Banana beer time . . .
Breakfast at 7.30, packed and we piled into the truck after meeting the next two newbies-mariko and kristina.
So we had two six seater safari vans so singles in one, couples in the other. I sat on the back left seat, next to david, a canadian.
David had done the kilimanjaro summit the night before us and had done it in the blizzard that had left all the snow that we had trekked through, so he didn't have ridicuously deep snow to plough through. But he had been serverly wind burnt on his face which the day before he met us was all p**** blisters, but now is lots of dry flakey skin. David does a lot of charity runs and promotes the fact and rubs it in our faces that he is a do-gooder by wearing the charity run t-shirts everyday. Good on him as I don't have it in me to raise money for charities.
Stephan sits in front, with kristina another canadian, to the right who has finished her maths degree and has just come from zanzibar where she was doing volunteer work in an orphanage, aren't they all just good clever people on this trip!
Infront of kristina is mariko, a lawyer who has been everywhere in the world and done many safaris before. Mariko is living in london but visits sri lanka a lot as her parentals live there. It turns out when she arrived at the hotel she was told they were full and took her to a different hotel, which meant she didn't get much sleep, but I was releaved as I thought maybe I had locked her out the room by being fast asleep and when I woke up at. 2am not to find her there with my ipod still on I though I mighta beeen to blame, but I wasn't.
Next to mariko at the front was olic, who is german. Who has left his wife at home and come away as she couldn't get the time off work, plus it wasn't her thing.
So we set off and made our way to twenga campsite, which stands for giraffe, check me out! On route we discussed how it is illegal but in tanzania if you kill an albino it is considered as good luck. And how the africans can't tell if a white person is albino or not! Not racist in the slightest! So we had conversations of the like.
Upon arrival at the campsite we dumped our stuff, I'm sharing with mariko.
We set off with our 3guides for a tour of the local village. So we turned right out the campsite and were walking on the path that was split into two for a cycle and pedestrain, then separating the road from the path was a big ditch like drain thing going about 1.5meters deep and about the same wide with the occasional wood planked bridge to access the road. As we were a big group walking along we were in small groups taking up the pedestrain and cycle path, a cyclist, well a very eldery thin frail man on a rusty antique bike was passing by us on the right, so people were shouting judy watch out, so she looked behind and kinda swayed from each side decidsing which side to move to, as she did so the guy kinda had one foot on thew ground an was wobbling a lot with him going so slow, and it happened so slowly, as if the guy was doing it for effect and tumbled off the bike where he just managed to hit the plank bridge thing and judy in the shoulder. My amusement woulda been enormously enhanced if he had fallen into the ditch. I thought he was going to spring back up as it was such a controlled if not purpose fall, but he had whacked his knee on a nail that was keeping the planks together.
People whipped out their first aid kits and he got cleaned up and we were on our way. We arrived at the rice field, where we get educated about rice facts, which are amiss from my brain 3weeks later, ill scratch up on it later and pop it on my to google list.
We walked out the rice fields and across the road to where the locals where making the wood carvings which get bought and took elsewhere to be sold. On the way I stopped and sat on a pile of rocks where the guide had seen a black mamba crawl under, but I didn't believe him at the time, just thought he was winding me up, but it turns out it was in actual fact very very true.
The way the carvings are described is that they have dreams, and they carve their dreams by working with the wood.
I however have slight doubts in this as the carvings tend to all be bowls with giraffes etc carved, ands the masai figures either singular or in a concoction of a shape, carvings of the animals, candle holders, placemats etc but it is all the same everywhere you go. Not that they are bad, it takes skill I just don't believe they dream up new ideas, just dream about carving as they do it everyday.
So we has an explanation of how the houses are built, it takes about 10years to build as they built bit by bit as and when they get the money.
We walked past the church services getting the different trees pointed out to us with the fruits that they grow.
I'm then shouting banana beer time as we walk through banana plantations, sunflower gardens, corn fiellds, getting very excited for banana beer. The whole group knows I love bananas so the idea of banana tasting beer will be fabulous. Well folks, we looked inside the hut where the bananas ferment, they are in rusty tin barrels, the bananas are black with flies everywhere. We sit on a bench which I nearly fall off and we get and introduction. Each family makes there own banana beer which has millet added to it, and when they are arranging the marriages the guy takes banana beer over to the family and if they like it he buys the girl for less cows than if they don't like it.
The beer gets passed round in a big plastic beaker and we all take turns blowing the millet on the top to the side and taking a swig. I'm near the end of the line and after I take a swig I jump up laughing saying its disgusting, which sets farhini off in fits of giggles since I'd been going on all morning about banana beer. It tastes nothing like bananas, and the kids drink, pregnant women drink it as its about 2% alcohol.
We arrive at a little shelter where we are cooked the local food, which was amazing. We had aubergines in a tomato sauce, grilled plantain, spinach, kidney beans, chapati, a bright red hot sauce, cabbage, rice and meat dishes. But I had 3 helpings it was so good, then we had an amazing array of fruit to dig into, red bananas being amongst them, umm yum yum.
We popped back in the car and headed to lake manyara.
Just befoe the gate were a few baboons, once in we saw baboons, blue balled monkeys, elephants, hippos, gazelles, zebras, buffalo. It was very close with all the trees so you could only see a few meters to either side of the road.
Back at the camp we showered, had tea, the usual stuff of soup to begin, veg dish, meat dish and a carb of rice, potato or spagetti, I can't quite remember, but dessert was a battered fried banana with honey, which people were impressed by., we had had them up kili but noone else ate them but me, bonus for me though!
Earlish night as there was no camp fire. On the way to bed I had a nice natter to kristina and once in the tent had a chat with mariko before bed. They are lovely girls and its nice to have them join for the safari part.xx