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Tanzania Trip Report (Jen Bertoni's sister)

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This is Jen Bertoni's sister continuing on with the trip report in Tanzania...

Feb 21st
Where do I start? The good, the great, or the wonderful? I can’t believe Jen left me last night. But I’m so happy Jarred has joined me. I’m in my dreamland at the moment at a place called Makoa Farm. My poor sister couldn’t handle the roughin it, camping out, all that stuff, and here we are in this amazing place. The best place I have ever been in my life. The first thing I saw upon arrival was a bunny/guinea pig area. We were then taken to our room, which was anything but roughing it. Everything we needed was in our room. Next, I saw the pigs walking around, big ones, little ones, dirty ones, and fat ones that are so fat they could barely walk. On top of all that they had a few wart hogs, which I have learned are in my top 3 of favorite animals. Who has wart hogs??? And they even have a mongoose area. I feel like this place was made for me. The horses wander around freely and the monkey that wears a diaper was climbing on Jarred and I today. Dinner was wonderful and we had as much wine as we wanted. JB just came in to inform me that we are horseback riding tomorrow and then going to hot springs. I wish I could bring this place back to California with me. Sigh…
For the first time since I have been in Africa I talked to other foreigners. Kenya didn’t have any tourists for us to talk to. A lot of the people here are researchers and what not. They had some funny stories. I asked one person what the Africans think of so many foreigners coming to their country and paying ridiculous amounts of money to see animals. In their language they don’t have a word for animal, everything is described as either good meat or bad meat. Anyways, he told me of a researcher who did a survey in Rwanda. She asked the local people what they thought about all these tourists coming in to see gorillas and the local people said that they knew no one was really watching gorillas. They knew that everyone was really going in the mountains to get diamonds, and that was why all the white people were so rich. But that was that, and the Africans didn’t care so much. One of the men was a guide. I asked him if all the stops my guide did in Kenya was because he was getting a commission on everything we bought. Guess what Jen! He said they definitely get commission. But the Massai women, well, that’s just the Massai women.

Everyone is asking me and JB where we are going. I feel so stupid not knowing anything about Tanzania. I had depended on Jen to know everything about our itinerary but she left me for America. I have done no research on what I am getting myself into. But I like surprises.

Feb 22nd
Last night was topped off with a cat sneaking into our room and sleeping with us. Jarred woke up and screamed when something furry started biting his feet in the middle of the night. And mind you this is after a 20 minute conversation at dinner with everyone talking about how rabies are out of control over here. When he found out it was a cat he woke me up. I was not surprised, just pleased. But after going back to sleep and waking up an hour later I realized that it was kinda strange a cat came into our room. I thought it was a joke from God because I know Jen would have loved it so much. I told the cat to come back again and bring her friends, but JB is acting like my dad and said there is a 1 cat per night limit.
Today we went horseback riding. It was alright, I just hate group trail rides, especially when there is a shitty rider to bring the group down (Jarred). Basically, he just sat on his horse and the guide towed him, holding his horse by a leash. The others would go off cantering, but everyone assumed I wanted to stick with my friend.
After an hour of riding we went off to the hot springs, which weren’t really hot, but still beautiful and refreshing. Everyone went in, and of course JB had to do the typical, obnoxious, American thing and do some jump off a tree cannon ball, dive into the pool with a loud scream. All the people seem to love him here though. He’s got that jolly, friendly personality going on.
I saw a duck have sex today. Have you ever seen a duck’s penis? It looks like a pink curly French fry.

I hope cats come into my room tonight.

Feb 23rd
Today was spent horseback riding, and playing with monkeys and pigs. Tomorrow we go to some village and watch people dance around a fire. I will miss Makoa Farm, my heaven.

Feb 24th
I can’t believe I only have 10 more days left. I’m not sure what factors have led to everything speeding up. It would be easy to say that it’s because Jen, the downer, left. But everything is different in Tanzania. This county is beautiful, I feel completely safe here, my guide Raymond is the best African I have met so far, and my tent has a shower and bathroom in it. We are staying at a camp called Whistling Thorn. It's luxury compared to the tents me and Jen experienced in Kenya. I wouldn’t mind buying some land in California and just living in this kind of tent.

We drove with Ray to some Masai village. It was pretty lame. They showed us some hut in which they live, however it was so dark inside, I couldn’t see much except their fire. As I am learning more and more about these Masai people I get really annoyed by them. We walked to 5 different villages because they wanted more money to show us their huts.

I love that Ray knows American slang and can joke with me and Jarred. I now realize how much my guide in Kenya sucked. He seemed pretty good since all I could compare him to was the horrible guide in Rwanda. But now I know why some people tip big. This guy is amazing. So far I am very pleased with Access2Tanzania.

We all played some soccer at the campsite today. They think I’ve got great talent. It’s funny how these people in other countries that I go to always think girls can’t play any sport. One of the men named Ima, who works at the camp, started talking to me about his whole life. He invited me on a night walk tonight. I said I would go, assuming JB would come along. Later JB told me I need to be careful with these men because I naturally flirt and I don’t realize I do it. Therefore, tonight I just acted like the beer made me too tired to do anything and I went to bed early.

I guess tomorrow is the fire dancing. I thought it was tonight. I wonder if I tip the men in their little animal skin thongs?

JB is replacing Jen in that he sleeps with the knives now.

Feb 25th
Today we drove to Tarangire from our campsite and saw 2 leopards. Jen is probably jealous. She is probably jealous that I have a normal toilet in my tent too. And a shower.

JB screamed when a scorpion popped up next to his head. I had to take care of things and get it out of our tent. It’s funny how he is really Jen’s replacement.

We went on a bush walk. We saw some zebras, wildebeests, ostriches, and gazelles. I asked the masai man that was leading us if we could go to the ostriches. He said yes, and then took us to the gazelles. He never smiled. Jarred made Raymond translate to the masai man if he would compete in a spear throwing contest. Jarred is such a jock. However, he made the masai man laugh. JB lost.

We saw the masai dance tonight. It was, actually amazing. Jarred danced with them. I was too shy. I was so happy JB was my friend at that moment. The song and dance were wonderful. I love Tanzania so much. I felt completely blessed all day.

Life is grand.

Feb 26th-28th
It’s been a few days with no electricity. But things have been great. Raymond took us from Whistling Thorn to Lake Manyara Park. Baboons are awesome. I really believe they are humans that can’t speak and drive cars. I'm noticing that the parks here are a lot different from Kenya, in that they are more mapped out. The safari ride feels like a circuit you must follow.

Sadly, we said goodbye to Raymond and traded him with Siad. I liked him right away, although Raymond was great. Our new chef Nacibu is amazing. I can't wait to eat his future meals.

Siad took us to the famous Serengeti where where stayed at a campsite. This placed had no shower, but I don't like showering anyways. We are staying here 3 nights. On our way we saw some lions. I wish, just once, that I can see a lion do something other than sleep!

We camped out in tents, heard lions. In these campsites there are at least 20 other people. We never talk to each other though.

After one night of camping we went off to Ndutu lodge for one night. This place is great. Very cute, although I did miss Nacibu's cooking.

Siad drove us around Ndutu Park. This place was great because you can drive all over. It doesn't have the typical circuit roads like most of the parks in Tanzania. There were so many cheetahs here! I saw some teenage cheetahs kill a gazelle today. The mother was watching them as all four of the kids had a chance at chasing a baby gazelle.

Feb 29th
Today we left the cute little lodge.

We saw lots of cheetahs this afternoon. The babies are adorable. I have rearranged my top animals now. Number one is for sure warthogs and number 2 is cheetahs. I am just so disappointed with the hippos. I guess I kinda expected them to kill something or someone.

So we got back to our campsite at the Serengeti. Two more nights here. The drive was cool because we saw tons of wildebeasts migrating. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

The last days

These past days have been fun. I have seen everything I wanted to see in Africa and then some. We all stayed up talking and hanging out the other night since it was our last night together with Siad and Nacibu. We got yelled at for listening to a Spice Girl song from some safari layd. A woman actually came up to us at the campsite and said “Spice girls are just not Serengeti music. Please turn it off.” We went on a night drive to see some lions after drinking all day. That was definitely entertaining.

It was sad to say goodbye to Siad and Nasibu today. Tomorrow I go home! I’m not looking forward to the plane ride, but I can’t wait to get back in America

So my month in Africa consisted of Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. The gorilla trekking was definitely the best thing I did, but my favorite country by far was Tanzania. I hope I can go back one day!

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