WH Chronicle No. 1.24

Jan 1, 2011

Happy New Year! 

Since our last visit, there has been a significant gap in electricity, internet and communication.  So we'll have to get you caught up on our African activities.

Tom and I taught through Dec 22 which was the last day of internet service and reliable electricity as the campus closed down for the holidays.  Christmas morning, Daryl awoke at 4am, prodded Sammy out of bed, and spent the next 2 hours rousing their hibernating-bear parents.  We then engaged in a mail-opening extravaganza.   Thanks to our thoughtful friends and family,  Santa can breathe a sigh of relief for another year.  After a small nap, we hosted a lunch for the music students stranded here for lack of travel funds.  They were very grateful for the meal and loved our Mexican casserole.

The next day, our 15th wedding anniversary, we packed up the rattle trap (unsafe even in ‘Park’),  flipped off all the house light switches--just in case the power came on, and drove to the sleepy little beach town of Pangani (“Only 6 hours away!” Daryl exclamed).  Our banda on the beach was slightly reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island, complete with plumbing engineered by the Professor or maybe Gilligan. 

Pangani is considered by some historians to be the city of “Rhapta” referred to by 1st century Ptolemy, because of a reference to the islands and the Pangani River headwaters beginning at Mt. Kilimanjaro. 
Typical fishing boat. Fishermen are in the water "squidding."

Riding in a dhow to go snorkeling on the reef.

Birds at Maziwe Island--an island from the Far Side Cartoons, minus the palm tree.

Another typical fisherman's boat, without the clothes line.

Giant clam shell fossil--big enough to hold Sam and Daryl.

Baby seastar from a tidal pool.  

It's good to know a little Swahili and to have 200Tsh if you need to visit the restroom.
Crocodile we saw on a river boat cruise--he's the size of a hot dog bun.

Fresh coconut, anyone?

...notice the pinwheel made of coconut fronds.

Henna decorations.

Distant rocks formed, according to legend, by two women who were turned to stone for disobeying an ancient law forbidding ocean activities one day out of the year. She had to have her hair washed. One beach goer commented that he had been to the rocks and thought the legend might not be true. 

Small town on the highway...notice the guy on the bicycle.
Sausage Tree with 10lb 'sausages'.

Our time at the beach made me feel like I was lost in a youthful time of summer camp.  The kids were curious and adventurous enough to enjoy snorkeling, chasing crabs, dodging jellyfish and hunting giant clam fossils.  The fun we shared was intoxicating and I can’t help but think I'm living an unrequited existence while betrothed to a reality back home.    

Sam said he saw a jellyfish with its "testicles" hanging down. 

On the way home we were stopped by several policemen looking for ‘chai money’.  Tanzanians are rather compassionate and lenient toward the behavior of police and security guards.  We’ve heard them make  numerous comments about these workers’ poor wages and living conditions and are therefore deserving of ‘tips’ or naps while on duty.  

A joke that sums up the corruption in Tanzania:
The Tanzanian Minister of Roads visits a wealthy Highway Contractor in the states.  He was impressed with the opulent residence and inquired how he had accumulated so much.  The contractor pulled back the window drapes and said, "See that 6 lane highway?"  The Minister replied, "I only see 4 lanes."  And the contractor asserted, "Precisely!". 
A few years later the American contractor came to visit the Tanzanian Minister of Roads, who had amassed a significant amount of land, money, and a palace for his family.  When the contractor asked how the Minister did this, the Minister pulled back the drapes and said, "See that 12 lane highway?"  
At this point, anyone who's even been to Tanzania bursts out laughing, because the best roads are just two lanes, the worst roads make dry creek beds look preferable even to the goats.   

Tom still owes you a story about climbing Mt. Meru; but since his selective memory is better than most, he's already planned a trip to climb Kilimanjaro next week. Both tales will follow.  

For those of you keeping current, you have been regularly updated on Mr. Twinkie's vocal progress.  Well, he is now the loudest and most annoying rooster on campus.  We've about decided that when his plumage is in full bloom we should have him turned into a mantle piece.  Click here for a sample of his talents.

"A real friend is someone who takes a winter vacation on a sun-drenched beach and does not send a card." Farmer's Almanac 

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world."  Ada Louise Huxtable  

"A life without love is like a year without summer."  Swedish Proverb

Saving the sand from my crevices,

Spiny Orbweaver in our backyard.

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