|By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-239-147.balt.east.verizon.net - 220.127.116.11) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 6:30 pm: Edit Post|
Kevin Tice in Cameroon
Kevin Tice in Cameroon
Oh goodness gracious, have I got some stories for you all. Right at this moment, I'm sitting in an air-conditioned internet cafe in Stone Town, Zanzibar Island, Tanzania. It's now day 14 of my trip, which will consist of eating grilled squid/shrimp/tuna (this is their "street food" that they sell on the side of the road) and then boarding a cargo ship tonight for the mainland, getting to Dar es Salaam in the morning, then a hop skip and a jump to Nairobi, Kenya to fly down to South Africa.....but that's the future; let's type about the past, yes?
Welp, it all started in Nairobi where a nice taximan helped us find a bus to Arusha, Tanzania that day. While we waited for the bus to go, we decided to chill out at a bar....which was our first notice of how different central Africa is from the west: not as many bars, no kids selling things on their heads (at least where we were), people did not shout, "WHITE!! WHITE!!! AHGHGGHGH!!" at us, being polite (a waitress actually said, "Mornings" to us and also made a joke...I had forgotten what customer service was...again). So everything went smoothly, which was very unusual for us, and we arrived in Arusha that evening. And once again, there were taximen waiting to escort us to a hotel. I guess we had "I would like to go ona safari and then climb Mt. Kilimanjaro" stamped on our foreheads or something...or Tanzanians actually know how to cater to tourists. We booked our 4-day safari and 5-day climb at the hotel, next morning we were off to Lake Manyara Nat'l Park. Super!
Yes, the Safari. We ended up being in a car with a guide, a cook, a 38-year old German therapist (Torstene), and a 35 yr old insane German alcoholic (Goonta). The Germans didn't know each other before that morning, by the way. Before we left the quite modernized Arusha, we stopped at a huge supermarket and Ajmal and I basically freaked out. Our mission was to buy bottled water for the trip, and even that was confusing. One isle had ten different types of ketchup...I almost cried. Mind you, there is a Peace Corps Tanzania and their training is in this town....lucky punks.
Anyway, after the supermarket thing, I casually asked Gunta (who had bought only Cognagi liquor, and a box of wine..no water) what "he does". Keep in mind I just met him and had not seen his drinking capabilities. He tells me he's an artist.
"Oh really? what type?" I ask."
"Wellll, it's hard to explain" (Gunta is now smiling a huge smile and his bald head is red)
"Oh (pause)..okay." And I change the subject to lions or something. Yes, first impression of Gunta: Imagine a tall skinny man who looks like Freddy Krugar but talks really gentle like and is very friendly in a psychotic way.
Anyway, we arrive in the Lake Manyara Park and set up camp. Very nice place, tents already there, showers, overlooking the lake. The cook makes us veggie sandwiches, Gunta pours us some wine and we chill. No problem. Then we go down to the park. It's amazing. Babboons on the side of the road just chillin' out. Then we see warthogs, giraffes, elephants (one with five legs!), zebras, impalas, two male lions, one female, and a crapload of birds. I could've been satisfied right there. But it's only day one!
Well, that night we eat an excellent meal, drink a Safari Lager (how cute), and talk. After the meal we go to a little porch type of thing overlooking the lake, agreeing that we should have a drink to toast the trip. Nice. Well, unbeknownst to us, Gunta is completely wasted from drinking his liquor all day. Whoops. But we're laughing at his jokes and all is good. Then Torstene says some joke and Gunta gives him the ol' "ha, that's a good one" punch on the shoulder...except it's ten time more powerful and torstene's drink spills on him. We stop laughing. And the german language comes out. Ajmal and I sit there not saying a word. But minutes pass and all is well, Torstene forgives and forgets...until Gunta (for absolutely no reason) kicks Torstene. Once again, German. Ajmal and I go and look at the stars. Minutes later Torstene comes over and discusses how he's afraid to sleep in the same tent with Gunta and how he doesn't want to work on his vacation (being a therapist and al). We then hear Gunta crying. Whoa. Major problems. We all go to bed.
The next morning we get up and Gunta doesn't remember anything. Oh well. So we eat breakfast (Gunta drinks his) and we set off for Serengeti Nat'l Park. We had to stop at the Ngorongoro Crater first to talk to someone there, so before we got there, the two Germans are arguing about the night before, but Gunta is more like laughing about it...already wasted (9am).
And here's the craziest part: At the crater, Gunta needs to (once again) use the bathroom. At this point, we are getting worried that this trip is going to be a disaster now due to insane drunk man. Well, Gunta comes out of the bathroom and says, "give me my bag...I have to change clothes" and a nasty odor is coming from him. He leaves his shoes there, goes to to shower and that's when we realize-
Gunta has crapped in his pants.
It was a bit unbelievable at first that one could do that, but we were believers when we saw the crap on his shoes. Luckily I had my wits about me and told Ajmal to capture this moment on digital film....the pic is coming soon to your emails, fear not. And this really freaked out the cook and the guide and we convinced them to leave poop man at the crater camp site while we went to Serengeti, regrouping on day four for the crater. Cool. We're off and the jokes begin for the next two days.
Serengeti was amazing. We were surrounded by about ten thousand zebras/wildabeest, saw 26 elephants at once, two cheetahs, about 5 lions, a leopard (almost impossible to find), hyenas, giraffes, etc....basically everything. It was awesome and I totally recommend taking this safari if you have the time. The bad part was my battery ran out of my camera(with zoom lens) RIGHT when we see the lions and we're surrounded by zebras. But I thought, hey, I'm sure these other safari people in other cars are more prepared than me and may have some batteries! So we stop this car full of Italians and the conversation went something like this:
K: Hey, how's it going? Do you have a camera like this?
Italians: TWO CHEEEEETAHS!! TWO CHEEEEETAHS!
K: Oh really? Cool! But I need some batteries for my....
I: TWO CHEEEETAHS! TEN BAAABIES!!!!
And then they drove off. Dang Italians. Fortunately I came upon two Americans and one had some, so I got to take a picture of the leopard up close, just not the cheetahs. Poor me, huh?
At the crater we were fortunate to see a rhino and many buffalo/zebras/wildabeest. IT was more of the same, which was kinda funny at times....oh, there's another elephant (yawn). Oh look, a hundred buffalo....meanwhile Gunta had run out of money and alcohol and was pissy the whole day. When we finally drove back to Arusha (oh, the car broke down a few times), Gunta found the six pack of beer I had bought the night before but did not drink and his face lit up as if he won the lottery. He asked me if he could have one and I said sure....what am I gonna do, say no to an insane-pooping-in-his-pants boy? I don't think so.
And there ya go: Our safari adventure. Sure, there's other stuff during those days, but this email is way too long, so I hope you made it this far. My next installment will be the 5-day climb....here's a teaser: On day three I was leaning against a lava rock in a place that looked like it was a scene from Super Mario Bros. Barfing. Did we summit? Did Ajmal's bad back get worse, forcing me to give him a piggy back ride to the top? Stay tuned....
Kevin, apparently looking like an Israelite, but luckily with an Afghani-American