Wednesday - July 12, 2017
Tanzanians don't believe in forks. Only spoons. Out of every meal I've had, none have included forks.
Today's adventure took us to Meserani Snake Park by Dukambovu, about an hour away from Arusha. On the way, I got to observe and take in how pretty everything is. Like how the Dali dali's (buses where you pack a ton of people) are all decorated differently. Some have Pope Francis, others have Muslim girls praying and some even have Usher on it. Take your pick. Many schools on the way had beautiful animal murals that Wynwood can wish it had. The little kids take care of the cattle and walk them on the streets - it's cute to see such a small human hold a stick larger than life, leading animals five times his/her size. I wish I could feed all the dogs here; you can see their ribs when they walk, which is rare because dogs are only used as guardians at night.
Meserani Snake Park is the only place where locals can get antidotes for snake parks for free! Here, tons of snakes that you really wish weren't on your next flight live out of harm's way (for both the people's and the snakes' benefit). Pythons and Mambos are the most dangerous and aggressive snakes. There are no anacondas - the amazon is their home, not Africa. Water snakes are harmless (I'll bring this advice all the way home). Red Spitting Cobras can kill lions and only 20% of all snakes can actually kill humans.
Amongst the sleeping snakes, we also saw tortoises and owls. We held smaller turtles and it peed on one of the girls, which is supposed to be good luck! We also got to hold water snakes and the first one I held got put on my neck by our hostel driver, Joseph. Absolutely grossed out by the thought of it on my neck so when I held it a second time on my arm, I was much more relaxed. Seeing it expand when it breathed was so incredible and simple! Mother Nature, man.
Shopping around the Maasai Market Women Group, we ventured into little huts for different items that were much cheaper here than in town. Gifts galore! Thank you Joseph for bargaining on our behalf in Swahili; I can only say "Shillingapi?" Which means "how much" but I don't even know the numbers to understand their answers.
The Maasai Cultural Museum was the smallest museum I've ever been in but I've got to give it to them - no air conditioning can be solved with a good building. The walls were really cool and I forgot that it was hot in the first place. We learned how the Maasai are nomadic and how much the woman does at home. The men just decide how much cattle each family has and then take "medicine" away from the family. They should move to Amsterdam for the same "medicine" too.
This trip is just making me solidify the fact that women are badasses, in all possible forms that the phrase can take. The Maasai men can have up to eight wives and mom's just pop babies out of nowhere, bring home money with their goods, build the homes and somehow take care of the family. What. Even.
For dinner, the pineapple and cheese sandwich at Empire has been the most American thing I've had so far but I'm going to make the same thing when I get home. So good. Africans also don't believe much in cheese, it's the only time I've seen it.
Our group as a whole is getting much closer! Literally, we fit all 15 of us into an 8 person car. Who needs personal space?