I climbed a mountain and I looked around… Part 2

11 Oct

My father has always been a VERY conservative driver.  When we were kids we used to joke and say that nuns passed up.  On a regular basis Smart Alecs would “row” by our vehicle as Dad confidently drove at least 20 km’s below the speed limit on the highway.  Prior to heading out he would (and still does) check the tire pressure, oil, etc.  On top of being conservative in his pedal pressure Dad always takes back roads which are often dirt.  When he drives on a dirt road he is very considerate of his vehicle – he drives slow enough that he can avoid hitting most potholes.   Every time I was in a vehicle in Tanzania I thought of my father and how every driver I had defied every “rule of the road” my Dad follows.  The bus which picked me up at the airport took a detour to drop off a female tour guide at her home.  The road we took literally had the largest potholes I have seen and as well had “speed bumps” which looked to me like logs laid across the road with mud  packed around them.  Our driver hit that dirt road like he was Mario Andretti – less the race car.  Any thought you ever had of catching a nap after flying 24 hours was quickly gone out the window. The ride was similar to riding a mechanical bull at the Calgary Stampede. We dropped off our passenger at her home and made our way back to the main road. 
After doing my climb I went on a 3 day safari with 3 other gals.  Our guide was Emmanuel and imagine the fact that he does some kind of car racing on the side.  Our vehicle for the purpose of the safari was a Toyota Land Cruiser.  The safari involved a lot of driving on various forms of roads – paved, not paved, off road, etc.   It was our first time being on safari so everything was exciting and new.  For Emmanuel he had done it 100 times over so I think he sought excitement from the driving end of things, not by seeing an elephant standing with his penis hanging out.  The Land Cruiser only had seat belts in the front (where we weren’t sitting), so we were left to bounce and jostle around in the back.   I didn’t contact the Department of Transportation prior to hitting the roads; but it seems to me that the rules are made up as you go.  One of the national parks we went to was called Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  In order to get to the crater we needed to drive up the side of a mountain, all along the edge of the crater and finally down into the park.  The dirt road was something similar to OJ Simpsons story – there were holes everywhere. Let’s just say Emmanuel didn’t use the same precautions that my father did while driving on the that road.  We were driving so fast and bouncing so much that I think I got whip lash from my boobs hitting my chin – I need to wear at least 2 bras to do jumping jacks… I wasn’t prepared for all of this flopping.  As we burned along the dirt road we would come across members of the Mosai tribe walking with their herds of cows.  Cows are particularly important to the Mosai tribe as the size of the herd indicates how many wives the owner can have.  It seems Emmanuel didn’t want the owners to get another wife because he would burn right up to the herd and then slam on the brakes nearly hitting the cows.  I am more of a precautionary driver… you know if I was to come a long a herd of cows on the road in front of me I would slowly put on the brakes. I was holding onto bars on the roof in an effort to brace the bumps – that didn’t work and I think I broke my cervix as I felt like I had given birth the next day.
After the safari I needed to be delivered to the airport, buttttttt, we spent a little too long bartering at a shop, a few too many animals crossed the road and we hit rush hour in Arusha, so we were running late. ***I am usually pretty laid back about the whole timing of getting to the airport and sometimes like the drama of being late. I have always dreamed of being carried on one the 5 wheelers through the airport… beeping the horn and having people get out of the way while my hair blows.** I kid. Everything seemed to be further away than initially thought so I was worried about getting to the airport. Entry race car driver Emmanuel. It was starting to get dark as we got to the outskirts of Arusha so that made everything even anxiety filled for me. Although the roads have a centre line it seems you can pass, swerve, or drive beside anyone as you wish. Now it was dark with no street lights. Along the HIGHWAY (not a street or even a road) there were people walking everywhere in the dark, bicycles, motorcycles criss-crossing through traffic, buses with crazy exhaust… and us. Emmanuel drove 100 km an hour throughout all of this chaos – swerving in and out, headlights coming straight at us and a big piece of a bus flew off the side and went across the road. If a doctor had followed some of my vitals during the last hour of my trip they may have predicted that I was about to have a stroke. As in the last post I suggested that I thought I was going to shit myself when coming down the mountain – well this day ended in the same way….


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