For the last couple of days Jessica has been eating more than me! Yes this is a big deal as I normally finish my plate and then consume her half meal that she typically cannot finish (well she is wee lass). From the flight to now in Tanzania, I've had a general lack of appetite and an unappreciation of food smells. In fact today the food smells were making me feel a little nausea. I blamed this on another bad night's sleep and a general feeling of tiredness. Jess' phone had been sounding off during the night about messages from the Mexican and from Uncle Wayne. They had sent their messages at midnight UK time which meant we received them at 2am Tanzanian time. Additionally, although I had turned the mattress over and placed the thinner side at the bottom of the bed, my bum sat in a part of the ditch AND despite placing my head up to the "absolute" top of the bed, my feet still hung off the bottom of the bed. This morning, I felt I had a big bum. So although Jess had offered to exchange mattresses, I managed to secure us a room change to a much larger bed, a far better mattress, and a nicer room.
Jess and I spent the morning sorting out what we would actually take to Kili, as we were told that each porter could only carry a maximum of 15kg of our gear. In addition, they would also have to carry their own kit to survive the mountain plus anything else if any porter's went down (more in another story)! Thus we ended up leaving a full bag of gear behind. After all the night before leaving the UK, both of us had done last minute packing and that kind of packing often results in too much gear.
15:00: Today was a rest day for the Meru team members to get their laundry done in preparation for Kilimanjaro. None of them were that interested in "going out on the town", so Jess and I decided to exchange some dollars to the local currency (Shillings) and check out the local stores for snacks. As we exited from our hotel road onto the main road, a local called Eddie intercepted us who wanted to sell us some paintings that he had wrapped in brown paper, but neither Jess nor I were going to bite at this time. He chatted to me to find out where we were going and if we knew which way we were going.
TG: "Yes we are going into Arusha town"
Eddie: "Oh if you want to go to town it is left"
Darn - found out! Jess and I had started walking in the wrong direction and Eddie had corrected us. He would now be rewarded with a chance to sell himself further.
We went into the first supermarket along the road and as it was near the hotels it had tourist prices, thus we decided to find another supermarket. Really this was the "girl" in me saying I had to look at all the supermarkets and their prices before I actually bought anything! After all we had time to kill. Eddie had waited for us outside the shop and at this point he decided to be our guide warning us that we should not walk along this stretch of road at night by ourselves. (This would later be confirmed by the hotel receptionist). Below is a little tour of Arusha town.
We were late, and quickly entered into the hotel, to find the rest of the team members organised around a table waiting for us and the guides from Team Kilimanjaro. They soon arrived and the faces of the group dropped when they saw Felix (the Meru guide they were not happy with) enter. The mood of the group changed to a mixture of emotions. Frederick (or Freddy) was to be our lead guide and Felix would be his senior assistant guide. As both Freddy and Felix briefed us on expectations and checked Jackie's sprained ankle (that was rapidly healing due to Anne's care), members of the team decided that what ever happend on Meru would be left on Meru and forgotten. After all everyone deserves a second chance to prove themselves.
We were already told that Freddy was Team Kilimanjaro's best, and he would quickly show himself to be an excellent guide/co-ordinator of our team as well as for the team of porters, guides and cooks that would support us up the mountain. Felix would ensure he did not make the same errors and would prove to be a really good assistant guide to Freddy.
Tomorrow our journey up Kili started and I hoped for a better night's sleep.
Next installment will be written up by 17th October