United In Tanzania

> to travel v. intr. : to go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey.

Such a simple verb and yet creates such a variety of associations in people's minds. To some it brings back the first trip to London or that iddylic honeymoon in the south of France. To others it is about the first trip out of the eastern block or about travelling 20 kilometers to the next village to find a wife. Limitless variety and yet our increasingly busy and fast paced lives only allow us to scratch its surface... a weekend trip to a very commercialised city or a week's holiday in one of those over-advertised all-inclusive resorts from a country that sparks a though of exoticism in our minds. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems like we have all been brainwashed to want and to expect the same things wherever we go and this appears to lead to a global commerce where the variety comes from those cliches we know so well about one place or another.

However,we believe that travel is about more than just the magnets you get to put on your fridge and that if you break out of your comfort zone and take the less beaten road, you might just discover sceneries that will leave you not only breathless but also with memories that will last you a life time.  And if you can just take a minute and stop from this addicitive search for new memories, go and talk to a local, create a relationship and you will not only make a new friend but discover customs and traditions that you might have never thought possible.

This is what we want and this is what this trip is supposed to be about. This is why we wanted to climb mount Kilimanjaro and this is why we wanted to go for a safari in Tanzania. 

Sure... this is still something very commercial as thousands of people do this every year but les us not forget we are still employees of a big corporation and that take up all of our time. This trip is not a paradigm shift but more of a sneak peak into what it would be like to embark on the adventure of travelling around the world for one or two years.

Arrival in Tanzania

All pumped up with excitement, I (Alex) land at the Kilimanjaro Intenational Airport in Tanzania. The airport is very small and you just walk out of the airplane, on to the tarmac and simply strawl through the 50 meters it takes you to reach the terminal building. People are already making the first pictures at the side of the airplane, most probably because this is something you rarely (that is... Never) get to do in the western countries. 

 

As a Romanian citizen, I swiftly pass through immigrations. For some reason I have not yet discovered, Romanian citizens do not need a visa to Tanzania while all other E.U. Citizens need one. Well... I don't mind a bit of good luck. Nevertheless, the luck quickly turns around when I get out of the airport to find two guys waiting with name plates with my name on it (I guess this is what happens when you contact two companies for the transfer from the airport). My intention was to check if they offer different prices but forgot to tell one of them not to come and pick me up. I make my way towards one of them hoping that it will be the guy sent by the hotel and that so I would be able to ditch the other guy and not pay him. The choice was wrong and I end up with the other guy. I recognise him as he also organised my safari trip two years back so at least the ride will not be in an awkward silence. He tells me about the fluctuating gas prices, about the underpaid teachers in state schools and about the hot political issues. Sounds just like back home and I wonder if the world is actually the same all over the globe. But then we reach the city and I see all that street side commerce and realise that not all retail takes place in malls. I might just start thinking what an underdeveloped place this is but then I remember that two years back half of the cars on the streets were Peugeots from the 1980's. Now I have to struggle to see just one. Unlike Europe, you can see this place developing in front of your eyes and you can immediately notice the huge potential lying around. One just needs to have capital and unfortunately they do not seem to have it. 

Reaching the hotel and meeting Georgi would have been exciting, were we not to have previously met just three days earlier.

It is just 2pm and we do not want to sit around so we take a taxi to Moshi city center. 

We need to exchange money. We get our of the cab right in front of a guy sitting down on a chair with a shotgun in his lap...  

Frankly speaking Moshi town has nothing special to offer and impress a foreign visitor. We are just about to give up and return to our hotel when we discover a secret & hidden gem, Moshi Art Handcraft Center

Moshi Art Handcraft Center, Tanzania, Sep 2012

Since the luggage we can carry with us during the Kilimanjaro climb is limited to 15kg/person we decide to postpone the purchase of any handcrafted items after we return from the mountain.

Instead we move back to our hotel to spend the night in local beer degustation & talking about the future and what the next day will offer us...