More about paradise

I just read an email from my dad in which he told me, while he understood my feelings, that I sound a bit paranoid about impending doom in my blog posts. While I don't necessarily truly think I'm going to die here, it's on my mind often, and I just happen to express it to you. So, don't' worry, the altitude hasn't done any permanent damage. I do, truly, breathe a sigh of relief every time I get off of public transport. I don't worry the slightest about being mugged, or violent crime, or being eaten by a lion, but if you have ever experienced transportation in a third world country, you understand. It is actually a leading cause of death in Tanzania. And you see burning bus wrecks on the news every night where 26 people have died, then you get into a crowded dalla-dalla and think that this could be it. But, just to reassure you all, I'm pretty sure I haven't lived through all the things in my life to die on a dalla-dalla in Africa. Although my friend said that actually, no one would remember that I died on a dalla dalla, just that I died in Africa helping people, and that was a pretty noble way to die. Great. There goes that reassurance. Kidding, kidding....these are the jokes, folks.

Anyway, I decided that GSC doesn't deserve my internet time until I get home, so here I am writing again. I'm trying to get something out before Sam comes down for breakfast.

So, Pangani...

After paying our cab driver an extra 2000 shilingi to get us to a reliable and safe bus, we settled in for our 7 hour bus ride. Since I can't read in cars cause it makes me sick, I mostly listened to my iPod and stared out the window. What an incredible, incredible view. We drove first through the North Pare mountains, and then the South Pare mountains, and then through the Usumbara mountains. The 7 hours actually flew by quite quickly. We only stopped once to use a bathroom, adn the bus' horns went off while I was still washing my hands, so it was a really quick stop. I had brought along some vitumbua (delicious rice pastries) and Nutella to eat along the way, but also took advantage of the vendors that display their wares at each bus stop. the bus probably stops 20 or more times on the way. SO every once in a while I'd buy an orange, already peeled, from a boy out the window, or a bottle of maji baridi. It was a nice ride. Our bus left Arusha at almost 10:30 am, and we arrived in Tanga, on the coast, around 5. I was thrilled as the bus headed south to feel the air getting warmer, to see the palm trees take over, and to know that soon I'd be on the Indian Ocean. When we got to the bus station in Tanga, it was another 10 minute battle to find a cab to take us the remaining 20 or 30 k to Peponi Beach Resort, which is just north of Pangani. The dalla-dallas had stopped running to Pangani already, and the swarm of cabbies were telling us 30-40000 shilingi for the ride. We got a guy to agree to 20000. I'm pretty sure he was just a guy with a car and a buddy. They drove around and got gas, then met up with some guys at a corner, argued with them for a minute (while we waited inside, and I asked "kuna shida?" is there a problem? But they finished their exchange and took a tire from the man's trunk and put it in ours. Hmm. Okay. About 20 minutes alter I knew why they did that. We drove down by far the worst road we have driven yet. It was hilarious. Our heads were actually hitting the ceiling, and I can' say how often we bottomed out. About an hour and a half later, around 7, we made it to Peponi.

Oh. My. God. Paradise. It was dark by then, but the moon was almost full so it seemed like dawn. Everything had a blue glow. We checked in, and ordered dinner from the restaurant. Outdoors, sand floor, thatched roof, wonderful. We checked into our banda. It was exactly what I was hoping for. I can't describe it really, without photos. It was paradise. That's it. We walked to the beach (maybe 50 meters from our banda) and just stared. There was the Indian Ocean, lit by the moon, a lone dhow undulating in the water just offshore. The tide was out, and it seemed like you could walk to India. It was amazing....

I have to check out of our hotel now, and I better make sure Sam is awake. I'll finish this later, possibly after I return home, but hopefully before. I've been trying to capture as much as I can in my gurnal (heh heh...) so I can write about it on the blog later. Kwaheri!
Below is my imitation of a Corona commercial, but with a pineapple Fanta, dhows at sand island, our banda from the path to the beach, the restaurant, and the view looking up.

6 Responses on "More about paradise"

  1. Becca says:

    Herro!

    I totally understand the impending death and doom whatnot. If it makes you feel any better... I'm pretty sure "transportation" is a leading cause of death in the states. (:

    Let the rainbows and kittens continue!

    Becca (can't WAIT to see pics)

    Longtime reader, first time commenter.

    I would like to request a different color scheme for your blog. Reading the white print on the black background is making me dizzy (ok, dizzier than usual).

    Love the stories, though. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    -joe

    Aisha says:

    Hi Kate:

    I am very late to your blog game, but am enjoying reading your posts. Who knows, you may be back in the U.S. by now. Anyways, your thoughts and reflections are beautiful. You should REALLY consider turning this into some type of book. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes it to Oprah :) Can't wait to talk to you! Take care of yourself.

    Connie says:

    Kate (& Sam) I just got caught up today from the last week or so's worth of posts. I cannot wait to see your pics.

    It sounds like you had a wonderful and rewarding time.

    Love
    Con

    I always wondered where paradise might be... although I've suspected it was somewhere in Africa. Glad you found it (I'm marking my world map accordingly).

    FYI -- today is my last day at the Lab! I got a new job doing social work... so I won't see you here when you return, but I'm still all about the wedding poster. I'll keep in touch... enjoy the rest of your trip! -- Theresa

    katie mcg says:

    Sounds incredibly romantic and wonderful, even with the added zip of life threatening public transport.

    Hurry back. We need some exotica in our Wednesday evening meetings.

    Love,
    K