Meeting the president (well almost) and leaving Tanzania

I was due to fly to Dar from Tanga. I arrived at the airport early to find that it was surprisingly busy with at least 10 cars there (bear in mind Tanga airport sees about 3 flights a day and each plane holds a maximum of about 14 people so this is a lot of cars). When giving them my bags to check-in I had to open them up and have them searched – this is unheard of at Tanga airport so I laughed about it with the guy. Turns out that the president was due to land there at 5pm! My flight was due to leave at 4pm but I was told there was a 20min delay which was cutting it a bit fine.

More and more people started to arrive – there was a lady cleaning the runway with a dirty rag before they put down this really tatty red carpet. Next came the dancers and the band and thousands of people – I didn’t know that many people even lived in Tanga!

I got introduced to the District Commissioner and the local MP who both seemed very friendly. 4.30pm came and went – still no sign of our plane – we assumed that it had been stopped at Pemba the stop before us (these small planes are a bit like buses and make multiple stops on route) until the president had landed. Then at 4.45 we saw our bags being pushed out onto the runway. Our plane landed at 4.50pm – I felt sorry for the people getting off as they weren’t going anywhere in a hurry as the roads out were completely blocked.

To our surprise we then boarded the plane and we were told – the president is coming now. So we and the pilot assumed that we were just going to wait until he had landed – but no we were told – go take off quickly. So we did just as we were exiting the airports flight circuit we saw the president’s plan enter it! So close to us – I had visions of us crashing into it. I might have been dead but I would have become infamous as one of the people who killed the president! Only in Tanzania!!!!!

The week in Dar was fairly uneventful – very boring as I had to write up the business plan in a word report. I hate writing word reports with a passion so motivation was a struggle. I watched the movie Out of Africa with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Good movie but very unrealistic – no market in Africa is that clean – there are always rotten fruit/veg on the floor – but I guess you have to give them some poetic licence. Even though I knew the story and knew he died it still didn’t stop me crying about it – sign that I was feeling very tired and emotional. Felt better afterwards.

Went out for dinner one evening with Abi and her boss Justin and was getting the sales pitch about Gatsby and the development work they do. I have to admit it does actually sound quite interesting but it really depends on the role I think. I am meeting up with Justin to talk more when I am back in the UK and I am sure Abi with be talking to me more when we climb kili.

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Endless plains and endless wildebeests

Endless plains is translation of the Maasi word for Serengeti and they are not wrong – although only 35% of the park is actually grassland and the rest is woodland area. It took about 7 hours to get here driving from Arusha as have to go through the Ngorogoro park on the way. On the way we passed a herd of 30 giraffes walking together down a hill. A pretty impressive sight. And also saw a new species of antelope called Topi – they are bigger than most types I have seen and have really long faces – kept making me think of the really bad joke about the horse in the bar with the long face!

On the game drive to the camp we didn’t really see much at all. Two weeks ago there were loads but now the rains have come they seem to have vanished to another area of the park – bugger! The way to the camp was fairly hairy aswell. Ordinarily it would have been fine but the rain started on the drive there and it became very slippy slidy – the driver had to engage the 4×4 and he wasn’t happy at all! He also had never been to this camp before so we got a bit lost and had to drive out of our way to find someone to ask directions from! He is trying to suggest we move somewhere else for the last night so I don’t miss my flight – I shall see what the way out in the morning is like as the camp itself is lovely.

It’s a new camp called Asanja Africa (which apparently means lovers in Maasi – oops I must be in the wrong place!) and they only have 5 tents – each one is themed like a Maasi ceremony. Mine is the Marriage ceremony so it has lots of red the colour for celebration. The room is fantastic – it’s not like any camping I have ever done before – this is camping in style! On arrival I get met by all the staff – including the Chef and my own personal Maasi butler called Lobbo. When it’s not raining they have big bonfires outside the mess tent. In my room I have a huge bed, electricity, shower (which they fill up with hot water on request) and flushing toilet! It’s amazing – and the food is fantastic – the pumpkin soup was to die for! At night when they come to turn the beds down they leave a nice hot water bottle in the bed with a muffin by the side of the bed in case they haven’t fed you enough and you get hungry in the middle of the night!

First days game drive started slowly until we came across a herd of 30 elephants with small babies crossing the track in front of us. We sat and watched them for a bit before coming across two lions the other side of the stream – a mother and daughter. There are lots of lions in the Serengeti (and I heard 3 of them roaring in the middle of the night!) but it’s hard to see them in the long grass. We drove on and saw a family of giraffes, lots of impalas and topis then didn’t see anything for ages. That was until we came round the corner and saw it, one of the 10 wonders of the world, the great wildebeest migration.

Wow is all I can say. Wildebeest as far as you can see – there are over 2.5million of them that migrate each year – the herd stretches over 40km! About 15% of the herd are actually zebras so you see one or two dotted about but what a sight. And how noisy too – they seem to honk at each other all the time! We sat there in the middle of it all for over an hour and then also had our lunch. We continued on and found a wildebeest carcass and two very full hyenas rolling in the mud having eaten as much as they could. I felt sorry for the wildebeest but it’s the law of nature I suppose – just wish hyenas would kill their prey before they start eating it!

Eventually we had to leave the wildebeests and pushed on. We saw a family of baboons where one of the males seemed to be playing with himself in front of his tiny baby! And some more giraffes, impalas and elephants. We then came across a small pride of lions. Two big males who looked so soft and cuddly and 5 females just lying in the grass. We watched them for a while before making our way back to camp. The journey was a bit easier today – partly because we knew where we were going and what was coming and partly due to the fact it wasn’t pelting with rain! Thomas now seems happy for us to stay here tomorrow night as long as we leave by 7am so there is time before my flight to dig ourselves out if we get stuck! Turns out he knows the camp manager from old so he is happy – plus he gets the same food as us and he likes it too!!!! He now says that it is the best camp he has stayed in!

Just as we crossed the river on the way to the camp we saw an old bull elephant pushing at an acacia tree. He managed to push it over (nearly blocking the river crossing in the process!) – he will only eat about 5-10% of the leaves before moving on to push down another tree. Apparently after a while the leaves change taste and he doesn’t like it! Fussy eater! Didn’t his mother ever tell him there were starving children in Ethiopia who would be glad of that food?

In the summer hyenas dig holes so they have somewhere to sleep in during the day. On leaving for our drive on Sunday morning we hit one of these old holes that was covered with grass and got stuck – we must have only just have made it over it the night before. With various bits of wood and the use of the high rise jack we managed to get out but it took over 45mins. Just as we had got out another truck arrived – typical!

During the day we came across a total of 15 lions in four separate prides – one of which was a mother with 2 cubs and another was a solitary tree climbing lion (only the females climb trees!). And we also came across my first leopard – which means that I have now seen all of the big five game animals! I was happy. She was sitting up in the branches of a tree. We heard that she wasn’t there for long though as some baboons came along getting revenge and chased her off. Leopards kill baboons during the night when they can’t see but during the day baboons are too strong for leopards.

We had lunch by the hippo pool – a convergence of three rivers which seems to make perfect conditions for hippos – I counted over 70 that were above water but many more were present – they keep surfacing and then disappearing which makes them very difficult to count! What I hadn’t realised was that hippos kill more humans than any other animal – they certainly are big creatures!

The drive back to the camp was much better as it hadn’t rained all day and the ground had dried up quite a lot in the sun which bodes well for tomorrow and getting to the airport. I was the only person that night in camp. Wasn’t a problem as the staff are so friendly – it just meant they didn’t apologise all the time for the other guests! It had surprised me how bad a reputation Indians have got in Tanzania – especially as I have some good friends who are Indian and are lovely and the couple I met in Tanga were nice. However this week I have found out why! They all seem to travel with hordes of children – not necessarily a problem unless (as they do) they don’t tell the camp the ages of the children (most camps have a minimum age limit!) and they let them run riot destroying the place. Also they come across as very arrogant and rude ordering the staff around like their personal slaves. And if they are not traveling with children, all they seem to do is smoke heavily and get drunk – again with no consideration for anybody else and treating the staff like slaves. I now understand why the drivers and hotels don’t like having Indian customers – it’s a real shame as they are giving their nation a bad name – nearly as bad as Brits in Spain – but not quite!

Leaving the camp was sad – they all came out to wave goodbye – it’s the first time I have left a tip for a hotel but they deserved it! On the way to the airport the drive to the main road was fine and said goodbye to the familes of giraffes, elephants, warthogs and impalas I had seen every day. Just before we go to the airport we spotted another leopard. This one was in a tree a bit closer to the road so I hope the pictures are a bit clearer.

Flight back to Tanga was uneventful and I’m now back in Korogwe and the heat again. I was so nice to have been in cooler climates for three weeks but I have also been fed so well my trousers are starting to feel tight so I needed to come back to Korogwe to eat less! I have no idea how Zoe managed to loose so much weight in Ethiopia – everyone I have met so far in Africa seems to have put on weight here! I blame our mothers for this – forcing us all to clear our plates all the time and building into a habit of eating everything put in front of you even if you are full! This isn’t good when you are in cultures where the hosts think they haven’t fed you enough if you leave a clear plate!

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New species and Tanzania politics

The lodge I stayed in may have been outside of the park but it was in the middle of nowhere on the edge of Lake Manyara surrounded by game and lets face it – when they say tents they can hardly be classed as a tent!

Finished off my safari with a morning game drive back in Tarangire Park.  To be honest nothing could live up to the day before and there weren’t half as many elephants about as there had been the day before.   The rain the day before had filled up some of the water holes so they didn’t need to come down to the river – shows how lucky I was the day before to see so many.  We didn’t see anything other than a few impalas for ages – the long grass hides a lot of things but we drove through different areas and it was good to see the scenery of the park.  I do love watching impalas run – sort of a leaping action which is oddly graceful.  We also saw two young male elephants fighting with each other and trying to chase off an older elephant with only one tusk.  Elephants can really motor when they get going!  There elephants were red because we were in a different part of the park and the soil is much redder.

As we were driving past some rocks we spotted some Rock Hyraxes.  These tiny little creatures resemble a slightly oversize hamster sit on (or hide in the gaps of rocks so birds of prey don’t eat them) the rocks during the day.  Apparently they are meant to be related to elephants!  Now if you see them you will find this very hard to believe as there is nothing what so ever about them that resembles an elephant.  They are small and furry and they have no trunk!  I have been told that the reason is because their testicles are internal like elephants are.  I am still a little bit of a sceptic about this!  The other new species I saw was a Stean gazelle – similar in size to a Duik Duik and looks just as nervous.

On driving back to Arusha we discussed politics.  There was bi-election held on Sunday for the East Meru district as the government minister who represented them recently died. From what I understand his son has now decided that he wants to enter parliament in his fathers seat and the government spent over 20billion Tsh on his campaign (image what the benefits to the people all this money could be have been used for) – which is why the president was in the area on Friday doing last minute campaigning – oh they really brought out the big guns!  And from what I understand even tried using the tactics that the country has been stable since they were in power – it will break into civil war if they lose power!

 Anyway it turns out that the people really didn’t like this nepotism so the opposition candidate won by 10%.  The government was not happy!  There seemed to be huge celebrations going on in Arusha (an opposition stronghold area) that the government of 50 years had been defeated – even if it was only in one seat!  The biggest problem they face is that there are at least 12 opposition parties in Tanzania – unless they start to consolidate and join forces into 1 or 2 parties they are never going to be successful in changing the government.  The view among the educated people I have spoken to believe that a change of ruling party is required but that unlike what is going on in the Arab Spring at the moment – it needs to come from the ballot box in Tanzania.  The feeling is that no matter what goes on beforehand the actual elections themselves are fairly corrupt free.

Checked in to the Outpost lodge which is quite a nice little place – it was recommended on Trip Advisor as a good budget accommodation.  With that I agree with it – however for $57 a night I would hardly say it was particularly budget!  The rooms are clean and comfortable, hot water in the showers, it has a nice garden and small pool with an area I can work in – however there is building work going on so there is a constant hammering happening during the day and was actually surprisingly quiet at night – I was expecting it to be noisy.  But it is for the building work that I have changed hotels.  And I seem to have got a real bargain.  I have moved to the African Tulip hotel – the top rated one in Arusha on Trip Advisor with rack rate prices of $200 a night.  Because they are owned by the same company I am doing my safari with I have been offered a room at $85 a night. 

I got quite a lot of work done this week in my nice quiet hotel room although was quite annoyed to discover that as I am not there the guys at the nursery seem to have taken a week off!  Typical!  Anyway its now Easter and I’m to the Serengeti for the weekend to see some more wildlife!

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Elephants, elephants and more elephants

Today’s safari was at the Tarangire National Park – this park is huge and is mainly composed of long grassland – as a result it makes it quite hard to see animals but when you do boy do you see them!  Also it’s a less popular park so there are less people there.

We started off not seeing anything for ages except a few impalas when we suddenly came across a herd of 21 female giraffes eating the trees.  We stopped by one female with her babies and watched them for ages.  She was very wary of us as she doesn’t see vehicles very often.  Beautiful creatures but very odd shaped – how on earth does their neck support their head?  Apparently the way to tell the difference between the male and female giraffes (other than the enormous testicles!) is the females have hair on the top of their horns and the males don’t.

After leaving the giraffes we then came across a family of warthogs playing in a mud pool next to the path.  We watched them for a while and the babies were quite sweet – in an ugly sort of way.  On leaving the warthogs we didn’t see anything really for a while after and then it happened.  We came over a hill and saw an elephant – as we rounded the bend we saw more and more elephants.  I gave up counting after I got to 200 – we must have seen nearly a 1000 in total.  Everywhere you could see were groups of elephants.  It was truly amazing.  We watched some standing in the shade for a while but they weren’t really moving so we moved spot and was next to a big female who was just eating and then after a while wondered off. 

We headed down another track and came across a small group with some young babies close to the path.  As we were watching, as if on cue, the mother decided to take her family down to the pond for a mud bath.  We had prime viewing position watching them bathing, rolling in the mud and playing.  The tiny baby had a real problem with staying on his feet in the mud and kept falling over.  After it had got nicely muddy it decided to suckle from her mother directly in front of us.  I thought it couldn’t get much better than that. 

We moved round to another spot and just sat in the truck and watched as a group of 40 elephants crossed the river and ended up surrounding the jeep.  They were so close I could have touched them.  They weren’t at all threatening just munching away at the grass.  We sat here and had our lunch in the jeep rather than move to the picnic spot a few km away.  We were the only people around  (when we looked down from the picnic spot a few hours later there were 8 jeeps there and hardly any elephants as they were all making their way back into the park).  We stayed in that spot for nearly 2 hours and also watched a herd of zebra cantering down the river and two elephants mating.  They make one hell of a noise when he mounts her – not a surprise when you see that his penis is like a 5th leg and it touches the ground!!!!

All in all an amazing days viewing.  And it didn’t stop there – it got to the point after a while where elephants became the norm – everywhere you went was elephants.  While we were watching a mother waking up her baby we saw a cheetah walking off.  Sadly she was too far to get a photo of but I watched her through binoculars for ages.  I thought I had lost her when I saw a few metres away a small reed buck – she was hunting!  I was able to watch her creep though the long grass towards it.  Sadly (or depending on your view point fortunately) the reed buck saw her before she was ready to pounce and took off up the bank and off into the bush.  Cheetahs may be the fastest living creatures on the flat but she wasn’t so quick up the bank so it got away – no dinner for her.  That was when the rains came down – very heavily so you can’t actually see anything out of the windows – by this point it was 5pm anyway so we called it a day and headed to the lodge for the night.

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Up close and personal at the Crater

We left the lovely Bougainvillea Lodge with its nice large spacious rooms (so much different to the place I am in as I write this – I hate the Ngorogoro Wildlife lodge with a passion, its everything I despise about big tourist hotels but more on that later).

The crater itself was formed about 3m years ago after a volcano collapsed after erupting.  Over time it has formed this ecosystem 20km in diameter full of wildlife.  The animals do come and go from time to time but in general they tend to stay put as the Maasi population on the rim has doubled in the last 5 years to over 80k people.

The day started quite slowly and despite the early start (7am) we still hadn’t seen much (other than more baboons) by about 9 am.  Then we came across a large herd of wildebeest and zebras.  The two creatures are often found together and they say that the wildebeest migration is run by zebras as they have good memories whereas wildebeest have very poor memory.  Wildebeest also mate during May-June every year and their calves are born in February so we saw lots of babies to.  There were several herds of Thomson and Gerant gazelles rooming around the place and a jackal which was on the prowl.  Later on we were to see jackals fighting with a hyena for some food.  I was surprised to see ostriches in the park.  It had never really occurred to me that they were an African bird.

I got a bit carried away taking pictures of zebras during the course of the day and one had to be taken of an actual zebra crossing!  Soon after we left the zebras we came across a group of trucks parked up on a track.  We had to ask what they were looking at and it turned out to be a female cheetah sitting resting.  She was so well camouflaged it would have been impossible for us to have seen her otherwise.  She was too far away to take pictures of – unlike in Kenya, all Tanzania safaris have to stick to the national park tracks and there is no off-roading allowed.

We drove on a bit further and saw four lions in the distance just sitting there sleeping.  We didn’t stay there for long as they were so far away and went round the corner to watch three large male buffalos walking towards us and look at more zebras – I think they are my favourite animal here.  As we were watching the lions started walking towards us.  We went from being on our own to being surrounded by 15-20 other jeeps.  It wasn’t good.  However I got really lucky when one large male lion walked directly in front of my jeep so I got a great view.  He looked a very lazy cuddly creature but he is deadly.  Apparently today is very quiet in the park as it is low season – in high season July/Aug & Dec/Jan there are about 200 jeeps in the park!  That would be horrible – I highly recommend going out of season!

We then headed to a hippo pool for lunch (the only place in the park you are allowed to eat and there are toilets there).  But you have to eat your lunch sitting in the jeep as there are lots of red kites about.  If you try to eat outside they swoop down out of nowhere and steal your sandwich or chicken before you even get it to your mouth!

In the afternoon drive we saw this big cloud of dust not far away so went to investigate.  It turned out to be two rival packs of hyenas fighting over territory.  We counted over 40 of them in the fight.  The fight didn’t last long though – not sure which group won.  Saw a couple of lions who had been walking stop and then just sit down to watch them.  It was amazing to see how these two huge creatures could just vanish in what looked like short flat grassland.  It just gives an indication of how much you must miss because they are so well camouflaged.   

On the other side of the truck were two black rhinos in the first throws of courtship.  The big old male was certainly up for it but the young female (we suspected this might be her first time due to her size) wasn’t having any of it!  I admired his persistence though.  We watched this ritual go on for nearly an hour before we decided that nothing was going to happen anytime soon (we were by far the most patient of all the people who stopped).    When we left we came across two retired bull buffaloes (retired because they are old and the young ones have kicked them out of the herd) enjoying rolling in the mud with a family of warthogs.

We stopped by the hippo pool to see if the hippos were going to play ball and come out of the water but it wasn’t looking likely and by this time it was 5pm – there are huge fines if you are still in the park after 6pm so we had to leave – still a 9hr safari isn’t bad!  Just before we headed up the crater ascent we had to stopping in this little parking area to put the roof back and engage the 4×4.  I got out to use the bathroom.  On my way back to the jeep was my closest encounter with wild animals outside of a jeep.  A herd of zebra were walking through the area between me and the jeep.  I sat down on the grass to make myself small and they came within a few feet of me.  They are beautiful creatures and so horse like.  Each one of them is different as their patterns of stripes are unique.  This was probably my highlight of the day.

Sadly after that was my low point of the day – the hotel.  Impressive looking building from the outside but I knew as soon as I walked in and heard all the noise I knew I was going to hate it.  It was full of about 20 American children!  The only good thing I can say about this place is that because it is on the rim of the crater it has stunning views over the crater but I wish I had stayed back in town!  The rooms are small, the walls are paper thin and you hear everything especially when people walk down the corridor, there is no drinking water in the rooms and all the drinks they sell are overpriced.  The food was awful a buffet meal which was full of things I couldn’t eat made worse by all the kids.  I look forward to leaving this place tomorrow.  Still I won’t let it ruin my day.

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Traffic jams the world over

Today I left Nairobi and Kenya to head back to Tanzania.  It was quite nice to be leaving the big city – I just cannot understand the two volunteers on the Kenyan project who haven’t left Nairobi since they arrived and don’t seem to have any plans to either!  To come all the way to Africa for 4 months and not see anything goes beyond my conmprehension! An odd couple!

From what I can gather one of the main issues with Kenyan traffic jams is the fact they are doing so much road works at the moment they require lots of traffic diversions as they need to close off the roads.  The problem is they don’t seem to tell people when they are closing off the roads – either before, during or after, so you only find out the road is closed when you are stuck in a major jam and a lorry is trying to do a 3 point turn in not enough space.  In Arusha the cause was something different entirely.  The police decided to randomly close the road because the president was driving through – this caused chaos and a delay to my setting off on safari.  And from what I hear back in England the issues seem to be cause by panic buying of petrol – I wonder if this will make the prices go down?  Probably not.

I booked my safari through Roys Safaris – they came highly recommended on trip advisor and so far have yet to disappoint – it has cost me a fortune though because I am on my own I have to pay the total amount for the driver, fuel, vehicle, park fees etc. which would normally be split between people.  I would have liked one, may be two more people but its good being in a very small group and I wold rather do it on my own than not at all.  My driver guide is called Thomas and he seems to be very knowledgeable with a good eye for spotting animals.  He is of the lets go slowly and see more school of guiding rather than just tear round the park as quick as possible as another guide I saw today.

Today we were at Lake Manyara National Park – on the way we stopped to buy some red bananas – they apparently only grow in this region of Tanzania – might explain why I had never heard or seen them before.  They were quite tasty for a banana – good job I liked them as ended up with a huge bunch of them!!!!

In the park we came across a large family (about 40) baboons.  The males have grey bottoms and the females red – however it is when the females are in heat that the really odd swollen shaped bottoms appear – it looks like a big ugly tumour!    There were several young with them – some of which rode under their mothers stomachs while others preferred to ride on their backs.  After watching the baboons for a while we moved on and soon saw lots of other animals, many impalas and Thomsons gazelles and thousands of yellow billed stocks especially around the hippo pools.  The hippos were really enjoying their time wallowing in the mud and water.  So much so they would only poke their heads out of the water for a minute before going back under.  The large herd of zebras we saw were amazing – I have always like zebras as they remind me of horses!

We were just moving away from watching the Duik Duiks (the smallest antelope with the biggest eyes) when we spotted an elephant moving towards us.  It ended up that a family of elephants walked right in front of our jeep – I could have touched them they were so close.  The guys in the jeep that came around the corner at that time were so jealous I got so close!  Soon after that we saw a female tree climbing lion asleep in the tree.  Apparently this is quite rare in this park so I got quite lucky.  She was a beautiful creature and looked so relaxed that she might fall out of the tree at any minute!  Saw a few more elephants, giraffes, zebras and warthogs before we had to leave the park and head to our hotel.  Tomorrow the Ngorogoro crater.  That is if I can still move – they have given me so much lovely food to eat at my lodge I feel like I may burst!

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Korogwe is slowly growing on me

Actually Korogwe isn’t so bad when you start to have a few people to talk too.  There is Meg who is volunteering up in the mountains who comes down occasionally, Christina although has gone back to Germany now was here for a week although her colleagues are still here, there are two Sri Lankan guys in the gem stone business looking for stones and then there is my stalker!

Actually he’s Tanzanian guy called Antony who works for World Vision who is staying in the hotel I was in last week.  He came and spoke to me at breakfast and seemed interested in trees so I gave him my Tanzanian number.  Big mistake!  He now seems to call me on a very regular basis for no reason in particular.

I also met up with Ana on Tuesday now she is back from Dar Es Salaam and went round to her house for dinner – along with a Bolivian girl who has just moved to the area aswell.  She cooked a Brazilian type curry made with aubergines and coconut – it was by far the best food I have had in Korogwe by a country mile!  And she had even baked a carrot cake for desert.  We are both big fans of wine so have promised to get together when I get back from Kenya to drink wine as I can bring some back and she will get some brought up from Dar.  I can see a potential hangover looming in April!!!!

Last night I had to use my cold weather gear for the first time – I went to bed in socks, jumper and trousers using the towel as an additional blanket.  This wasn’t because the weather was cold – far from it – but my air conditioning unit broke and was stuck on freeze, blasting cold air out all night directly onto the bed and I couldn’t turn it off!  I have got it fixed now ( I hope!) but at least it meant I have worn most of the clothes I brought now!

What is really weird at the moment is that in the last two days I seem to have developed really swollen feet, ankles and calves.  I must be having a reaction to something but for the life of me haven’t figured out what yet.  The antihistamines don’t seem to make much of a dent to it.  I must look up to see if it is a side effect of Malarone or DEET usage but I have no intention of stopping either one as this is quite a high malaria area based on the number of people in Nancys family who have got it in the last couple of weeks.  Just hope its not some form of deadly tropical disease I don’t know about – maybe my legs will drop off below the knee….

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