmed by vendors who just wonít leave you alone. Itís worse than Mexico! We were told the crime rate is very high and muggings are quite common. We had walked home up a quiet street yesterday and today found out that that area is especially dangerous; it looked quite serene and safe to us!
Last night we had an episode that made a couple of the girls nervous. I had remembered going to a place for dinner on my 2006 trip and wanted to take the girls there for dinner this time. It was a place that a lot of the ex-pats go to. We got dropped off by our cab only to find out that it wasnít the place and was in fact a menís club. We asked around and found out that the place was probably called the Massai Club and thought it was close enough to walk. It was dark and quite intimidating walking in this rural area. After five minutes we decided to call a cab and found our cell wouldnít work. A local man said he would get us one and disappeared across the road into the darkness. He showed up minutes later in taxi with another man so we hopped in and gave him instructions. We drove further out of town along a deserted road and finally into a gated dark compound. It wasnít looking familiar and when I looked in the back, the girls didnít look too happy. Liz and I felt obligated to check it out and walked through a crowd of men on the pathway into the building. We quickly decided it wasnít a place for Ďmzunguí women and asked the driver to take us back to town to a newer hotel to have our dinner. We talked about it later and realized that it wasnít smart of us to get into the car in the first place.
One of the things we had thought we would do in Arusha was to volunteer at an Orphanage that I had volunteered at in 2006. We were all feeling a little burnt out from all of our experiences on the trip so far and werenít all that enthusiastic about the idea any more. We still had items to give away so were happy when Liz met up with a reverend and his family who were heading to an orphanage that very morning. We were able to unload everything with him to deliver and that left us with a little bit more space in our suitcases soÖÖ
We went shopping!!! We found a great little market that sells a lot of Massai crafts and other things unique to Tanzania. We couldnít buy much in Kahama besides fabric; since tourists donít go there, thereís no market. We e happy to have the opportunity to grab a few more souvenirs and spent the day haggling and negotiating prices. That night we ate an Ethiopian place and I decided that I donít really like Ethipian food.
Pola and I purchased our tickets for Nairobi and went home to packÖ.we have to be at the bus by 7:30am. Our room looks like a Chinese laundry. We washed all of our clothes in buckets the day before and strung up four clotheslines, criss-crossing throughout our room. Itís so damp here that we arenít optimistic that they will dry before we leave tomorrow. We said our good-byes to Liz and Wanda who will follow the day after us.