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Marangu and Dar Es Salam (the first time)

Dar es Salam

We left Mto Wa Mbu after lunch and drove to this really pretty quaint hotel in Marangu. Sometimes you get a real nice view of Mt Kilimanjaro from there but it was cloudy by late afternoon when we got there. Duties had been given out and after setting up tents I was on "chop chop" which meant my group was cutting up veggies and assisting our cook.
The hotel/campground had a fun little bar that our whole group eventually migrated to and we had a great time drinking and chatting it up while we waited for dinner. After dinner we did get some rain but it didn't mess things up since most of us headed to bed early for the LONG drive we would have the next day.

Thom (along with Steve and Paul) returned to the bar after dinner where he met three locals. One was a restaurateur, an older gentleman of Swiss descent married to an African who was traveling "overseas". Another lady was of Belgian descent, an expat now residing in Tanzania that lives "around the corner". And the last, a regal looking woman who as it turned out is the Queen of the local tribe. Her father was the king and when he died (at 105!!!) she took her right place. As we talked she disclosed that she was married to an American - an American that lived in Woodbridge NJ and had once lived in COLLINGSWOOD!!!! A small world indeed... Thom stayed out too late but had a great time.

I think we woke at some ungodly hour of 4:00 or 4:30 to break tent and have breakfast. It could be anything from a 10-13 hour drive to Dar es Salam.

So it was kind of a boring day on the truck.
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We have pictures from traveling on the truck that I am going to insert into this post although to be honest I have no idea where they were taken because Thom was taking them with his phone and I was probably sleeping or listening to "This American Life" Podcasts.

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But here is a little taste of some of the prettier parts of the road:
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We did get a flat and the guys were able to change it rather quickly considering what a monster of a vehicle this thing is. We had a bush lunch which means we stopped at a site on the way and Henry, our cook made us lunch. I had forgotten how much I loved seeing the small children from towns and villages along the way yell out and wave as you pass through. It happens all over and it doesn't seem to get old for me as it reminds me to smile more.

Dar Es Salam is the second largest city in Tanzania. Our camp was on the beach but unfortunately we had to drive through the center of the city to get to it. It was after dark when we got there and since it is Ramadan and this is a mostly Muslim city the streets and night markets were absolutely packed with people buying food and breaking their fasts. This also added extra time.
This was the beginning of the insane traffic while it was still light out so I'd say this was around 5:00-5:30 perhaps.

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We didn't get there until 9:00 maybe??? UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
When we finally got to the site it was late and Thom and I felt so disorganized with our stuff, we chose to upgrade and took shelter in a room where we , after prepping dinner were able to pass on dinner, organize our luggage, take a shower and drink ourselves to sleep...

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While not the best picture do to lighting we had our own hot shower downstairs in this bungalow and a balcony out our bedroom upstairs with a table and chairs to drink with my new girlfriends for the trip (Christine from Florida and Nancy from Australia) where we started the "Red Wine Club for Italian Ladies." The club consisted of each of us buying and stocking up on bottles of some kind of South African Red wine every time we went to a grocery store so that the three of us could spilt one each night or so with dinner. My kind of ladies! They definitely helped make this trip and the rough times in between the good a lot better and I am thankful for meeting them! (not just because of the wine...ha ha ha!)
Tomorrow we're off to Zanzibar!

Posted by Kelly Rose 14:07 Archived in Tanzania

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Small world indeed! Make new friends, but keep the old; some are silver and the others gold. What a marvelous diversity of friends and acquaintances you have. Heartfelt treasures to be sure. Enjoy - and keep in touch. Mom and Dad

by Mom and Dad McLaughlin

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