African Adventure: Hapana Asante
Day 2 - July 11, 2017 Surprise surprise it's winter here in Arusha, Tanzania which means this Miami girl woke up and had to go outside in a sweater. Lucky for my ego, I wasn't the only one. With a cloudy day, we started breakfast: a really thin, sweet pancake with peanut butter. Didn't think much of it but it was surprisingly filling. Looking forward to it tomorrow morning! After an orientation session and a mini-Swahili lecture, we started discussing what is animal conservation. Should national parks be for people to see animals or only for the animals? Animal conservation means the preservation and survival of several species and trying to keep them in the wild for as long as possible - putting them in a zoo is more of a last resort solution. Class was over and we headed out to town! With a bunch of dirt on the street and the best gym mural I've ever seen, we all got in a Dali Dali (mini bus) and lost count about how many people we fit in. Town was like an African version of New York - everyone is on the street selling things but no one is running from the cops. It's hard to even look at the things because if I'm just looking, the sellers start bothering you about buying it. I guess it's time to learn how to bargain.
We ate at a barbecue place (no one seems to remember the name) in the financial district area of Arusha. Sausage, avocado and salt = favorite thing I've had here so far. We ordered several plates so everyone pick out food and had to eat them all with toothpicks off each other's plates. Talk about getting real comfortable with each other, real quick. Exchanging money, getting SIM cards and using the choo (toilet), we got bombarded by seven different painting vendors. Ended up getting two for 10,000 and 15,000 shillings, respectively, which is about $4-7. Have to start bringing back souvenirs, you know? Learned how to say hapana asante (no thank you) real quick to get the buyers off our backs. One even got mad that I was just looking at necklaces and didn't buy any. We ventured into a grocery store to find it all about half empty. So much for my ice cream craving. Back at the hostel, a bit more Swahili and a two hour, drool worthy nap, a local group performed for us at night. They set up a campfire and their instruments and proceeded to blow my mind. I could kind of pick up that the first song said "Welcome Americans." The rest didn't matter that I didn't know the words - their dance moves were the African version of Samba and Salsa so I felt right at home. They are fire and did a few stunts and got a million claps out of the rest of us. At one point they pulled us up onto their grassy stage to do a sort of Conga line and then that circle you form in your middle school dances that spotlight each person one at a time. I can only imagine how strong these people are by judging their moves and stamina. 10000% props!
(Bad quality picture, great quality entertainment)
Bonus tip: they sang Guantanamera and my heart flew a few miles. It was only the chorus but still... yo soy un hombre sincero, de donde vienen las palmas... Dinner consisted of a cooked banana, fruit, rice, plantains and chicken. I'm probably going to lose weight here but it was so good, I'm happily satisfied. Working my way through my second Safari Beer here in 66 degrees on Tuesday night.
The hostel cats, 50 Cent and Obama, chose my lap to nap on and I feel like the chosen one from the African cat gods.
I can see why people love it here. Day two and I can feel myself falling for it.