Updated: Mar 5
My last week and a half at Sawa Sawa was simply the best.
It was terrific.
I have already mentioned how nervous I was about returning. I almost didn't. Looking back now, it was really silly of me to have felt that way, considering I was relying on the information of someone I never really meshed with in the first place. Back in the bunkhouse, I really enjoyed the company of the crew and I wouldn't trade my last few days with everyone for anything!
It was rejuevenating.
The days seriously shot by and every moment was filled with something new & fun. I managed to tick almost everything off my Arusha bucket list... and more!
I ate at Five Chutneys AGAIN... my very favourite Indian Street Food Cuisine restaurant in Arusha. Unfortunately I didn't choose my cuisine company correctly and made arrangements to meet an older, new-to-me volunteer there, after only having known her for a few minutes. I tend to rave about things... and then just want to take anyone that expresses the slightest amount of interest.
I should just learn to keep my mouth shut.
She was quite older... American... and seemed somewhat well-travelled. At least that's the impression I got. When she suggested a 6:30pm meeting time, I asked if we might possibly change it to 6pm. It gets very dark in Arusha at exactly 7pm... and it's not exactly a place I'm particularily comfortable being after the sun goes down. Arusha can shift from vibrant & friendly to downright sketch in a matter of seconds.
I'm not so much worried for my safety as I am for my stuff.
I just knew I would want to high-tail it home before dark... plus, the restaurant shut at 8pm.
6pm it was!
I sent explicate directions, but she seemed quite confident about Arusha.
At 5:53pm, I arrived at the restaurant and I got a table.
At 6pm, I went outside and stood on the road looking to see if I could see her arriving.
At 6:07pm, I texted "I'm here and inside!"
I was concerned because the restaurant hasn't really got a road-front presence. It's down a hallway, almost like it's in a mall. I texted & explained this... and then I shared my location with her.
At 6:08pm, she texted me and said, "We're 3 minutes away."
She was coming with another volunteer who was in her homestay.
At 6:09pm, I order an appetizer.
Thought it would be nice for them to have something delicious to greet them when they arrived.
At 6:20pm, the appetizer arrived. This was the longest 3 minutes ever...
"Where are you?"
"The tuk tuk doesn't know where he's going."
At 6:30pm, I suggested perhaps getting out of the tuk tuk and walking.
Again... I shared location and send a screen shot of directions.
At 6:37pm, I had eaten the entire appie platter.
At 6:38 pm, I texted again.
"Where are you now?"
There were all over the place and it didn't once occur to them, despite my encouragement, to get out of the tuk tuk and follow the blue Google Maps dot directly to the restaurant, where I sat, patiently waiting. #notpatiently
At 6:40pm, I texted and asked if they were ok???
I then shared location again.
She wrote to me and said they were at the clock tower. When I replied that they'd gone too far, she told me to "give her a break." Hmmm...
At 6:50pm, they finally walked through the door.
I was visibly NOT happy. I had been sitting there for almost a FULL hour. She made absolutely NO apologies at all, but started berating me for the unimpressed expression on my face. She said she had to sit down immediately to calm down before she got really angry because I'm supposed to have travelled the world and know that meeting times don't mean anything.
I was beyond stumped. I sat there, silently... not saying a word. Finally I stood up to head home, but the other volunteer convinced me to stay.
I had to smile, looking at the Five Chutneys philosophy on the wall...
Everyone who walks through our doors is either already a friend, or will be.
Or they can suck it for being an hour late...
Seriously... ONE FULL HOUR.
It was creepy and dark when we finally left. In my attempt to get home safely, all the while listening to her want to find a 'little bar' to have a drink, I finally clued in to the fact that she'd never been downtown Arusha EVER.
I hate people.
I had to go back a few days later in order to void out my bad experience. Vicky and I took Editha, Emina and Tina. I think the spice of Indian cuisine wasn't their favourite, but they were good sports and humoured us throughout the entire meal.
When I had been in Arusha before, I had heard about a Swing. Someone had found it on Instagram, but when I asked around, no one really knew what I was speaking out. I was determined to find it... and I did.
It is located about a half an hour outside of Arusha and up one of the bumpiest, dirtiest roads I have ever had the occasion to drive on. Lola, Ale and I were the only ones without plans for the weekend, so our plan was to take a tuk tuk to the bottom of the road... and then walk the rest of the way up.
That plan would have sucked.
Witness stopped by Sawa Sawa just before we were planning on leaving, so we invited her to join us, which was a great idea, as she managed to arrange proper transporation for us. It was up the most puddle of dust, bumpy backcountry dirt trail I have ever experienced in my entire life. I can't believe the little taxi actually made it. For a while, I felt that I was leading everyone on a wild goose chase and I seriously doubted there would be anything at all at the end of the road.
We did eventually arrive though.
The price was 35,000 shillings, which was rather steep, but it hadn't crossed our minds to inquire prior to arrival. If we had, we probably could have negotiated something slightly cheaper. We also didn't know to bring our bathing suits. This guy needs some serious marketing if he's planning on bringing in more tourists.
Part of his extravagent fee included professional photography.
Debateable on the professional part.
When he finally did send me the 86 photos to my WhatsApp account, I deleted the majority of them as they weren't particularily... fantastic... at all.
The taxi driver decided to wait for us instead of coming back and enduring that trecheroius road again. He accompanied us throughout the entire afternoon adventure and was even so bold as to include himself in most of the photos we took.
There were a lot of picturesque moments, so a LOT of photos!
The swing was a bit of a hike up, as it swung over the side of mountain, giving the landscape view. I think I found it more terrifying than spectacular... but I was imagining the swing rope breaking and me plummeting to my death....
I felt odd leaving Tanzania without seeing Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, the two major tourist attractions.
I really did try to see Kilimanjaro, but it hid in the clouds. If it had been rising like Olympus over the Serengeti, like the Toto song suggests, perhaps I would have seen it.
But... I didn't make it to Serengeti either... so probably not.
Always leave yourself somethign to come back to, right?
Our volunteer house hosted our first ever Sawa Sawa stumble, which was a collaboration of each room serving drinks and snacks. Every single room participated, and as Hope said, it was exactly what we all needed after the horrible messages that someone had published.
Another silly thing I had my heart set on was doing a short Tik Tok video at a pub I'd driven by a few times, called "Another One."
Anyone who's ever heard a DJ Kalid song will recognize the reference.
I ended up with approximately 10 of the volunteers in the video. We had to be creative with our placement due to a vehicle parked directly in front of the bar and some random family just sitting on the steps eating lunch. It was also closed, so we couldn't order "another one!" as I'd originally intended.
But I did it!
I got the footage and got it up on my site.
If anyone wants to follow me on Tik Tok, it's @mycrushontheworld and I'm already over 1000!
It's crazy... I know... but I love it.